Monday, January 21, 2008

How would superheroes do in real life?

I have been reading a graphic novel series called Powers. It imagines a world with superheros, but where it is illegal to be one. The idea is similar to that in the Incredibles. After some damage caused by the Powers, the government has generally frowned on the idea of people with "powers". The stories center around superhero crimes, especially murders of the heroes with powers.

I ordered all of them, but surprisingly the older out of print ones came faster (almost overnight) than the still in print ones from Amazon. I am up to Volume 10, and waiting for Volume 11. I wholeheartedly recommend them. They have adult themes and some adult art so they are not for kids. Here is the list thus far:

The story does a good job of exploring really what might happen if people with "Powers" existed and how they might not be as welcome as they are in the traditional comic book hero stories. The stories also center around how some of these people with powers would still have the same needs and wants as regular people, still have the same loves and hates, still be subject to the same pressures, hurts and insanities, but be able to act on these impulses in a much more powerful way than a regular person. No wonder the police are overwhelmed and "powers" are outlawed in the stories.

As to what the best moral or ethical approach to "powers" would be I suppose the adage "to whom much is given much is expected" is as appropriate as any. One could apply "Do unto others as you would have done unto you" as well. See the X-Men movies for two diametrically opposed approaches to the problem, training by Doctor Xavier, war by Magneto. The cartoon series of the "Justice League" has a government developing their own superheroes as a balance against the ones that they can't control.

1 comment:

Howard said...

Powers is one of my favorites. For more of realistic takes on superheroes try Astro City. Bendis' Alias is also good as is his Daredevil.

Gotham Central was also fun. Hill Street Blues in Gotham City.

My fav is 100 Bullets, it's crime not superheroes and it's great.