Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Things That Don't Make Sense in Comic Books

As I am in the process of writing a superhero novel, I am trying to steer clear of some of the more ridiculous plot point that seem to haunt superhero comic books in general. Here’s my list of things that don’t make sense in comic books…

If Bruce Banner, a brilliant physicist, is at all disturbed by the fact that he turns into the Hulk every time he gets angry, don’t you think he’d find a way to keep himself from getting angry? There are plenty of legal or even illegal drugs that would help.

Why doesn’t Batman kill the Joker? While Batman may think the act of killing is inherently wrong, his belief that it would make him just like the Joker is incorrect. He is nothing like a homicidal criminal who kills untold numbers of people for fun; he would be killing to stop hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent people from dying at the Joker’s hands. One, or even a few criminals, stopped with lethal force does not make the executioner the same as the people they kill. And why bother putting the Joker in prison? He’s just going to escape. Why not give Joker the death penalty?

What’s the point of a character dying if they’re going to come back to life later? The ‘death of’ trope is abused so often these days that it might as well be pointless. What’s the point of a whole bunch of heroes mourning Captain America or Superman when they know that – chances are – they’ll be back in just a few months?

Why don’t superheroes ever use their powers properly? For example, Thor can easily send any difficult enemy into another dimension with his hammer, so why has he only done it once (to Juggernaut)? Why doesn’t Superman ever use his super speed to prevent an enemy from landing a punch? Argh! And why don’t superheroes ever get tired during a fight? Even world class boxers need a rest between rounds.

Why would a non-super powered criminal take on a superhero? If you’re a ninja assassin for The Hand, are you really going to fight Wolverine? If you’re a bank robber, are you really going to shoot at Superman when he arrives? Better yet, if you’re going to be a criminal, why not move somewhere where there are no superheroes?

Regarding Superman, why would a yellow sun give him powers? Our Sun only appears yellow due to the way light scatters in our atmosphere; if you’re in space, the Sun appears white. A better explanation would be that our Sun gives Superman his powers due to what our Sun is made of. I guess comic book writers don’t do much research.

Speaking of gaining super powers, why do incidents that would kill anyone else (like radiation exposure) give some people incredible abilities? (At least this didn’t make sense until Marvel Comic’s Earth X series.) Moreover, why do people always decide to become a hero or villain after gaining super powers? If I suddenly found I could turn invisible, I probably wouldn’t announce it to everyone.

Why do so many superheroes and super villains know each other “off the record,” in their private lives? For example, Spider-Man knew several of his foes before they were villains, like Norman Osborn, Curt Connors, and Eddie Brock. And believe me, that’s just the (really) short list!

Speaking of Spider-Man’s, his spider-sense warns him of impending danger. So why didn’t it warn him not to get married?

Why do allegedly brilliant scientists always use themselves as test subjects? And given how often an experiment goes wrong, why do they always experiment in a heavily populated area?

With a few notable exceptions like Batman and Iron Man, most anyone with a load of money or access to resources is a super villain. Why?

How come civilians never die when there is a huge city battle? There’s got to be some collateral damage they’re not telling us about.

Why do almost all non-Earth beings look exactly like humans? Even Marvel’s Inhumans look really, really human!

…Feel free to come up with your own list and share, share, share. Maybe our collective ire will make comic book writers a little less lazy.

1 comment:

Gentlemantony said...

Enjoyed it. A few random, unasked-for observations:

1) No amount of medical help or drugs could prevent Hulk getting mad when Bieber flashes across the TV screen. Be realistic.
2) The superhero's death is a cliché not dissimilar to retirement wrestling matches. Inevitably, there's an unasked-for return.
3) Superheroes do not tire in a fight because they're superheroes.
4) Also, why didn't Spiderman use his powers to convince ME not to get married?
5) If I had the ability to see through things, I'd know how to channel that power.
6) Superheroes look human to remind us that we, too, can be superheroes on a smaller scale.