Top 5 Superpowers We Don’t Want

“That’s A Hard Pass For Me”– Superpower Edition

Jessica: “It doesn’t matter what you were trying to do. You raped me, again and again and again.
Kilgrave: “How was I supposed to know?! Huh?! I never know if someone is doing what they want or what I tell them to!
Jessica: “Oh, poor you.”
Kilgrave: “You have no idea, do you? I have to painstakingly choose every word I say. I once told a man to go screw himself. Can you even imagine?

Jessica Jones “WWJD” (Season 1, Episode 8)

Superpowers are awesome. No one can deny that. We even did an article about the five superpowers we want. But some powers simply aren’t worth the cost of admission. Their drawbacks range from annoying to lethal. These are the five we never want.

#5 Super Speed

Best exemplified by The Flash

Chorus: “And you say that time goes rushing by
But it seems so slow to me
And you see a blur around you fly
But it takes too long, seem so slow to me.
(Time keeps dragging on)”

– “The Ballad of Barry Allen” by Jim’s Big Ego

Super Speed is one of the strongest superpowers we know about. A speedster can clean their house in a nanosecond, run to China for some Dim Sum, and be back before anyone noticed they had left. They can easily escape any threat, but if they wanted to fight they can subject anything to the death of a thousand cuts.

Why it sucks: You need a host of other powers to work Super Speed. You need to be immune to friction or you’ll be incinerated. You need heightened reflexes and the ability to stop your momentum if you don’t want to smash into walls at lightspeed. A speedster will constantly kill people they try to save when the squishy civilians hit something moving at supersonic speed. A speedster also needs to eat constantly to fuel their powers.

The worst attribute of Super Speed is a changed perception of time. To move at superhuman speed, you would need to process information at the same speed. This would make everyone else appear to be moving in slow motion. You might have a two minute chat with a friend, only to find it took three hours from your perspective. No thanks!

#4 Super Strength

Best exemplified by The Hulk

Hulk: [practicing haiku] “Hulk want hug kitties
But they so easy to squish!
Hulk live in cruel world

– Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2

Super strength is the archetypal superpower. Whether it’s Hercules wrestling Cerberus, Samson demolishing the Temple of Dagon, or jokes about Chuck Norris roundhouse kicking the Earth, people have always told stories of heroes with superhuman strength. It’s the vanilla ice cream that goes well with any powerset.

Why it sucks: Imagine everyone around you has Brittle Bone Disease. A playful slap on the back would break bones. A hug would shatter the recipient’s back, if not kill them outright. Anyone with Super Strength is living in a world where the slightest miscalculation costs lives. It’s a nightmare.

Even ignoring the “I don’t know my own strength” issue, being super strong is no picnic. Trying to lift a car without also have superhuman durability would dislocate your arm. Even if you do lift a heavy object, that doesn’t mean you have the coordination to move while carrying it. Imagine trying to carry a couch up a flight of stairs by yourself. That’s no fun when you have someone to help you. It can’t be much fun alone.

#3 Immortality

Best exemplified by Wolverine

The Djinn:I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you one free wish. A sample. Just to get you in the spirit of the game.”
Alexandra: “All right. I want you to destroy yourself. Blow your brains out. Right now!”
The Djinn: “Very well.
[He shoots himself in the head and instantly regenerates]
The Djinn: “That which is eternal cannot die. But if it’s any consolation, sweet Alex, THAT HURT LIKE HELL!

Wishmaster

Immortality is a power countless have died pursuing. Whether they want to live forever or are simply scared of dying, people have done just about anything they thought would make them immortal. Living forever is an awesome power, letting you see firsthand how history changes throughout the ages.

Why it sucks: Immortality ain’t invulnerability. You can’t die, even if you’ve been drawn, quartered, and buried at sea. There are countless ways to end up in a scenario straight out of the horror classic “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream”.

You will outlive everyone you know and love. Eventually, you will forget about them. The human mind simply isn’t meant to function as long as an immortal will live. God help the immortal who comes down with Alzheimer’s.

#2 Superhuman Senses

Best exemplified by Superman

General Zod: [Zod’s helmet has been destroyed, causing his senses to run rampant] “What have you done to me?!”
Superman:My parents taught me to hone my senses, Zod.
[Zod falls to his knees in agony, horrified that he can see the bones in his hand]
Superman:To focus on just what I wanted to see. Without your helmet… you’re getting everything.”
[Zod begins writhing on the ground as the sounds overwhelm him]
Superman:…And it hurts… Doesn’t it?!”

– Man of Steel

Even when humans were hunter-gatherers we realized how good superhuman senses were. Being able to see for miles, hear things hundreds of yards away, and having better senses than your prey is useful. They may not be as flashy as other superpowers, but superhuman senses are a popular choice for a reason.

Why it sucks: Two words–sensory overload. Imagine walking through a concert full of strobe lights while sucking on a lemon and pushing through a mosh pit full of fans who haven’t showered lately. The mental strain is immense. And that is before you account for superhuman senses.

Imagine being able to smell every dumpster in a city block around you. Any injury you would shrug off causes more pain than you’ve ever felt. A sugar cookie might taste like concentrated vanilla extract. A whisper would seem like someone screaming in your ear. Take a tip from Corey Hart and wear sunglasses at night, ‘cause sight would be amped up as well.

#1 Telepathy

Best exemplified by Phoenix

Phoenix:In fact, you’re the first guy in six months who hasn’t immediately pictured me naked, so I appreciate that.
Spider-Man:
Phoenix: “Until now.
Spider-Man: “Sorry.
Phoenix: “Are you done?”
Spider-Man: [4 beat panels of trying not to think about it later] “I’m done.
Phoenix: [annoyed expression]
Spider-Man: OK, now I’m done.
Phoenix:[shocked expression]
Spider-Man:OK, now.

– Ultimate Spider-Man #43

Telepathy is the worst superpower and one we definitely don’t want.

It sounds ideal. You could cheat at cards, know exactly what your boss is thinking during a performance review, or telepathically make sure your lover is being faithful. You could blackmail people with their darkest secrets.  There are so many ways to abuse telepathy.

Why it sucks: Part of everyone’s brain filters what they think into what they say. Telepathy bypasses that filter. You get direct access to a person’s angry thoughts, perverted fantasies, and intolerant slurs that they’re too polite to say aloud. Now multiply all these abhorrent thoughts by however many people are in range of the telepath.

Even if people aren’t thinking disturbing thoughts, the sheer amount of people’s thoughts would constantly assault you. It’s not like you can keep most people from thinking. The mental noise would drive you insane. I would be punching people out within five minutes of becoming telepathic.

What’s a superpower you never want to have? Leave a comment.

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