The Most Useless Superpowers

The Most Useless Superpowers
    What does it take to be a superhero?
    Is it leaping tall buildings with a single bound, or is it a matter of bravery against
    all odds?
    Maybe you just need a superpower….
    no matter how hilariously terrible that superpower may actually be.
    For every all-purpose hero like Iron Man, there are a hundred lesser-known heroes who'd
    never stand a chance in the Avengers.
    Here are just a few of those hundreds of forgotten, useless heroes and their crappy superpowers.
    Glob Herman
    For a while, it didn't seem like there was much of a downside to being a mutant in the
    Marvel universe… aside from being hated, hunted, and feared by people who built giant
    purple murder robots made of racism.
    Until the early 2000s, mutants were mostly beautiful.
    That all changed when the creative team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely arrived in
    2001 to create New X-Men.
    As a result, we ended up with some really, really ugly messes.
    One of these misbegotten characters was Glob Herman, a rotund teenager whose skin was not
    only transparent, but also composed of a substance like paraffin wax.
    Unfortunately for Glob, paraffin wax is pretty flammable.
    That's something that he might've wanted to consider before joining in with a student
    riot at Xavier's and purposely getting set on fire.
    It turns out that being a giant wax-covered skeleton that's easy to set on fire isn't
    exactly a great asset for the X-Men's action-packed pursuits.
    He survived and, surprisingly, is still kicking around the Marvel Universe.
    Just not with the Human Torch.
    Kite Man
    It takes a lot of confidence to commit a crime in Gotham City.
    Odds are that you'll get multiple concussions from a guy dressed like a spandex vampire
    who's so good at karate they let him into the Justice League.
    But maybe you really think you've got the edge, whether it comes from your freeze gun,
    your fiendishly clever riddles, or, if you're Charles Brown, your mastery over….
    Yes: Kite Man's actual name is Charlie Brown, named for the comic strip character who famously
    can't keep a kite in the air for more than two seconds.
    And if that wasn't insulting enough, the official guidebook to the DC Universe describes him
    as, quote, "a poor leader and an even poorer hand-to-hand combatant."
    Kite Man has been revived in modern Batman comics, getting a new catchphrase — "Kite
    Man, hell yeah!" — and a darkly hilariously origin story that involves his kite-loving
    son being poisoned.
    None of this makes him better at not getting punched half to death by Batman and everyone
    around him.
    Ulysses Solomon Archer
    Writer Al Milgrom and artists Herb Trimpe and Frank Springer were fully aware that they
    were doing something ridiculously goofy when they put together Marvel's U.S. 1.
    They had to be.
    U.S. 1 was, after all, a licensed toy comic that was meant to tie into a remote-controlled
    big rig.
    "How'd you like to get behind the wheel of a 10-ton truck?
    Now you can!"
    They did the only thing they could and created Ulysses Solomon Archer, a kind-hearted trucker
    who got a metal plate in his head after a crash — and gained the incredible ability
    to telepathically control his 18-wheeler.
    He couldn't control every semi truck, just his.
    And he wasn't even the first Marvel hero with truck powers; the generally-forgotten Razorback
    also had a remote-controlled big rig pal.
    The weirdest part is that there's one issue in the comic's 12-issue run that's narrated…
    by the truck.
    It's even hinted that the truck might be self-aware.
    Still, it's a good enough superpower to give him occasional cameos in the wider Marvel
    Universe, showing up any time someone needs a trucker who can drive in outer space.
    Which, believe it or not, comes up surprisingly often.
    Hum Dinger
    Spidey Super Stories provided no end of truly weird, amazing villains for Spider-Man to
    It was, after all, a title for young readers where even characters like Dr. Doom were presented
    as goofballs with wacky schemes… and that's a guy who skinned his old girlfriend to make
    magical armor.
    Case in point: Hum Dinger, a would-be musician whose bad memory led him to hum onstage.
    While this initially went over pretty well with his audience, who were clearly very drunk
    or easy to please, his fame quickly went sour, and he decided to hum for evil.
    That's it.
    He wasn't, like, supernaturally good at humming or anything, he was just really, really annoying,
    and people gave him money to make him go away.
    It's not exactly the kind of situation that you'd think would require intervention from
    Spider-Man, but hey, the '70s were a weird time.
    Missing Man
    As the co-creator of characters like Spider-Man, the Question, and Doctor Strange, Steve Ditko's
    contributions to the history of comic books are both important and pretty well-chronicled.
    His later creations, however, not so much.
    Because they got really, really weird.
    The Missing Man, who made his full debut 1982's Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers #6,
    is one of those weirdos.
    In his handful of increasingly surreal appearances, his name is variously given as Syd Vane and
    Syd Mane, and he battles crime with the uncanny power to not have a torso.
    He's just a pair of spindly arms and a couple of cartoony legs capped off with an unfinished
    face and big glasses.
    If you need more information than that, well... there isn't any.
    It seems that along with a body, the other big missing piece of Missing Man was any explanation
    whatsoever for what his entire deal was.
    Oh, well.
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