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Old April 24 2011, 05:30 PM   #1
Mr Silver
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Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

I consider myself to be a casual comic book fan. I read comics from time to time (mostly DC) but don't go out of my way to get a hold of the latest issue, etc.

I'm a big fan of several Superhero franchises, including Superman, Batman, The X Men, Spiderman, etc. Basically, anything they've created a decent franchise out of, be it movies, tv shows, fiction books, etc. Anyway, the thing i've noticed is how seriously overpowered some of the Superheroes have become. In the 1980's, Superman was toned down because the writers were finding it difficult to come up with new challenges for him. You see the same in Smallville for example. Clark in Smallville is so powerful, that he doesn't even need to bother flying, he can run close to the speed of light, lift pretty much anything that is not made out of Kryptonite and he can recover from virtually any injury. In fact the only weakness, Clark seems to have apart from Kryptonite, is himself (emotional troubles, conflict, etc).

I've seen the same things happen to other Superheroes, Wolverine for example, went from having a several hour recovery after getting shot in the head, to almost instantaneous regeneration and being able to survive Molecular Decomposition (in X3). Not only this, but in the comics, Wolverine's abilities have constantly been switched around, as and when required. Its just something that ruins the concept of continunity.

But as I've stated before, the worst offender for Overpowered is Superman. In fact, Superboy Prime is so powerful, its amazing the writers still manage to come up with challenges for him (and this is a spin off character!)

Thoughts?
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Old April 24 2011, 05:32 PM   #2
Avon
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

give spiderman diabetes.
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Old April 24 2011, 05:32 PM   #3
Alidar Jarok
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Superman has always been powerful. They've actually had to tone him down over the years or find excuses to stick Kryptonite in everything. I do think Wolverine has been made more powerful, but that's because they've been playing up the healing over the claws for awhile.
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Old April 24 2011, 05:50 PM   #4
Mr Silver
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Superheroes needs to have power limits, thats one of the points I was hoping to get at in my original post. Superman in particular needs limits. Lets look at Superman's basic powers

Flight: Can fly several times faster than the Speed of Sound while under Earth's gravity, in some areas of Space he can fly faster than the Speed of Light

Strength: Can lift pretty much anything, has a ridiculous amount of Strength, has been known to move Asteroids and such

Speed: Can run close to the Speed of Light, under pressure while on Earth's surface, percieves the World in Slow Motion.

Invulnerability: Can withstand every weapon on Earth, is immune to disease, doesn't suffer from the elements and can survive point blank Nuclear explosions. His only true weakness is Kryptonite, which he can recover from almost instantly, post exposure.

Those are Superman's basic physical powers, thats not even going onto his abilities like Heat Vision, Super Hearing, Micro Vision and Cold Breath. Just purely on those alone, he's more powerful than 75% of all DC Superheroes.
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Old April 24 2011, 06:15 PM   #5
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

I've noticed that they've toned down the Hulk somewhat after Peter David once had him regenerate in seconds from being charred. Then again Hulk is sort of a shapeshifter with multiple incarnations, so I guess one Hulk could be less powerful than the other.

Wolverine, likewise, seemed a bit depowered in the Morrison run, at times. The healing, while still fast, seemed to take more of an emotional toll on him.
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Old April 24 2011, 06:19 PM   #6
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Wolverine's healing went from exceptional to fantastical sometime in the eighties. Does anyone remember the X-Men annual where Wolverine was able to regenerate from a single drop of blood? hmm does that make him a clone then?? and come to think of it how was he able to keep the adamantium bonded to his skeleton??? I think I'm gonna have to find that annual again.
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Old April 24 2011, 06:51 PM   #7
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

People like to cite the "one drop of blood" thing, but they always forget that at the time, he was in contact with a gemstone that gave him godlike power. I think he gets a bye for that reason.
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Old April 24 2011, 07:52 PM   #8
Captain Mike
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Captain M wrote: View Post
Superheroes needs to have power limits, thats one of the points I was hoping to get at in my original post. Superman in particular needs limits. Lets look at Superman's basic powers

Flight: Can fly several times faster than the Speed of Sound while under Earth's gravity, in some areas of Space he can fly faster than the Speed of Light

Strength: Can lift pretty much anything, has a ridiculous amount of Strength, has been known to move Asteroids and such

Speed: Can run close to the Speed of Light, under pressure while on Earth's surface, percieves the World in Slow Motion.

Invulnerability: Can withstand every weapon on Earth, is immune to disease, doesn't suffer from the elements and can survive point blank Nuclear explosions. His only true weakness is Kryptonite, which he can recover from almost instantly, post exposure.

Those are Superman's basic physical powers, thats not even going onto his abilities like Heat Vision, Super Hearing, Micro Vision and Cold Breath. Just purely on those alone, he's more powerful than 75% of all DC Superheroes.
That is why I was an avid fan of John Byrne's "reboot". He was possibly the most powerful being on the planet, but in all sense he had his limitations and had to find ways too overcome them.
Sure Kryptonite was nearly his only weakness but he did not recover in a matter of moments. If I am not mistaken after his first prolonged exposure, due to Metallo, it actually took quite a few hours for him to get back to "maximum" power levels.
Sure beat the days of him being the omnicipent being that could push planets out of their orbit.....
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Old April 24 2011, 07:53 PM   #9
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
Superman has always been powerful. They've actually had to tone him down over the years or find excuses to stick Kryptonite in everything.
Not always. Initially, in 1938 through the early '40s, Superman's powers were far more modest. He couldn't fly, he could just jump 1/8 of a mile. (Hence the introductory line "Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound." Why would a guy who could fly or levitate need to leap? Because he didn't yet fly when that line was written.) His skin was described as resistant to anything "short of an exploding shell." And he didn't originally have heat vision or cold breath. In the Fleischer cartoons (even though he's gained the power of flight by then), he's portrayed as powerful but much more vulnerable than the Superman we know today. There's a genuine sense that the dangers he faces might, if not kill him, at least slow him down enough that he'll fail to save Lois or the city or whatever.

Superman is the original example of power creep, a character getting his powers so exaggerated and added to over the decades following his creation that he became all but indestructible. And it's a recurring pattern. He started out with limited powers in the '30s but was nigh-godlike by the '60s and '70s. Byrne toned down his powers in the '80s revamp but they've been creeping upward ever since. Superman: The Animated Series initially made him almost as vulnerable as the Fleischer Superman (in episodes 2-3 he struggled to land a jet plane safely and barely succeeded), but by Justice League Unlimited that had been abandoned.
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Old April 24 2011, 08:15 PM   #10
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

It also happened in Heroes, where Peter, Sylar and Hiro (and probably other's but those three are off the top of my head) were given power reductions/limitations.
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Old April 24 2011, 08:26 PM   #11
the G-man
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Regarding Superman, yeah, he's always (since the mid 40s) been overly powerful, but the one power that always bugged me the most was the heat vision.

First, off, once your character can destroy things by simply LOOKING AT THEM, you've reached pretty much the apex of power creep.

Second, about fifteen years ago, artists decided it was "kewl" and "edgy" to regularly draw Superman with glowing red eyes (see, eg, the cover to Action 900), in an attempt to make him look more "bad ass." It doesn't.
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Old April 24 2011, 08:33 PM   #12
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Janus VI wrote: View Post
Wolverine's healing went from exceptional to fantastical sometime in the eighties. Does anyone remember the X-Men annual where Wolverine was able to regenerate from a single drop of blood? hmm does that make him a clone then?? and come to think of it how was he able to keep the adamantium bonded to his skeleton??? I think I'm gonna have to find that annual again.

I haven't followed Wolverine since the 90s but I did see the story in the Punisher where Ennis took it to laughable extremes, including having Frank blow Logan's face off with a shotgun running him over with a steamroller ala Wile Coyote (and how was Wolvie able to keep talking and moving his mouth without lips and/or muscles to manipulate his jaw). I've also heard one time he got nuked down to the bones and got better (seemingly contradicting the "Days of Future Past" storyline).

In addition, while not exactly a case of "power creep" (since he supposedly has none), the Morrison/JLA "uber bat" concept (with enough prep time Batman can defeat everyone, etc.) is not a dissimilar example.
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Old April 24 2011, 08:49 PM   #13
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Silvercrest wrote: View Post
People like to cite the "one drop of blood" thing, but they always forget that at the time, he was in contact with a gemstone that gave him godlike power. I think he gets a bye for that reason.
I wasn't aware of the "one drop of blood" thing, but something siomilar was done a few years ago when Wolvie was incinerated in a plane crash with pretty much nothing but his adamantium skeleton remaining. The healing ability was toned down afterwards, though; it was established then each time he died he had to win a fight in the afterlife or stay dead. That option was then removed, so apparently now he's on his last life.

The power increase thing has also happened in Doctor Who, with the TARDIS now able to tow planets across light-years and travel trillions of years forward in time when previously it had had an imposed safe limit of perhaps ten million years from the present time. Its pilot's limit of twelve regenerations may have been increased or remioved, too.
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Old April 24 2011, 09:14 PM   #14
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Scrawny71 wrote: View Post
The power increase thing has also happened in Doctor Who, with the TARDIS now able to tow planets across light-years and travel trillions of years forward in time when previously it had had an imposed safe limit of perhaps ten million years from the present time.
It was only in "Frontios," in the series' 21st season, that it was suggested that travel beyond 10,000,000 AD exceeded the TARDIS's "boundary limits." But that was after several trips to much more than 10 million years in the past: 65 million in "Earthshock," 140 million in "Time-Flight," 400 million in "City of Death," billions of years to the formation of the galaxy in "The Edge of Destruction," and all the way back to "Event One" (the Big Bang) in "Castrovalva." So this wasn't a long-standing limit that was recently abandoned, it was a limit that was never mentioned until the series was more than half its current age, and then never mentioned again thereafter. Not power creep so much as a singular continuity glitch.

Its pilot's limit of twelve regenerations may have been increased or remioved, too.
The regeneration limit wasn't introduced until "The Deadly Assassin" in the 14th season, though, a bit over halfway through the series' original run. So it's a case of a limit being added rather than removed. (Just half a season earlier, "The Brain of Morbius" implied that the Doctor had had at least eight incarnations prior to the four we'd seen up to that point. I don't think it was until "The Five Doctors" that William Hartnell's Doctor was explicitly established as "the original, you might say.")
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Old April 24 2011, 09:37 PM   #15
the G-man
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Re: Superheroes Becoming Too Overpowered

Scrawny71 wrote: View Post
Silvercrest wrote: View Post
People like to cite the "one drop of blood" thing, but they always forget that at the time, he was in contact with a gemstone that gave him godlike power. I think he gets a bye for that reason.
I wasn't aware of the "one drop of blood" thing, but something siomilar was done a few years ago when Wolvie was incinerated in a plane crash with pretty much nothing but his adamantium skeleton remaining. The healing ability was toned down afterwards, though; it was established then each time he died he had to win a fight in the afterlife or stay dead. That option was then removed, so apparently now he's on his last life.




He's supposed to be a mutant with vaguely science based powers, not a magical being.
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