Use This, Not That Super Power

A column article, Comics Bulletin Soapbox by: Maria Rainier
There are just too many super powers to consider to accurately decide which super power is the most awesome. I mean, you can’t count how many super powers exist in the world of comics. Go ahead and try, but I guess you won’t have enough time to read this article about why you don’t need to decide which ones are best, just which ones you should pick over others.

Time Manipulation, not Super-Human Speed

Sure, Flash would make Lance Armstrong look like a narcoleptic, but Marvel’s Tempo not only controls her speed but also the speed of her enemies by manipulating time.

Let’s say that there’s a tsunami coming to your tropical island vacation destination. With speed, you can only control the speed of your physical self. At the most, you can carry a friend away or whatever you can fit into your pockets (that’s if you’ve decided to forgo the traditional Flash-like bodysuit) from that impending tidal wave, but that leaves the rest of the population at risk. You can go back and forth but that tidal wave is still coming and you can only go so fast, even with super-human speed.

With time manipulation, like Tempo’s, you can slow the speed of the impending tsunami almost to a standstill while speeding up your process of evacuating the island. There’s the question of whether that’s time manipulation and not telekinesis, but let’s not get technical.

Shape-Shifting, not Invisibility

You’re in a meeting room with the higher-ups of a terrorist organization. With the power of invisibility, you could be a fly on the wall, listen to their plans, and go tattle-tale to your government of choice. Invisibility, however, doesn’t protect you from being spotted and swatted like said fly. If you’re nervous, they might hear you breathing. They’ll put on their heat vision goggles and you’re toast.

Instead, shape-shifting like Mystique allows you to become anyone in any situation who belongs in said situation. Rather than floating around invisibly in a terrorist compound, at risk of being found out, you can change into one of the higher-ups in the meeting itself. You just have to have Mystique’s super awesome ass-kicking skills to catch and tie up the guy in the janitor’s closet while you’re off subverting a terrorist plot.

There’s also the option of turning into a total fox and having men and women alike swoon at your feet. With invisibility, all you’ve got is voyeurism. Shape-shifting is a blatant lie, but at least it’s not creepy.

Even though it kind of is.

Invulnerability, not Accelerated Healing

Scratch him, bruise him, break him—Wolverine is going to be all right. Still, Superman’s going to win the fight because he can’t be hurt. All he has to do is wait until Wolverine is tired to death.

Super Intelligence, not Precognition

Like Destiny, knowing what’s about to happen can save your hide in more than a few situations. Is that lady behind you in the checkout line going to shoot you during the Black Friday sale? Is that idiot who cut in front of you going to slam on his brakes for no reason? You’ll know, but what will you do about it? You won’t be able to prepare yourself and your allies in all situations. Take this for example: your city will be underwater in 2020 because nobody listened to all the global warming warnings. Even if you know this, either nobody will listen to you or you still have to figure out a plan how to not let your city go snorkeling. Plus, knowing everything in advance—that your date is going to be two hours late, that your turtle is going to die tomorrow, that you’ll never make it as a singer-song writer—would get pretty depressing.

With Brainiac’s super-human intelligence, you don’t have to know what’s going to happen because you’re probably already prepared for every situation, anyway. History tends to repeat itself, and you could memorize and analyze all the data in the world to form your own very smart, probably very accurate conclusions as to what will happen in the future and how you can improve it. You might not be able to predict an earthquake, but you’ll probably have already made every building in the world quake-proof by the time one happens.

Mind Control, not Telepathy

Lucky for Professor Xavier, he has both. Let’s say, however, that you can’t have both. Rather than just being able to read anyone’s mind, why not control their thoughts? This way, you can control them to tell you what they’re really thinking—if you really do want to know what they thought of your overcooked turkey—or you can go ahead and make them think that it was just the best darn turkey they’ve ever put in their pie hole.

Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

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