Superhero Fans, Grab Your Pitchforks


An article on the reasons why superpowers probably aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.


I’ve drunk a bottle of wine. I had an argument with a friend over why Superman forcing the world to spin the other way would in fact not, save Lois Lane (hate mail incoming). I had some more wine. It was only when I hit the epiphany at the bottom of the second bottle that I realised a) I am probably an alcoholic, and b) that superpowers probably aren’t all they’re cracked up to be after all. The former is an entire different post, and probably best dealt with by drinking another bottle of wine. The latter, on the other hand, is worth the words.

Every boy I knew when I was a younger was absolutely desperate to be some sort of hero. I don’t know if it was the same with everyone else, but my friends had the costumes, the string web spray, the masks, the whole lot. They used to stand up proudly in primary school and announce their futures, as savers of the world. I, on the other hand, wanted to be a lighthouse keeper, which probably went out the window when I found out that I was scared of fish.

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But it made me think, which super powers in actual fact may be a blessing, or a curse? I tried to be positive. Really, I did. But I immediately gave up with the blessing aspect of superpowers and decided to be as bitter as the bottom of my second bottle. Let’s take flying, the most common example. Fly high enough and you’d be soaring, free as a bird, at 30,000ft in the air at 800mph in -20 degrees through statically electrified clouds and torrential rain. I could imagine two situations: dying, or wanting to die. Fly low enough and you’d probably be mistaken for a pheasant. And if we all had flying powers, it really is only a matter of time before someone gets mistaken for poultry and takes a bullet (could a farmer really tell the difference?) Don’t even get me started on restricted airspace.

Shooting webs. Let’s be honest, exactly how useful could this be? Spiderman lives in New York. He’s got a pretty nice flat (despite how much he complains about it), but what happens when his landlord does eventually get pissed off with him NEVER paying his rent, and he has to relocate to say, the Yorkshire Dales? With no high-rise buildings, it’s hardly as if he’d be able to swing from one herd of cattle to another, and considering the only reported crime in the past ten years in my home town is the vandalism of an unused post-box, I can’t imagine he’s needed here. Moreover, the mess it leaves probably stacks a pretty heavy bill onto the council, and if there’s one thing I don’t want to be clearing off every building in Leeds, its white viscous sputum. There’s enough of that when Oceania closes after a Saturday night. It also comes from his wrists every time he seems to flex. The amount of times I’ve stretched and cracked my hands whilst on my computer is enough to cover my screen in it. Sheer inconvenience.

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Although, I reckon mind-reading is probably the shittiest and most annoying super power to own. Not everyone likes you; it’s a fact you have to get used to. People, whether you like it or not, are going to silently judge that crass new turtleneck which you shouldn’t have bought, and do you really want to hear that when you spent so much money on it in Debenhams? Also, not everyone (in fact, not really anyone) thinks of anything truly interesting moment by moment. The reason we have mouths and brains is so that we can filter the shit that we think in our heads and actually say relevant stuff, and even then we don’t. It’s all very well sitting by James Bond and listening in, but snooping in on Sandra deciding what low salt foods she’s going to buy in Lidl to aid her IBS is not a superpower. Admittedly, it’d be great if mind-reading could filter the results. I’d enjoy nothing more than to know about people’s cats every day (true story), but cats have superpowers of their own, and probably shouldn’t be messed with.

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Kids and adults both want superpowers, but let’s be honest, they’d probably be a piss take. Keep your feet on the ground, don’t make a sticky mess of your life, and don’t try and read minds; you’ll be alright.

Just remember: nobody wants super-speed, for obvious and embarrassing reasons.


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