Faster than a speeding typist! More powerful than a Texas Instruments TI-84! Able to calculate rates with an eye toward future return on investment! It’s Actuarial Man!
Just because someone puts on a spandex suit, has big, flowing hair and hides behind a tiny mask which wouldn’t fool their 98-year-old grandmother, it doesn’t make them strike fear in the hearts of evil men. Some fictitious heroes seem to be heroes only because they call themselves heroes. Marvel has more than its fair share of butt-kicking, powerful super dudes and ladies, but every now and again, they seem to over do it a bit. Now, we realize every character can’t be powerful like Iron Man, mysterious like Wolverine or as likeable as Nightcrawler, but some consideration really needs to be given to whether or not a new character is really needed.
Marvel has hundreds of heroes in its arsenal and perhaps could reuse one of them that was solidly developed and possessed unique (and more importantly, useful) abilities, which make readers and watchers go ‘Wow!’ instead of ‘Huh?’ Since there appears to be hundreds of thousands of mutants in the world of Marvel, we’re pretty sure one was born with the incredible ability to correctly parallel-park every time or not streak the glass while washing windows. Surely, though, they wouldn’t end up on the police chief’s speed dial when the giant flaming worms are attacking the earth. Here are some of those so-called super folk who are at most a little underwhelming and, at least, the punch lines at super villain Christmas parties.
Jeremy Renner does a fairly good job of brining the master archer to life on the big screen. But in Age of Ultron he said it himself. “The city is flying, we’re fighting an army of robots and I have a bow and arrow.”
The biggest problem with Hawkeye isn’t that he’s necessarily underpowered; it’s his utter lack of ability to carry enough ammo. His quiver can hold only so many shafts and the trick-heads are in some kind of loading device that can only hold five, maybe six at a time. Unless he’s holding numerous more shafts and heads in a place better left unnamed on a reputable website, he’s gonna be fighting off the robots and aliens with his fists and good intentions pretty quickly. Only in the first Avengers flick was he shown running out of ammo. But later, he’s shown with another one pointing at Loki. Now, call us curious but where do all the extra heads come from, considering most of them explode, electrify or turn into a net or something? A wise cowboy once said, never insult seven men if you’re only packing a six gun. Hawk, you’re pretty cool and all but you might wanna steer clear of the heavyweight division if you’re not gonna carry at least a gym bag full of extra arrows.
This one will probably draw some anger because he’s a very popular character but Daredevil is simply too normal for us. His power is, basically, enhanced senses. So if you’re a criminal who smells really bad, he can pick up on you from two miles away. He’s blind, so he kind of has radar vision. That’s not really too much of a super power for a blind person. It’s more of a wash. OK, he’s super athletic, strong, yada yada yada. In the Marvel Universe, most nuns and five year olds are super athletic and strong. So, color us none too impressed.
Of course, we could be just a tad biased since the movie version starred that killer of Super Hero roles, Ben Affleck. That guy couldn’t act his way out of a wet paper bag (yet still somehow hooked Jennifer Garner). He’s ruined more film than sunlight, yet still keeps getting cast. Some mysteries are simply beyond our reach.
This chick looked like she was constantly juggling Skittles. Jubilee was a questionable entry into the superhero bag from the get-go. Initially, her power was basically making colorful balls of light that could blind you. How mean! Marvel eventually gave her some more powerful things to do, but it was clear to fans that she was a mistake. They could have called her Party Favor Girl and had her toss streamers at the bad guys. Marvel’s development team might want to think about its character choices more seriously and (here’s an idea) question if they should create a new one when her powers can be easily duplicated by throwing flour in the bad guy’s face. We suppose she could have taken a little comfort from the fact that she’s not even the weakest female in the Marvel Universe with those types of powers. No, that title belongs to…
Look out! That woman has huge hair and a light show! You could be talking about Dazzler or any number of 1980s new age girl bands. Dazzler could transform sound waves into light. She liked to use music to do this so, naturally, she moonlighted as and entertainer. So if you’re facing off against evil mutant groupies, she’s your gal. When you read about her character bio, you’ll notice her base powers are pretty silly and then some stronger ones are kind of added on. That’s because no villain has ever been robbing a Manhattan bank and thought “I sure hope no one comes in and makes everything look like a kaleidoscope exploded!” She’s a mutant, so she’s been associated with the X-Men over the years. We’re sure Magneto shook in terror when faced with her carnival side-show talents. At least she could play at Wolverine’s birthday bash!
The ability to translate languages is not a super power. It’s just not. Maybe if he could translate what politicians really mean in their speeches, we’d be on to something. Cypher was part of the New Mutants, but we’re not really sure what was mutated in him. There’s probably a tiny portion of the brain with some long Latin name that deals with the ability to translate language. We have to just guess that his mom ate a lot of fish and his version of that cortex became significantly larger or something. It’s kind of hard to picture using Cypher’s abilities too often. The Marvel characters do tend to encounter a lot of alien races, but after he’s done breaking down their way of communication, what was left for him to do? “I’m done, guys. Gonna go take a nap while you bust their long, green heads in! ”
This guy could have ended up on top of the list simply because his name evokes images of a man dressed in a jacket and a captain’s hat, who fights crime by announcing guests to the occupants of swanky Manhattan apartment buildings. Doorman’s real power had to do with opening portals to other dimensions by standing next to them. (Big deal.) He was part of a very questionable group of heroes known as the Great Lakes X-Men and Great Lakes Avengers. They were all kind of knock-off New York superheroes and most had really questionable powers. Dorkman – oops – Doorman did battle some real super baddies and was eventually killed by Maelstrom. He likely just couldn’t open that door fast enough and Maelstrom refused to tip him. This had to upset all three of his fans.
What every super group needs is a team member who can make it dark. Shroud can handle it. He manipulates something called the darkforce which is really just night. “I’m sleepy, going to bed…Shroud, my room’s too bright…” This power must be terrifying to legions of Kindergarten villains who never want mom to turn the light out. Shroud wears a dark cape and outfit and scurries about the darkness of Los Angeles seamy underbelly. At least he found a place to fit in. He did work with some well known Marvel heroes and was almost part of the West Coast version of the Avengers at one time, but eventually even they couldn’t help but yawn every time they saw him. When last heard from, he had gone to New York City where he kind of moonlights as a superhero whenever called upon. We’re guessing that doesn’t happen all that often.
Box is a guy with no legs trying to be a superhero by controlling a robot with a helmet. It’s not that the robot is weak, it’s that Roger Bochs (the robot’s creator – isn’t that clever?) using a helmet to control something which is strong and powerful is simply a terrible idea. How long before a bad guy gets ahold of the helmet, Roger? Not very, as it happened on more than one occasion. Fortunately, a good thing eventually became of the robot. He was part of the Canadian group Alpha Flight when the hero Sasquatch was essentially killed, sending his soul into another dimension. Sasquatch (who is one of the cooler heroes to come out of the great white north) was saved by transferring his consciousness into Box. Later, a more powerful Box was designed which Bochs (not to be confused with Box) could wear like a suit. Iron Man, look out.
We left Ant-Man off this list because he actually can control ants and do some pretty amazing stuff with them. In addition, he uses his size to get into areas where he can spy on his adversary or cause havoc in their operations. The Wasp does far less than that. She’s basically a tiny thorn in the side of whatever man is in her life at the moment. Hank Pym, Tony Stark – it didn’t matter. She was always kind of a whiny rich girl whose powers in a fight were negligible to say the least. Yes, she can fly. And she can emit “bio-electric stings.” Well, mosquitos can do most of that. And mosquitos are only annoying in the summertime. If you’ve read many of the comics, when she’s engaged in battle, she’s basically a mild diversion to most baddies while Iron Man or Thor pummel them. Of course, she looked good in her tight outfits. So there’s that.
They might as well have named him “Door Stop.” Originally a member of Alpha Flight -Canada’s answer to the Avengers – Puck is short. That’s it. He’s strong, too. OK, but that’s really it. What made him a vital part of any superhero team is beyond us. Oh, sure, he has that brazen and gruff personality which seems to accompany all short, stocky characters. Outside of that, you pretty much have to hope he’s just really ticked off. We suppose he may have come in useful during team limbo contests. Suddenly, everyone wants old Puck on their team. Perhaps he could be used as a bowling ball. Knocking meanies down is a sure way to get them peeved for when the real enforcers show up. Makes for a better fight that way. Supposedly, he achieved his diminutive stature through magical means. You’d think if he was going to be magically altered, he might have insisted on some other ability than being the most likely to win a Danny DeVito look alike contest.
5. Black Cat
If Mary Lou Retton was a superhero, this is who she would be. Just a lot shorter. Black Cat was Spider-Man’s girlfriend for a short period of time. She was basically just a hot chick in a tight outfit. Beside being an Olympic level gymnast, she was an accomplished cat-burglar (get it?) and through those naughty exploits met and fell in love with the wall-crawler. She was a tad kinky, however, and did not ever want Spider-Man to take his mask off. Apparently she was quite turned off by the prospect of seeing a skinny photographer. Her real name was Felicia and she prowled the New York skyline with Spidey for a while as kind of a sidekick, but soon faded into obscurity. No word on whether she returned the cat outfit but she likely could have made a living pole dancing after her crime fighting days ended.
This mutant’s powers might be kind of cool if he were fighting evil at a science fair. Somehow, he has the ability to create mechanical devices. Yes, time machines, cybernetics and holograms would be useful and all but just think how much fun this guy would be whipping up fondue pots on movie night! Of course he’d likely already have made the projector and reclining bucket movie seats as well. A member of the X-Men for a time, Forge isn’t just real likely to make any appearances in the films. Not too many folks clamouring for a mutant handy man, it seems. Like other weak characters, Marvel added on a few to make him seem more needed. Magic and dimension traveling and all that. Hopefully before he moves through any portals, he finishes Mrs. Smith’s toaster. She’s having the kids for brunch Sunday, you know.
There have been a few versions of Patriot, but we’ll concern ourselves with the original who appeared in the 40s and 50s. Patriot is just a poor man’s Captain America. Seriously, he was born of the same super serum that endowed Cap with his super strength and abilities, but without the shield. He did, in fact, take over AS Captain America when Steve Rogers was thought to be dead. So then he had the shield. And was then a rich man’s version…it must be all in the shield.
It’s not that Patriot couldn’t hold his own against bad guys similar to Cap, its just that having basically a less famous clone of one of your most well known and loved characters is pretty lame. No one’s going to hold it against the man while he’s saving their lives or the world or anything. But when it comes to an invite to the Super Hero of the Year Awards ceremony, Patriot will probably just have to be a seat filler while Steve and his cronies get the hardware.
2. Blonde Phantom
Not as much super hero as super model, Blonde Phantom has no real powers. She’s athletic. (Good.) She’s good looking. (OK.) She’s kind of sneaky. (Wonderful.) Not really sure what makes someone who can’t kick the living crud out of someone want to take the ultimate fashion risk of donning a colourful spandex outfit and a mask. Not to mention risking her life against villains who actually can do something unusual. Blonde Phantom was more of a spy than anything, teaming up with She-Hulk and acting as her informant and liaison for special assignments. Her mother was the original Blonde Phantom in the 1940s, working with the government in addition to teaming up with other costumed crime fighters. That makes more sense since 70 years ago, it would not have been unusual for male comic writers to define a character mostly on her looks.
1. Squirrel Girl
No, we’re not kidding. In the Marvel Universe we are well familiar with the Black Panther, The Falcon, Spider Man, Wolverine and a few other animal based characters. So, after the success of some of these, someone at Marvel thought that what was needed was a hero who could possess and emulate the myriad of vicious powers of a really ticked off fuzzy rodent. She can scamper with the best of them and if Professor X ever needed the insulation gnawed off the co-axial cable at Magneto’s house, she would get the call. She was another of the Great Lakes group which gave comic book fans scalp problems from all the head scratching. While it hasn’t been officially announced, we’re betting Squirrel girl eventually appears in one of the Avengers movies like 2024’s Avengers: Call the Exterminator.