Written by Rachael Cheeseman
If there's one thing the movie industry has taught us in the last decade it's that we flipping love superheroes. Heck, we've been lapping up Hollywood's superhero offerings like hungry kittens with a big ol' bowl of cream. Movie executives are so confident in our superhero addiction that they even brought back The Mighty Morphing Power Rangers! (As if there was any way to come back after the brilliance of Ivan Ooze). But have you ever noticed that underneath the shiny costumes, ridiculously sized explosions, and action sequences so fast and dynamic people literally throw up watching them, that some superhero powers are just kind of... lame? Well if you haven't, allow me to nit-pick and ruin your good opinion of the following superheroes. Enjoy.
1. Kitty Pryde aka Shadowcat (X-Men)
Imagine, if you will, a world where physical barriers can't hold you back. Where you can pass through objects and even walk through walls. Wouldn't that be incredible? Not really, no. I mean, you can still only move at your regular speed and, let's be honest, how far away are you from the door are you anyway? At best, this power allows you to get somewhere marginally faster whilst invading everyone's privacy as you casually stroll through the walls of their bedrooms. I guess if you're running for your life you can be a more efficient coward. But if the thing or person you're running from can bust through walls, teleport, make you trip up or even just run faster than you then you're pretty much screwed. The only thing of consequence you can really do with this power - as far as I can tell - is rob places and that just doesn't seem very superheroey to me. Now, in fairness to Kitty and to save myself from too much fanboy backlash, her abilities matured and developed to encompass more than just walking through stuff. She can also disrupt electrical fields and simulate a kind of levitation. She's basically got the same skill set as a ghost, without the added bonus of being able to scare the crap out of people.
2. Angelo Espinosa aka Skin (X-Men)
Sticking with the X-Men because, why not? (I can't insult the franchise anymore than Brett Ratner did). Angelo Espinosa has the lamest superpower ever. His mutant genes gave him super saggy skin. He has the ability to utilise and control his weaponised flesh to a point, but whatever way you look at it excess flabby skin is definitely more of a hindrance than a superpower. First of all, the guy must stink! It must be damn near impossible to clean every crevice and crease when your whole body is like a giant wrinkly scrotum. I suppose putrid stench might come in handy for dazing your enemies, but that's only if your allowed to ride along in the X-Jet with the other hygienic heroes to get to the fight in the first place. Secondly, skin is not a weapon. Skin isn't strong, it can be split open by paper for crying out loud. You can't tell me that if someone so much as stood on a portion of his droopy dermis he wouldn't go down like a sack of potatoes. Hell the racoons in Pom Poko could turn their nut sacks into parachutes and even they still lost the battle. So, I think we can all agree that looking like someone who lost a lot of weight really fast is not a good superpower.
3. Tenzil Kem aka Matter Eater Lad (Legion of Superheroes)
I don't even feel like I should have to explain why this one makes the list. He can eat matter. All kinds of matter. That's not a superpower, it's an eating disorder. He has Pica and he needs medical intervention. He can eat dirt to tunnel his way out of confinement. So what? Toddlers eat dirt, no one is welcoming them into the superhero club!
4. Tatsu Yamashiro aka Katana (Suicide Squad)
Ok, first of all I would argue that it's the sword that has superpowers not the woman, but either way the ability to hoard the souls of your murder victims is just a supremely awful power. Why would you want to be able to do that? Presumably you're killing people you're not overly fond of. Then, to find yourself stuck carrying them around and communicating with them for the rest of your days seems more like an exercise in self-flagellation than a power that can do any real good. And it's not like the sword makes you a better fighter or anything. Katana can slice through her victims like a warm knife through butter because she's a martial arts, samurai genius, not because her sword makes her a better fighter. Additionally, I'm sure katana has her fair share of enemies to slice and dice but, for the rest of us, a sword that holds the souls of our enemies isn't going to see a lot of action. I mean, that bitch Sarah that's always flirting with everyone's boyfriends can spend a good long eternity in the sword, but really, how many enemies do any of us actually have?
5. Jubilation Lee aka Jubilee (X-Men)
I tried to leave the X-Men alone, I promise really I did. But... Jubilee. How can I not mention Jubilee? Before marvel cottoned on to just how lame Jubilee was and added weird vampirey powers to her character, her ability was to shoot fireworks from her hands. Now, like many people, on hearing about this power my inner child jumps up and down clapping their hands yelling "yay! Fireworks!" Then adult me steps in with stupid, practical grown up logic and says "what the hell is the point of that?" The fireworks can hurt people a bit and I guess the bright flashes could daze and confuse your enemies but is this really anything you couldn't do with a mean right hook and a powerful torch? I suppose it's quite nice to be able to offer some ambience and a light show for the other superheroes who are doing all the real work, but given Jubilees' truly appalling personality I think I'd just bring a disco ball along.
6. Eugene Judd aka Puck (Alpha Flight)
If you've never heard of Canadian superhero team Alpha Flight, I urge you to look into them. The team boasts terrific heroic aliases such as Northstar, Sasquatch, Snowbird and my personal favourite, Puck. Puck is about half the size of an average man and was genetically mutated so that his body became like compressed rubber (wait, it gets better) his super attack involves cartwheeling into his enemies to knock them down. Not harm them, not mortally wound them, to knock them down. Now, call me crazy but I'm fairly certain anyone can cartwheel into another person and make them fall over. I don't think painful genetic mutation is necessary to achieve such a feat. I also don't think tumbling around like a drunken acrobat and bumping into people qualifies as a superpower. But, before we write off these powers completely, Puck is also extremely strong (that doesn't totally suck) and can put himself into a death like coma (um, well I guess maybe that could be useful if... nope I got nothing). I feel quite happy in my summary that these superpowers are pretty damn useless.
Comic book writers put out so much material and weave some incredibly complex and detailed storylines. It's no wonder that under closer scrutiny some of the characters who inhabit these stories are not all that super. In fact some, like Rainbow Girl, feel downright insulting. Sure they still save the day and get the bad guy but I'm guessing this is more down to super work ethic and a can do attitude!