Making the Grade: Fantastic Four Powers

The Thing’s Durability
Now, I know the Thing’s main selling point is his massive strength, but let’s be honest — you can only smash through so many walls or heave so many tanks before the novelty wears off (and let’s not even mention the whole “you’re-everybody’s-buddy-on-moving-day-when-you-own-a-pickup-truck” factor). No, I’d much rather have his immense durability, especially if I could get it without looking like the Bedrock version of the Michelin Man. Think of all the everyday chores that would be so much easier to accomplish if you didn’t have to worry about hurting yourself. Like hailing taxicabs. Or taking a shortcut when you’re really tired of waiting for an elevator. B+

The Human Torch’s Flame Powers
The first time you do it, it’s cool to see. Fire. From your fingertips. That’s pretty neat. The next couple of times, during camping trips or impromptu Guy Fawkes Day outings, you’re the life of the party. After that… look, there’s a reason why pyrokinetics always go crazy in the movies. You either take up a life of soldering and smoking just so you can save money on matches or you become an unstoppable force of nature — there’s really no middle ground. And don’t get me started on how impossible it would be for a fellow who flames on to not violate local public nudity ordinances, sans a good tailor who specializes in “unstable molecules.” C-

Mr. Fantastic’s Super-Stretching
I’m not going to get into any long-winded diatribes or fancy explanations on this one; I think we can all agree we’ve all experienced those moments in our lives when we felt the ability to stretch a few inches where it counts would come in pretty damn handy at times. What? I’m talking about cleaning rain gutters and fetching frisbeees thrown up on the roof by accident. Why, what did you people think I was talking about? Really…? Man, what a bunch of pervs. A-

The Invisible Woman’s Invisibility 
I’ve never really understood what tactical advantage the power of invisibility would have in combat, superhero or otherwise. Sure, the guy spraying machine-gun fire in your general direction can’t see you, but, you know, machine gun. And spraying. Plus I can’t help remembering that one X-Files episode where some random guy learned how to turn himself invisible and got to enjoy his newfound power for a full five seconds before a truck smeared his invisible pancreas all over the highway. Call me antsy, but I’d feel safer knowing the teammates who can hurl fireballs and pieces of concrete had an exact bead on my location at all times. D

The Invisible Woman’s Force Fields 
Now we’re talking. No less an authority than Doc Doom himself designated Ms. Richards the most formidable member of the Fantastic Four, and he wasn’t referring to her ability to blend in with the room decor. She can generate near-indestructible invisible force fields around herself or anything else she wants, and she can shoot off invisible projectiles in whatever shape she can conceive. That flat out rocks. And just think of how dangerous that would make her if she ever got pushed too far. “Threaten my family, will you? Bam! Force-field embolism! Inside your brain!” Not that I would ever use my force fields to hurt people, of course. I’d mostly concentrate on minor acts of dickery, like keeping pushy panhandlers at bay or mentally “bumping” anyone who tries to get too chatty on the streetcar. There’s probably a good reason why cosmic rays never had their way with me.  A

 

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