Superpowers you would want to see more in media

Well, after watching the newest episode of "A Certain Scientific Accelerator", I want to open a casual discussion on what powers we would love to see in media more often.

As expected from the catalyst of this post, Vector Manipulation of any sort is fascinating as it opens so many combat and utility applications.

I would like to see more stories with very specific and situational superpowers. The hero in this scenario would not have your bog standard nuclear-kamehameha ready to be pulled out of their arse or your standard-suite of diet-Superman powers, neither would they have Batman's limitless gadget arsenal or wealth. I'm thinking powers like telepathy that can only be used to create illusions, or telechinesis that only works on small objects. Powers that would have to be carefully employed in order to get results. Rather than large-scale conflicts typical in super hero media, i would want to see characters with this kind of power used for detective work, professional heists and espionage

I want to see superpowers that on the surface sound awesome, but in reality are nightmarish curses. Like Wolverine's metal skeleton? Can you imagine the pain? Not only is marrow and blood production down, you're weighed down by hundreds of pounds and your organs are being crushed.
Or setting yourself on fire, except you actually do burn. Or you have super speed, but the body isn't meant to move that quickly so your muscles are always blowing out, ligaments and tendons are tearing, your joints are all but destroyed.

Imagine having powers you can only use at great cost to yourself. Like super speed to save all the orphans in the burning building, but you're crippled for years and have hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical bills and agonizing surgeries and recovery.

Probably something involving the color spectrum (ROYGBIV) with associated powers. Maybe something to do with chakras as well?

https://powerlisting.fandom.com/wiki/Aura_Manipulation

Powers like the Penance Stare that are used to give out ironic or 'equal' punishments, or are similarly situational:

-The ability to redirect a percentage of the pain inflicted on you into the nervous system of someone nearby.
-Similarly, the power to redistribute the fear and anguish of all nearby people into someone else.
-A power that acts on its own to harm someone who tells serious lies, perhaps filling their throats with black bile.
-Conversely, the ability to inflict the 'birthday wish' effect from the movie Liar Liar on someone. Of course that's similar to the Lasso of Truth, which really should be used more.

One Piece has a lot of creative devil fruit powers, the things they come up with for Luffy to do with just rubber is incredible. The hormone fruit was especially hilarious as well. As for something I'd want to see more of, I'd go for some of the more mystical powers like Perona's ability to remove your soul. You get to do a lot of interesting stuff in a story when you're a disembodied soul lol.

Oh and on a sidenote, Accelerator is one of the most interestingly-redeemed characters ever. I just finished Index 3 the other day in preparation for his show taking off and it was very exciting to see what he got up to there.

CyanCat47:
I would like to see more stories with very specific and situational superpowers. The hero in this scenario would not have your bog standard nuclear-kamehameha ready to be pulled out of their arse or your standard-suite of diet-Superman powers, neither would they have Batman's limitless gadget arsenal or wealth. I'm thinking powers like telepathy that can only be used to create illusions, or telechinesis that only works on small objects. Powers that would have to be carefully employed in order to get results. Rather than large-scale conflicts typical in super hero media, i would want to see characters with this kind of power used for detective work, professional heists and espionage

So you are interested more in applications in a utilitarian sense. That is interesting and certainly forces creative usage. I can approve of this

Ghost powers

The absence of superpowers. Like a complete embargo on them. For maybe about 10 years.

Let's just see real people struggling with their obstacles without just smashing through them every single time for a change.

I really like the concept of the Boys expressed at the start, if you're a superhuman especially just some random without training, using your superpowers without caution will cause a lot of collateral damage when the rest of us are so fragile by comparison.

A superhuman like The Flash or Superman just accidentally bumps into you and you're now a red mist. Think about using those powers in a city in real life.

Squilookle:
The absence of superpowers. Like a complete embargo on them. For maybe about 10 years

I am calling for a complete shutdown of all super powered individuals entering the country, until such time as S.H.I.E.L.D. can figure out what the hell is going on.

OT: I would like a presentation of super heroes in a gold-age/ silver-age sort of throwback. The idea of a man running around in tights punching bank robbers and then flying off is silly. Go with that. Not every super hero needs to remind us that Watchmen was good.

I'd like to see a power that was more about bolstering other people. You yourself are not superstrong or supersmart, but use your power and you can make someone else superstrong or supersmart or whatever, at least for a little bit. I just think it would be interesting seeing how you'd use that, how do you decide who needs the boost, how would they react to it?

I'd like to see a super power involving shadows. Like being able to create physical weapons or implements with the shadows, manipulating them to affect the physical world (e.g. anything you have your shadow do to another shadow happens to the person casting that shadow) or being able to traverse through shadows.
I want to see more water manipulation as well.

twistedmic:
I'd like to see a super power involving shadows. Like being able to create physical weapons or implements with the shadows, manipulating them to affect the physical world (e.g. anything you have your shadow do to another shadow happens to the person casting that shadow) or being able to traverse through shadows.
I want to see more water manipulation as well.

I feel like both of those only really work in animation. Both of those tend to look pretty bad in live action. The water can be ok, but tends to be pretty expensive to animate, and a lot of work. I've never seen good shadow manipulation done in live action and I'm not sure it's even possible without looking stupid.

Silentpony:
I want to see superpowers that on the surface sound awesome, but in reality are nightmarish curses.

Have you watched the old Roger Corman film, The Man With The X-ray Eyes? From the above, you might enjoy it.

Fieldy409:
I really like the concept of the Boys expressed at the start, if you're a superhuman especially just some random without training, using your superpowers without caution will cause a lot of collateral damage when the rest of us are so fragile by comparison.

There was a comic years ago (1980s/early 1990s?) called Marshal Law, the premise being that most superpowered are being genetically engineered as super-soldiers by the US military, but mostly end up deranged. The lead character was a self-hating superpowered antihero whose job was to police them, and it involves some pretty vicious satire of golden and silver age superheroes.

I suspect whoever made The Boys will have read it.

While not really a superpower I'd like to see more stuff where something completely ordinary about humans is basically seen as a superpower by non-humans. In so much media featuring aliens or fantasy races, humans become the boring default where everyone else basically becomes "we're you but better". And in the same way those fictional races are defined by their particular superpower, you could have fun with an outside perspective on humans largely colored by the thing that we take for granted that makes us stick out. For example, you could have most of your non-humans groups rely on a very narrow diet of what they can digest, but make humans stand out with our omnivorous nature, our unique love of spicy food, and our cultural routine of selectively poisoning ourselves for recreation. You then have a non-human be all "watch out for the humans. They'll stick anything in their mouths." while they have to make sure they have enough distilled lotus nectar to make it through their journey.

Silent Protagonist:
While not really a superpower I'd like to see more stuff where something completely ordinary about humans is basically seen as a superpower by non-humans.

Sounds like you're asking for Bicycle Repair Man!

CyanCat47:
I would like to see more stories with very specific and situational superpowers. The hero in this scenario would not have your bog standard nuclear-kamehameha ready to be pulled out of their arse or your standard-suite of diet-Superman powers, neither would they have Batman's limitless gadget arsenal or wealth. I'm thinking powers like telepathy that can only be used to create illusions, or telechinesis that only works on small objects. Powers that would have to be carefully employed in order to get results. Rather than large-scale conflicts typical in super hero media, i would want to see characters with this kind of power used for detective work, professional heists and espionage

image

It was so refreshing to see the characters in Mistborn actually have to specialize and pick their battles. Rioters and Soothers can influence emotions, but in order to make effective use of that ability they have to really understand human psychology and how to inspire the desired emotions to make their manipulations feel natural. And while they can affect morale, put them in an actual battlefield and that's pretty much all they're good for. Every kind of Misting has their own niche to fill, and - barring full Mistborn - they can't just replace one with another. And I certainly want to see more of that kind of writing.

Powers with a downside, or perhaps trade-off is a better way to put it. My favorite anime, Darker Than Black, has people that have powers like X-men but all of them also have a "contract" where they either have to do some kind of action, like earmarking pages in a book, or some kind of actual physical change like growing older.

So some kind of specific power with a related or arbitrary trade off attached to it.

Have any of you ever read Worm? https://parahumans.wordpress.com/table-of-contents/

It is on the whole a very interesting take on supers and the like. It's also kind of massive at 1.7 million words.

Can't recommend it enough.

Izanagi009:
So you are interested more in applications in a utilitarian sense. That is interesting and certainly forces creative usage. I can approve of this

The limitations on their super powers forcing creative usage is actually a plot point in Worm.

Silent Protagonist:
While not really a superpower I'd like to see more stuff where something completely ordinary about humans is basically seen as a superpower by non-humans. In so much media featuring aliens or fantasy races, humans become the boring default where everyone else basically becomes "we're you but better". And in the same way those fictional races are defined by their particular superpower, you could have fun with an outside perspective on humans largely colored by the thing that we take for granted that makes us stick out. For example, you could have most of your non-humans groups rely on a very narrow diet of what they can digest, but make humans stand out with our omnivorous nature, our unique love of spicy food, and our cultural routine of selectively poisoning ourselves for recreation. You then have a non-human be all "watch out for the humans. They'll stick anything in their mouths." while they have to make sure they have enough distilled lotus nectar to make it through their journey.

This was one of the things I liked about the Animorphs books. Humans might not have the advanced tech or superpowers of the various alien races in the series...but to those aliens Earth is a goddamn death world with an astounding amount of biodiversity most of which has a means of killing you. Evolving as the dominant species there has given humans some truly terrifying traits that, whenever we get round to spacefaring, would make us seriously heavyweight contenders

Palindromemordnilap:

Silent Protagonist:
While not really a superpower I'd like to see more stuff where something completely ordinary about humans is basically seen as a superpower by non-humans. In so much media featuring aliens or fantasy races, humans become the boring default where everyone else basically becomes "we're you but better". And in the same way those fictional races are defined by their particular superpower, you could have fun with an outside perspective on humans largely colored by the thing that we take for granted that makes us stick out. For example, you could have most of your non-humans groups rely on a very narrow diet of what they can digest, but make humans stand out with our omnivorous nature, our unique love of spicy food, and our cultural routine of selectively poisoning ourselves for recreation. You then have a non-human be all "watch out for the humans. They'll stick anything in their mouths." while they have to make sure they have enough distilled lotus nectar to make it through their journey.

This was one of the things I liked about the Animorphs books. Humans might not have the advanced tech or superpowers of the various alien races in the series...but to those aliens Earth is a goddamn death world with an astounding amount of biodiversity most of which has a means of killing you. Evolving as the dominant species there has given humans some truly terrifying traits that, whenever we get round to spacefaring, would make us seriously heavyweight contenders

Yeah I remember one of the big things from the Yeerk Chronicles was when Visser One stunned the Yeerk council when they said Earth had BILLIONS of potential hosts. Damn I loved Animorphs as a kid, but screw that last book, TobiasXRachel was my first OTP- (Continues ranting)

I would like to see traditional power sets used in more utilitarian ways. For example, one of my favorite bits about the Avatar/Korra-verse was the fact that the primary advantage of having benders in your society had less to do with war and more for the fact that they could be used as substitutes for traditional technology (i.e., Earth-benders were excellent at mining, Water-benders had their own equivalent of a Panama canal system in which ships were raised or lowered using bending, Fire-benders used their bending to run the furnaces on coal-burning ships, etc.)

bz316:
I would like to see traditional power sets used in more utilitarian ways. For example, one of my favorite bits about the Avatar/Korra-verse was the fact that the primary advantage of having benders in your society had less to do with war and more for the fact that they could be used as substitutes for traditional technology (i.e., Earth-benders were excellent at mining, Water-benders had their own equivalent of a Panama canal system in which ships were raised or lowered using bending, Fire-benders used their bending to run the furnaces on coal-burning ships, etc.)

I love that terminology, because of what "bender" colloquially means in my country. Something like "He's the greatest bender of his generation" makes one instantly think of a very different meaning, even if it's puerile humour.

Palindromemordnilap:

This was one of the things I liked about the Animorphs books. Humans might not have the advanced tech or superpowers of the various alien races in the series...but to those aliens Earth is a goddamn death world with an astounding amount of biodiversity most of which has a means of killing you. Evolving as the dominant species there has given humans some truly terrifying traits that, whenever we get round to spacefaring, would make us seriously heavyweight contenders

Um, really?

It's been ages since I read the Animorphs books (and I didn't even read all of them), but I don't remember that. What I do remember though is Ax's assertion that the yeerks were afraid of humanity because their rate of technological development is so much faster than other races, even if at this point in time they're technologically primitive. The one thing I do remember about Earth's biodiversity is when the teens are in a rainforest, Rachel being covered by ants or something and exclaiming "what's all this crap about saving the rainforest? They can cut it down for all I care!" (or something similar)

But again, granted, ages since I read them.

I like the story/comedy potential of a Seina Yamada/Qrow Branwen style power. Minor to major bad luck affecting anyone near our powered individual physically. They wouldn't control it or fight any better than just a regular person, but their opponent would be far more likely to trip and go prone, or trip and fall over the edge of a stadium ledge landing in a parking lot where they are then run over by a truck, steamroller, and the USC Marching Band playing Louie, Louie.

I'm no huge follower of capesh*t, but anything that moves the "superhero" formula away from the standardised template where all of a hero's powers are basically hand-to-hand fighting abilities is good in my book. Not all superheroes should be inexplicably tough, resilient, and good at combat; super strength shouldn't in itself make you any better equipped to take a bullet, for example.

Although I thought it was a good idea executed poorly, the movie Mystery Men balanced exceptional abilities with maintaining human fragility quite well in my opinion, even better than X-men. That's the kind of thing I'd like to see more of. Individuals with one or two crazy abilities existing in a believable world where a handgun will still reduce you to a chalk outline and a fall from a second storey window will break your legs if not worse. Not the silly trope of being "super" equalling omnipotent plot armour, hyper-proficiency, and all conflicts being settled with epic hand to hand skirmishes.

Hawki:

Palindromemordnilap:

This was one of the things I liked about the Animorphs books. Humans might not have the advanced tech or superpowers of the various alien races in the series...but to those aliens Earth is a goddamn death world with an astounding amount of biodiversity most of which has a means of killing you. Evolving as the dominant species there has given humans some truly terrifying traits that, whenever we get round to spacefaring, would make us seriously heavyweight contenders

Um, really?

It's been ages since I read the Animorphs books (and I didn't even read all of them), but I don't remember that. What I do remember though is Ax's assertion that the yeerks were afraid of humanity because their rate of technological development is so much faster than other races, even if at this point in time they're technologically primitive. The one thing I do remember about Earth's biodiversity is when the teens are in a rainforest, Rachel being covered by ants or something and exclaiming "what's all this crap about saving the rainforest? They can cut it down for all I care!" (or something similar)

But again, granted, ages since I read them.

Given Ax tends to live in the woods we get a fair bit of him marvelling at all the various animals he sees. He reckons the level of competition such a wide array of life provides is why the protagonists have so many lethal options to pick for their morphs (and why Visser Three with his habit of collecting vicious monster shapes likes the place). Though he remains convinced humans are the most terrifying example of this; we have vast numbers and can breed astonishingly fast, we're not just clever but deviously cunning and adaptable with that intelligence, and we're frighteningly zealous when it comes to defending whats ours (Ax finds the quote "Give me liberty or give me death" and is alarmed that people would say things like that....and even more alarmed when he realises there are people who'll say things like that and absolutely mean it). We've evolved on a world that has done its best to kill us with every beast it can...and we forced our way to the top anyway. Ax has no trouble believing we'd do the same on a galactic scale

Kyrian007:
I like the story/comedy potential of a Seina Yamada/Qrow Branwen style power. Minor to major bad luck affecting anyone near our powered individual physically. They wouldn't control it or fight any better than just a regular person, but their opponent would be far more likely to trip and go prone, or trip and fall over the edge of a stadium ledge landing in a parking lot where they are then run over by a truck, steamroller, and the USC Marching Band playing Louie, Louie.

Of the two, I'd say that Qrow's is the more interesting variation, as he actually has to work with/around the bad luck, and his character is actually built around the psychosocial consequences of being a bad luck magnet (alcoholism, drifting, keeping friends and family at arm's length despite his open affection for them...). By contrast, Seina's luck is such that by the end of the series they handwaved it as actually inverting from bad luck to good luck when his crew's nearby. Which isn't necessarily a bad angle in itself, but I'd argue that Xanth did it better with a magical talent that simply didn't care about anything but its user's physical wellbeing, all other consequences be damned.

I would like to see powers used in ways that don't mostly translate to "and then I hit them harder." Powers that facilitate intelligence and cunning, allowing the protagonists to save the day and accomplish their goals, but don't manifest as a violent power.

Or if it does have the capacity for violence, they don't use it like that, due to a combination of personal morals, and the difficulty it takes to "go nuclear". Sort of like how Vash the Stampede operates. They have a myriad of other ways to utilize the power in non-lethal/non-combat ways, and find those infinitely preferable to "and then I blew them up." I like seeing powers used cleverly and intelligently.

Palindromemordnilap:
We've evolved on a world that has done its best to kill us with every beast it can...and we forced our way to the top anyway. Ax has no trouble believing we'd do the same on a galactic scale

I would like the idea of a setting where earth is somehow considered a "High Gravity" world compared to the other sentient species, and the average human is essentially Jessica Jones or Captain America compared to the other sentient alien races.

What if Humans were essentially the "Krogan" from Mass Effect, uplifted to serve as mercenaries in a galactic conflict.

Abomination:

Palindromemordnilap:
We've evolved on a world that has done its best to kill us with every beast it can...and we forced our way to the top anyway. Ax has no trouble believing we'd do the same on a galactic scale

I would like the idea of a setting where earth is somehow considered a "High Gravity" world compared to the other sentient species, and the average human is essentially Jessica Jones or Captain America compared to the other sentient alien races.

What if Humans were essentially the "Krogan" from Mass Effect, uplifted to serve as mercenaries in a galactic conflict.

I mean really there's so many options for things we do that could be super compared to aliens.
"Have you heard about those humans we discovered? They get their light direct from a star, not reflected from a planet like we do! My god, they have such a resistant to light and radiation!"
"I know! And the air they need to breathe is mostly oxygen! Oxygen! Its so volatile and they just suck it up fine and dandy!"
"If I broke a limb the shock would kill me! They'll heal it right back up!"
"Bloody hell what are those bastards made of!"

Palindromemordnilap:

Abomination:

Palindromemordnilap:
We've evolved on a world that has done its best to kill us with every beast it can...and we forced our way to the top anyway. Ax has no trouble believing we'd do the same on a galactic scale

I would like the idea of a setting where earth is somehow considered a "High Gravity" world compared to the other sentient species, and the average human is essentially Jessica Jones or Captain America compared to the other sentient alien races.

What if Humans were essentially the "Krogan" from Mass Effect, uplifted to serve as mercenaries in a galactic conflict.

I mean really there's so many options for things we do that could be super compared to aliens.
"Have you heard about those humans we discovered? They get their light direct from a star, not reflected from a planet like we do! My god, they have such a resistant to light and radiation!"
"I know! And the air they need to breathe is mostly oxygen! Oxygen! Its so volatile and they just suck it up fine and dandy!"
"If I broke a limb the shock would kill me! They'll heal it right back up!"
"Bloody hell what are those bastards made of!"

I get the feeling you'd enjoy the "Humans are Space Orcs" readings.

 

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