We’ve all this conversation before: “If you could have any one super power, what would it be?” That’s a fun exercise in an of itself, but the answers too frequently default to flight and/or invisibility. Given the assets and liabilities of the various superpower sources in the DC Universe (magic, speed force, being a God, whatever), which one is the most personally appealing to you? Welcome to the Chat Cave.
Patrick: I love Batman. I love all the Bat-allies. But I could never ever ever be a Gotham City gadget-based hero for one reason: Batman seems like a terrible boss. He may keep you well-funded and impeccably trained, but the man’s expectations are essentially psychotic. Can you imagine fighting crime all night and then still having to go and help him out of a jam from time to time? Plus, you have to keep up a secret identity, and all without the aid of proper staff. Batman only has Lucius and Alfred on payroll – that’s not a proper support staff.
Now, Green Lanterns: they’ve got support. There are Green Lanterns that use their power-rings for administrative purposes, that’s how much support you have. Plus, there are 7200 of you (give or take… I’m still not 100% clear on why there can be 4 GLs from 2814…), so you’re basically never going to have to do anything alone. Plus, the power-set is fucking sweet – you get to fly THROUGH SPACE and create objects through the sheer force of your will.
The one downside – and this would be a pretty big deal – would be the Guardians. They might (might) be evil, and could turn on the whole Corps at any minute. But, if the comics have taught me nothing else, it’s that the Corps sticks together, no matter what the Guardians say. RUNNER-UP: It’d be fun to be a Blue Lantern because you’d have a) a similar power-set, b) no horrible guardians to worry about and c) you’d live on Odym – the most beautiful place in the universe.
Drew: Sure, Bruce is a difficult-to-please task-master, but he also pushes his wards (and himself) to the limits of human capability. What’s so alluring about Batman is that he doesn’t have a super power, per se, but is simply driven enough to approach perfection. His is the story of a human truly tapping in to his full potential, something that can inspire the ideologue in all of us (and also make us especially wistful on lazy Sunday afternoons). In that way, his super power is his dedication to making himself the best crime-fighter he can be.
That’s cool and all, but I’m just straight-up too lazy to make that happen; as much as I’d like to make the most of my mind and body, I also like goofing off with my friends, or, you know, taking a day off every once and a while. For those reasons, insane power-sets like those of Superman of the Flash are also out — how could I ever relax if I knew I could be saving a life on the other side of the planet right this second?
That leaves me with a pretty specific range, but one that fits Animal Man’s power-set quite nicely. His abilities didn’t require any effort on his part, but also don’t come with the kind of daunting responsibility that would prevent him from having a normal life. In fact, he has a wife, kids, and a budding movie career. Jeff Lemire is quickly building some pretty daunting responsibility into Buddy Baker’s world, but he’s also made it clear that many Avatars of the Red have served without any real threat from the Rot. Either way, helping your son impress babes is a pretty cool power in and of itself.
Shelby: I definitely would not go the “regular person with gear” route, simply because that is the boring answer. Though it is so very unlikely as to be deemed completely impossible (not to mention illegal), I could work out, get some spy gear and a domino mask, and fight crime that way right now. The speed force might be interesting, but it seems like an inherantly stressful job, being constantly in a rush. Plus, I don’t understand it, so that’s out.
No, for me, magic is the way to go. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been interested in ghosts, poltergeists, possessions, and other weird shit like that; I used to love looking through books of “real photos of ghosts” and scaring the crap out of myself. As an adult, that interest has manifested itself in ghost hunter TV shows and supernatural Catholic ritual movies, like Stigmata and The Rite. A John Constantine-like set of powers is what I would want; just your basic magical spells, demon conjuring, and necromancy. I assume the John Constantine deal comes with the ability to be exactly where you need to be when you need to be there, and a general bad-assedness. A straight-up magic power set like Zatanna would be cool, but that whole “speaking backwards to cast a spell” thing is kind of corny. I would also rather look like a disheveled badass than a magician’s assistant.
Patrick, can I visit you on Odym? I hope you’ll say yes!
Peter: This is an incredibly difficult question to answer. I have probably been asked his hundreds of times. I have probably thought about this question ten times that amount. I think it’s interesting no one wants to be Batman. While I agree that he is just a regular person with some pretty awesome tech, there may be something more to that. For him to travel all over the world, learn all of those skills, and RETAIN them is something else. Bruce may be just another guy, but it’s takes something to keep it up for that long. But I don’t want to be Batman, that’s too easy. Plus, it isn’t me.
If I was going to pick something that really said ‘me’, I think that I would pick the Firestorm power set. While I wouldn’t want someone sharing my headspace, everything else would be awesome. The ability to create fire is awesome. When I was a kid I always wanted to be a combination of the Human Torch and Captain Cold. I loved the idea of the duality and the elemental awesomeness. As I grew older, I got into my current profession of chemistry, and truly began to appreciate Firestorm. He had one of my childhood powers; fire. But now as a chemist, I loved the idea that he could transmute elements and objects into others things as long as he knew them. That’s freaking awesome!! That would totally be the power set that fits me the most.
Honorable mention: I love the Earth and dirt, and things that grow on land, and dirt. Therefore, the Swamp Thing would be my second favorite. Hell, I wouldn’t even mind being a Swamp Thing for the rest of my life.