Monday, August 13, 2012

The Top 5 Most Ridiculous Superhero Weaknesses

Look, we get why superheroes need weaknesses. You can’t just have them going around doing as they please without any limitations or every crisis would be over in five minutes.

But for whatever reason, comic book writers ran out of weaknesses that make any kind of sense at all right around the time that they decided the Green Lantern’s weakness is the color yellow.

5. Wonder Woman: Having Her Hands Tied By A Man
Wonder Woman, besides usually being the only thing that keeps the Justice League from turning into a complete sausage party, has transcended comic books and become an enduring symbol for feminism. She’s always been portrayed as a badass Amazon warrior who doesn’t take shit from anyone and, unlike Batman, she isn’t afraid to break a neck or two when she has to. Why do you think Gotham City gets all the great villains? Most of them are too afraid to go near Wonder Woman’s turf.

The Ridiculous Weakness: Of course, originally Wonder Woman was created as, well, pretty much the exact opposite of what we just described. We’ve mentioned before that her creator believed bondage was the key to a healthy relationship and tried to include as much as of it in his comics as possible—what we didn’t tell you is that he also made it so all of Wonder Woman’s amazing powers were rendered completely useless if her hands were bound by a man.

And yes, it only works if a man does it, so when you think about, the real weakness here is scrotums. However, her one weakness was also apparently the only thing keeping her destructive tendencies in check: If Wonder Woman’s Bracelets of Submission were broken, she would “launch into an uncontrollable rage.”

This wasn’t just in the ‘40s, by the way—the same ridiculously offensive weaknesses were still being used as recently as the late ‘70s, while the live-action Wonder Woman TV show was on the air. It was only in the ‘80s that DC Comics started ignoring all that crap. Fortunately this still gives us 40 years of material to take out of context and make fun of.

4. Thor: Letting Go of His Hammer For 60 Seconds
If Wonder Woman is about feminism, The Mighty Thor is all about how wonderful it is to have a penis. It would be silly to pretend that comic book writers are completely unaware of the phallic nature of Thor’s hammer—it’s, uh, kinda hard to miss. He even gave it a nickname (“Mjolnir”) and has been known to flaunt it in front of the ladies.

With his super strength, flight, control of lightning and (at this point) superfluous magical abilities, Thor is possibly the most powerful superhero ever. All those powers are derived from his massive dong-like hammer…you can probably see where this is going.

The Ridiculous Weakness: As explained in the early Thor comics, if he lets go of his hammer for more than a minute he loses his god status and becomes human, while the hammer itself turns into a flimsy walking stick. Though he does gain the new powers of walking away nonchalantly and filing his taxes.

To make matters worse, Thor’s secret identity (med student Donald Blake) is basically a younger version of the main character from “House,” right down to the crippled leg, the scrawny physique and the annoying god complex (though in this case it’s somewhat justified).

Think about it: Thor is the mightiest hero ever, but he can’t even fall asleep without firmly clutching his hammer under the covers and oh God the penis similarities keep coming. But all of that is beside the point. This weakness wouldn’t be so much of a problem if Thor’s main crime-fighting method didn’t consist of throwing the hammer great distances. Usually Mjolnir comes back by itself, but the only thing his enemies have to do is make sure it doesn’t and Thor is completely fucked. This happened more often than you’d think.

3. Power Girl: All Natural, Unprocessed Materials
Power Girl is a fan-favorite DC Comics superhero and Superman’s sometimes cousin from another reality. She’s best known for her strong personality and leadership skills, which are also the key to her popularity.

So her powers are more or less the same as Superman’s, minus the vulnerability to kryptonite (since she comes from a different version of planet Krypton). Surely the writers have made up for that power imbalance in a way that makes sense. Right?

The Ridiculous Weakness: Actually, they replaced it with something even dumber—a weakness to “natural elements.” We have to question the effectiveness of any superhero who can be knocked down with something as simple as a tree branch. In one episode, she explains that she’s vulnerable to “any raw, unprocessed natural material,” which would presumably include things like water, dirt or, you know, air. She can stop a bullet, but throw a rock at her face and she’s dead. Basically, the whole planet Earth is “earthonite” to her. The message here is pretty transparent—take a close look at Power Girl again. Take your time.

Does she look “all natural” to you? Are the writers telling us that she has so much plastic in her body that the mere presence of something not made out of silicon makes her sick?

2. Thanos: A Desire To Lose
Earlier we said that Thor is the most powerful superhero in comics, but not the most powerful person—that’s because some of these villains aren’t even in the same league. Take Thanos, a guy so insanely powerful that at one point he became the “living embodiment of the universe.”

Even when Thanos isn’t obliterating entire galaxies at whim, he still has other powers like matter manipulation, time travel, teleportation, telekinesis and, oh, immortality. He’s also a super-genius in all fields of science, because what the hell, at this point he might as well be. And yet every time, the good guys manage to defeat him and undo the damage. How come?

The Ridiculous Weakness: “A subconscious desire to lose.” Is it just us, or are these getting more and more abstract? Is there a superhero whose weakness is “any action that is described with an adverb?”

Anyway, this means Thanos “arranges for himself to defeated” because deep down he knows he doesn’t deserve to win. It’s the same reason he can’t maintain an erection.

1. Captain Marvel Jr.: Saying His Own Name
Captain Marvel Jr. is the junior sidekick of Captain Marvel (duh), and also the inspiration for Elvis’ haircut and fashion sense. He hasn’t got much else going for him, sadly.

Captain Marvel gets his powers by shouting the word “SHAZAM,” which grants him the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules and the “who the fuck is that guy” of Azamoncules. His junior version, in turn, must say “Captain Marvel” to activate his fantastic powers. He’s exactly like Captain Marvel Sr. in every other sense, except for the fact that he’s shorter, bluer and…

The Ridiculous Weakness: He can’t say his own name. That’s his weakness. He can’t introduce himself at parties. Or at all.

It’s like the small print at the bottom of the contract or the legally required health warning at the end of an ad, except wholly unnecessary and bizarre. If Captain Marvel Jr. says “Captain Marvel Jr.” he transforms from a shimmering beacon of muscle-y justice into a crippled orphan, which can be a huge inconvenience since superheroes tend to fly everywhere (whereas crippled orphans do not).

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