- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Comics & Graphic Novels
The 3 Least Intimidating Superheroes
Pen, parchment and an idea. Finally free to stir the vast macrocosm of our unrivaled creativity as modern apes, after another horrific ground-hog day listening to HR motivate you with robotic one-liners and adorn your cubicle with fluffy little mascots.
At last -- at last you can become the anything and everything your day-to-day lacks. You can transcend your humanity and personify your wildest dreams. You can envision a hero, and bring him to life and share him with the world. Complete with redundant overarching political overtones that are never as subtle as you think they are. Then all you have to do is passively watch your creature, as it ages like milk.
The problem is, for the rest of us, sometimes people who like yogurt validify certain artistic monstrosities without our consent. I have done my best to compile a subjective list of real, popular "superheroes" that have somehow achieved a modicum of notoriety. Although admittedly, for all the wrong reasons.
Sub Mariner (Marvel - Oct. 1939)
The Sub Mariner, whose identity is crowned by a procession of pathetically unevocative alternative names (Joe Pierre, The old man and Sealord just to name a few), is one of those products that strikes me as wanting, rather childishly, to excel at everything and consequently fail at everything just as enthusiastically.
Lord Namor can swim, that's his bread and butter, he wouldn't be much of a Sub Mariner if he wasn't able to submerge in a marine environment. What irks me, however, is that the creator seems hellbent on making Sub Mariner some kind of pan-genetic freak-show. Superhuman strength (Even weakened by lack of water he can still manhandle just about anything a land-lover could ever throw at him, if he is in contact with water, it all gets rather silly. As a humorous Wiki article concedes, "It has been shown [his strength] as sufficient to effortlessly toss a water-filled ocean-liner, despite the underwater viscosity".), limited invulnerability, he can fly, swim, breath comfortably just about anywhere, seduce women, enjoy legendary stamina and rejuvenation, count on an age-defying physique as well as a be a heroic and able leader of men. Ladies, he's the real package.
He can fly of course, thanks to the flimsy stumps he somehow evolved on his ankles. The physics of which lead me to believe he must fly upside down. Awkward. Given the fact that Lord Namor's wing-speed caps out at roughly 60 m/ph, and that he gets progressively weaker as he is separated from his acquaeus native element, killing him off seems like child's play (more on that later).
Every great hero has a great raison d'etre . And Sub Mariner, or Joe Pierre, is certainly no exception. In short, he hates you, or at least he did up until World War II. Despite being the lord of a city that every western-born five year-old knows no longer exists, somehow the prospect of teaming up with Captain America and kicking some Nazi posterior became too enticing for Marvel comics to resist.
I preferred Namor as he once was in the good old days, a provocative, if rather generic, anti-hero. Today, Namor has no overarching goals, content to sell his services out to the highest political bidder. Lame. Which is why I had an immense amount of fun in envisioning a convincing way for...
Killing Him Off
Despite his ridiculous array of conflicting skills, Lord Namor should be something of a joke to finish off. Take a couple of rednecks for instance.
Prepare a poster with the words, "Atlantis is overrated", or possibly, "death to all blue-skins" and affix it to the back of a truck. Wait for Namor to surface and fly towards you. At this point travel at precisely 60 miles per hour and maintain a leisurely distance while The old man totters towards you at his terminal velocity. Due to his being deprived of a source of wetness, excluding his own sweat, he will tire and lose ground. Adjust your vehicles velocity so as to not let him lose hope. Repeat until he collapses and stone him over a few beers from a safe distance. Alternatively, just let him rot.
Robin (DC Comics 1940)
Robin was (yes, past tense) a severe liability for Batman, as well as for the franchise as a whole. Robin's quasi-and-yet-not-so-quasi homo-erotic nuances, coupled with his annoying self-loathing, weakness and self-pity make him among the most eminently forgettable heroes ever to have scarred the public. In the video below this text, for example, notice how the few glancing scenes he is present in showcase his insecurity with regard's to Batman, and how the first appearance sees him being frozen, negated and quite easily subdued by what is possibly the world's least intimidiating supervillain. I grind my teeth in anticipation.
Beyond his twisted psyche, what does Robin himself excel and hammer at his enemies with? His fearsome wardrobe? Nothing. What can we expect from a character whose only real purpose, as stated by co-creator Bill Finger, was to alleviate artistic tediousness and make the day-job a little easier, "Batman didn't have anyone to talk to, and it got a little tiresome always having him thinking.".
The creation of Robin Hood the Boy Wonder was inspired by deep and resonant childhood memories, "Robinson noted he "came up with Robin Hood because The Adventures of Robin Hood were boyhood favorites of mine". How deafeningly creative!
Yes, the OFFICIAL trailer.
This is where things go from eye-rolling tediousness to very interesting indeed. Readers and intellects from around the world are now able to look through Robin's palpitating blue eyes directly into the troubled growing pains of the creators themselves.
Robin's personal reasons for struggling-on depend on which version of Robin you are presented with. The most notable incarnation is that of Rick Grayson, who lost his family in a freak gymnastics accident when a mafia boss decided to sabotage their trapeze. Most probably because they went by the unjustifiably unimaginative name of the "flying Graysons". Obviously, Robin held a grudge.
One thing that unites all embodiments of Robin are the garish, flamboyant clothes. Ironic when you consider that the nature of batman is to fight via darkness and obscurity. A detail which tends to make Robin's head the first to roll in delicate situations. But he wouldn't want it any other way.
Killing him off
The possibilities here are endless. In all honestly I would guess that his self-loathing would kill him before you could. His co-dependance would inevitably lead to violent mood swings and ultimately, suicide.
The trick here is trying to keep him alive. I can't imagine this confused young man surviving any nightclub, in any major city in the world. Outclassed, outgunned and out-spoken by Batman, Robin may carve himself a niche as a bitter, fruity bait.
Beset from all sides, and from within, Robin never really stood a chance anyway.
The Red Bee (Quality Comics, 1940)
This entry is bound to be a little shorter than the others simply because this character's (Wikipedia awkwardly decided to point out that The Red Bee is, in fact, fictional) super-powers are almost entirely rendered moot by a sprinkling of general knowledge and an inkling of common sense.
Before I get to that, here's some fluff that makes this character even more dubious. Firstly, what on earth drives his fashion sense. I'm not known to be a fashion critic, I tend to dress for comfort, but dear Lord his appearance is enough to stun me into a migraine submission. Bonus points if you can explain to me in the comment section why he is wearing plastic bags under his armpits. Oh, I get it, perhaps its to prevent his own bees from seeking his own sweat glands. How could I forget!
Secondly, perhaps -- much like Robin -- it's time to re-evaluate the meaning of the word super-hero. As far as I can tell, he is neither super, nor hero. Battling Nazis in a flamboyant outfit may distinguish you from the masses, but taming bees only makes you a bee tamer. Beyond that, the Red Bee is nothing more than a common, if somewhat colorful, vigilante without a trace of any form of awesome superpower.
Michael The Bee
Before going out of fashion and being replaced by an attractive young lady, (breasts, that's the ticket...) the Red Bee made a name for himself as a bee tamer. Specifically, his belt contained his favorite, highly-trained little Pokémon. Michael.
The problem. Male bees cannot, and consequently will not sting. The stinger itself is it's reproductive organ. Being bludgeoned to death by a micro-phallus sounds like a lot of fun, doesn't it? Another problem. Someone forgot to inform the creators of this, leading to a highly unlikely and humorous pretext, with the entirety of his already questionable superpower regime being rendered a hissing and charred pile of ash. Sure, superpowers are unrealistic to begin with, but precisely because the Red Bee has none, they could of at least nailed the coffin shut with regards to the epicenter of his design.
Killing him off
Unless you suffer from severe allergies, a sizable migraine should tip you off as to when he is in the vicinity. Fortunately for us though, age brings wisdom, and due to his ever-increasing unpopularity he was killed off for us by a Nazi superhero. An undignified end, to an undignified character and an even more undignified end to an undignified article. Now, buzz off!