Wednesday, 24th January '07
There Are Only So Many Superpowers to Choose From
Been watching a good bit of the new NBC drama "Heroes" of late. Thrilling stuff, but right now only 12 episodes are out, so I'm in for a bit of a wait. It's basically "Lost" meets "X-Men", and currently better than the former simply because it hasn't gotten itself tangled up in its own smartness. As of yet. And excellent ensemble cast, of course. I love it, but I'm not here to wax lyrical about how great the production of the show is.
As always, it's more fun to write about what I DON'T like about it, which is the rehashing of the old "there are some humans who have evolved more than others" storyline. It's almost TOO X-Men like, and therefore not as exciting a premise as it was in the 70s. Another problem (or observation) with the whole "superpower" shebang, I realize, it that the human species is severely limited by its imagination. Even if we COULD evolve into flying, telekenetic, time stopping, spotaneously regenerating beings, we'd just sort of end there because we couldn't think of better things to do. As for the case on point, here's every "Hero" through the eyes of an X-Men fan:
1. Claire Bennet
High school cheerleader ("save the cheerleader, save the world!") with gift of spontaneous regeneration. This essentially means if you hurt her, she'll just heal instantly. In more colloquial lingo, she's a bit of a lao3 bu4 si3 type. Where we've seen the type before: Wolverine. Need you even ask? Just take away the whole adamantium skeleton and general hairiness.
2. D.L. Hawkins
Ex-mob crony who (so you are led to believe until about episode 9) steals money from a faceless, scary sounding kingpin. Said kingpin is incensed, so D.L. has to flee from him and the police at the same time. Said kingpin is therefore also fond of harrassing D.L.'s son and wife. D.L.'s powers are of the "can walk through walls" variety. Also very useful in "dodging" bullets that wife (when she's not herself, see below) fires at him. Where we've seen the type before: Kitty Pryde a.k.a. Shadowcat. A more African-American and significantly less dainty version, though.
3. Niki Sanders
Wife of D.L. left to look after their son and pay the bills by conducting 39-bucks-an-hour stripping sessions on an Internet website. Literally, one hot mama. Don't piss her off because she morphs into an alter ego of her dead twin sister and usually ends up rending her offender limb from limb. Usually then wakes up back as herself, totally not in control of what happened and sitting in a pool of someone else's blood. Where we've seen the type before: Jean Gray / Phoenix. Minus the flying and the telekinesis.
4. Micah Sanders
Son of Niki and D.L., revealed to be something of a child prodigy who can fix electronics (or perhaps communicate with them?) by laying a glowing hand on the thing. Amazingly, I cannot think of an X-Men who does this.
5. Hiro Nakamura
Incredibly cutsey, pudgy Japanese office worker who can mess around with the space-time continuum. With varying degrees of success, since he can't quite control where he lands up. Where we've seen the type before: Blink (she's a very old, non-movie appearing member of the X-Men who creates teleportic portals), Sway (another obscure X-er who can manipulate time and used it to catch her parents' murderers) and Tempo (mutant terrorist version of Sway). And if you must, the second Charmed One, Piper.
6. Matt Parkman
Born-loser type cop who really wasn't headed anywhere in his career until he started being able to hear people's thoughts. I say born-loser because most of what happens to him really isn't his fault - wife sleeps with another man, he can't pass the detective exam because he's dyslexic, that sort of thing. Where we've seen the type before: Professor X, for starters. If you really want to, I'm sure you can list a plethora of mind-reading superheroes/villans too. Emma Frost, Chamber, Sage etc etc.
7. Nathan Petrelli
Cocky bastard of a congressman candidate whose discovery of his powers of flight happened at a very inopportune moment. That is, when he was driving a convertible with his wife in it and an angry civillian tried to run them off the road. He just sort of floated up into the air, leaving the car to swerve around with his horrified wife in it. Wife is now paraplegic, he is guilt-ridden, and hence decides to deal with this guilt by sleeping with Niki (who was in alter ego mode). Also sells out his brother, Peter, to look good for the press. Such a charming character, this Nathan. Where we've seen the type before: Superman, duh. And also a motherlot of the better known X-ers, even if they have to manipulate other matter to get there: Storm, Magneto, Archangel etc.
8. Peter Petrelli
End-of-life care nurse by day, vivid dreamer by night. Mostly he seems to dream about flying and his brother seems to appear in the dream somewhere. Decides to prove to Nathan he can fly (because Nathan is afraid flying will spoil his election campaign, and hence doesn't tell a soul about his ability) and actually does. Thing is, when Nathan's not there, Peter can't fly either. And when Peter hangs around Isaac Mendez, he can draw stick figures showing the future. And when Peter hangs around Claire, he's virtually indestructable. Where we've seen the type before: Rogue. But Peter has a much sweeter deal - he's not going to inevitably suck the life out of anyone he touches. Makes for a lot less angsty character too.
9. Issac Mendez
Heroin junkie painter. The artsy fartsy sort that lives in a secluded loft and has easels and other painting paraphenallia scattered about with abandon. When he shoots up, so does his crystal ball and his eyes glaze over so they're all white, and he paints the future. In particular, big-ass disasters like the nuclear bomb-induced end of the world scenes, cheerleaders dying, terrorist attacks, derailed trains and the like. Where we've seen the type before: Destiny. Less well-known X-Men villian, lesbian lover of Mystique, and who has those glazed over eyes too. She's blind, by the way, but is an excellent archer because she can point in a direction and see the future as to where the arrow's gonna end up.
10. Eden McKane
Small character with the power of suggestion or persuasion, depending on how you look at it. But whatever it is, she can make you do whatever she wants. Where we've seen the type before: Gambit. Aside from charging playing cards with kinetic energy, Gambit's little known (and probably more lethal power) is his ability to hypnotically charm anyone into doing things. Doesn't use it often, though, since his Cajun coolness usually already gets people swooning. Now why did you think he's every girl's favourite X-er?
Ok, that's enough for now. You get the idea. We're re-using too many superpowers. That said, I want telekinesis. I'm old school.
[6 photographs developed.]
haha thanks for the update. can always count on u to give me a heads up about the latest drama worth watching. anyways.. i'm downloading the 1st 2 episodes now to give it a go. if i had a superpower i want to fly. just cos i'm lazy.. or teleporting.. so that i can sleep as much as i want and then go 'ok to work' and just end up at work.
ok, i've jus scrolled to the btm. *close eyes*
you do know, bert, that your IP address tells me who REALLY posted which comment?
its ok.. only U can see the IP add. and it looks funny..