Thursday, October 18, 2012

Curses, Foiled By Termites

Over the years there have been times when comics stories have taken liberties with Marvel characters concerning their abilities. It's never been clear to me why the writer or artist makes these kinds of choices--they're either abilities of convenience inserted to keep the story moving, or the person behind the new ability is genuinely wanting to establish some precedent with the character.

It's certainly hard to imagine either reason coming into play with this ability possessed by Namor, the Sub-Mariner:

The context is even more confusing. Apparently, the Human Torch has manipulated Namor into pursuing him at top speed, headed directly for an iceberg. The Torch veers off at the last moment--but Namor, unable to match the Torch's maneuver in time, decides to expand his size prior to impact. Yes, you read that right: expand his size. That's quick thinking, Sub-Mariner. I'm not sure why his strength and tough skin wouldn't afford enough protection, especially considering that Namor has been known to use his body to drill through solid rock--so what he would hope to gain by blowing himself up like a puffer fish isn't really clear (though it's a safe bet that we're all really actually wondering how the hell he's able to do that in the first place).

So he impacts. Now the problem shifts to how he's going to extricate himself, and the solution puts Jenny Craig to shame:

A strange ability to have, indeed. And, thankfully, one that hasn't been repeated since.

And speaking of Namor and the Torch, the latter isn't exactly in the clear when it comes to pulling the odd power out of the hat. Here's an instance where he's searching for Namor--not an easy task when you're the Torch, since the most you can do is fly above the ocean while your quarry is swimming underneath, hidden from sight. (Assuming he's even in the same time zone--the search area being, you know, the earth's oceans.) So, gee, what the Torch could really use is a sonar device, at the very least--but what to do when you don't have one handy?


Come on, say it with me: "You're getting warmer..."

But if you think Johnny Storm is the only character who can create accessories for himself on the fly, think again. Don't you remember when Iron Man was acting like a Transformer?

Nothing like having an "accessory compartment" taking up valuable space near the chest device that's keeping your heart beating. I probably would have gone with, let's say, a backup battery. But will someone tell me why Iron Man needs a hammer attachment, when he's got a bludgeoning fist capable of hammering someone just fine all by itself?

Let's take another character who likes using his hands in battle--Thor. What's that, you say? Thor's the one who uses a hammer? Especially when he has to call on his storm powers? Then who's this firing lightning bolts from his hands--Thor or Electro?

Still, we do know some heroes who like firing their powers. But we sure didn't expect to see Daredevil among them, did we? What's he got to fire, anyway? His billy club, of course. I can guess what you're thinking: it doesn't really count if it just fires rope. Not to worry. With a few quick attachments--including a barrel scope! for a blind man!--this puppy can be hoisted and used to target your foe before you can say "make my day."

I don't know if I'd put Ant-Man and the Wasp in the same category as these others--maybe they're more like tough drill sergeants. They'd have to be, for all those ants to snap-to at their orders on the double. Hell, on the triple. For instance, their battle with the Human Top, who ended up plummeting toward a roof. First of all, I had no idea that the Wasp could order around termites. But secondly, these termites would have to be faster than Quicksilver and have teeth made of adamantium in order to pull off weakening a roof that a foe was already falling toward:

And last, but not least--all hail Wanda, Goddess of Thunder!

I'll bet you anything that Iron Man also packs a bottle opener in his armor. Better make that a cork screw. Anyway, I've got dibs on that billy club. Is it too much to hope for that it's also a Pez dispenser?


Rick said...

Why does the blind Daredevil need a site on his billy club rifle?

Comicsfan said...

It could be just for the sake of appearance, Rick--otherwise I'm sure people like Reed would have a few pointed questions for DD. ;)

Jonathan Hendry said...

To be fair to Thor, Odin had a good point in Thor:Ragnarok when he reminded Thor that he's the god of thunder, not the god of hammers.