have you ever wondered how the world trundles along when its heroes are busy? for example when every hero of note is fighting some incredible all-consuming force (something on the Galactus scale), what happens to humanity? at the rate that natural disasters happen and bad guys pop up, by the time the mega-threat is neutralized, Metropolis should be rubble, Gotham in chaos, and everything else a hole in the ground. Atlantis would then remake earth in a watery way.
fascinating, isn’t it? i wonder if lawsuits can be made against superheroes for destroying the environment while in a fight. for example the building takes some damage… a boutique facade gets hit by a superpowered punch. i’m sure the faceless, profit-focused, money-making corporation behind the business will waste no time in suing any superhero for causing that damage. confirm plus chop. and you wonder why kyle rayner and peter parker are always living in these crappy flats. no wonder everyone camps out at Avengers Tower as much as they can.
tony stark also has to be ridiculously rich in order to keep running his suit. i wonder whats the per unit time cost of using the suit in combat… a few million dollars per minute? if you convert energy usage by the suit onto the industrial scale. maybe akin to an entire squadron of F-22s engaged in high-speed dogfights all at once. probably more. but of couse Stark Resilient is going to solve all that.
i think the coolest concepts though go to The Authority. the engineer is undoubtedly very badass. but if you think about it, the Doctor can solve all of the world’s problems. the problem with that though (as with all shortcuts) is that humanity takes this for granted, and if you remove cancer and poverty, a new set of problems will arise. to me, it is like math. you can’t handle stuff like differentiation and integration if you haven’t mastered addition subtraction multiplication division… so think of poverty and the propensity to robbery as addition and subtraction. it makes things worse if you try bigger stuff without being able to do small stuff. so perhaps the best thing to do is for the Doctor to allow mankind to overcome cancer and other global problems by itself. one small step at a time, don’t you think?
what is a useful superpower? i think a useful superpower is one that allows the user to help as many people as possible… but then one must consider the physics of it. flight is not very useful when you don’t have superstrength. because then you won’t be able to pull people to safety. and then with that you will need extremely good balance and an understanding of movement in 3 dimensions: flightwise. so you need a navigational/gyroscopic device in your head. like Shen in The Authority. so we see that superpowers are necessarily exponential: higher degree of superpowers (higher on the scale) must necessitate that you possess the powers that are below on the scale. so the most basic of all, heightened human ability, or minimal superhuman physical performance (superfast, superstrong) is the most basic of requirements. of course you can bend the rules if you are psionically enabled (like Jean Grey), but then one must note that psionic abilities and other forms of energy manipulation allow for superhuman performance on a physical level. Jean Grey can telekinetically lift a tank. can you do that?
however one must note that proper application and usage of these powers are even more important: that is to say, the moral compunction and decision-making ability that aids in discretionary usage of power. that’s what in the end separates the good from the bad, and the better from the best. because the good guy always makes the good decision, and the best guys make the best decisions of them all. i propose that this is what makes heroes ‘heroic’: the harder the decision they have to make, the more heroic they are. the more that there is at stake, the greater the pressure on the conscience, then the bigger the hero. as such we can see that the biggest heroes that we have are not those who are extremely powerful. Captain America and Spider-Man are two of my favourite heroes (and not because they are both blue and red). so is Wolverine. They aren’t that powerful… but they make Choices. and circumstance always lands upon them and fate always schemes to allow some calamity to befall them, but against all this it is the moral compass that does not waver. the flesh may waver but the spirit always stays true. if power were all it is then the Martian Manhunter would be wildly popular. but he isn’t. Batman is. Batman is simply a mega-detective with a very complicated mind and Olympian-level training. i mean, Batman in a fair fight against say, any slightly superpowered villain? just hand to hand. no way. long story short, Batman isn’t that powerful. but his heart is big. the Hulk is really strong. i like the Hulk. but the Hulk struggles with a very human emotion: anger, and more importantly, control of that anger. and sometimes Banner wins. and we have calm Hulk. a victory for us all. direction. that makes the Hulk a hero. when he applies his incredible force for good – a conscious choice to do so.
so superheroes. they can save the world. but what is at stake here is the moral direction of humanity, and i think that’s what they’re ultimately saving. which is far more important, no?