Thoughts, Opinions, Gripes and Grievances


Kian Pfannenstiel, Writer

Comic book characters are only becoming a more common means of entertainment with Marvel’s rise in popularity and DC making their way back into live-action movies. The concept of super-humans has fascinated humanity for a long time. The oldest one I know of is Heracles (original Greek name for the more common Hercules of Rome), but they’re speckled throughout history with the Anglo-Saxon’s Beowulf, Bram Stoker’s Count Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein’s Monster, and more modern creations, such as Stan Lee’s Incredible Hulk, or Bob Kane and Bill Finger’s Batman.

I almost find more fun in speculating about the mechanics of the character’s abilities or psyche. Think of the Hulk, for an example. While not the Hulk, Bruce Banner is a genius with a blood condition (gamma sickness) that he gave to himself. This gamma sickness causes him to transform into the Incredible Hulk (if you don’t know his backstory, here it is). So, if he were to get a series of blood transfusions, diluting his blood, would he reduce the amount of “Hulk” in him to a point where the Hulk only comes out in eye color when Banner gets angry, or maybe even in less significant ways? Or would the gamma sickness spread to the new blood, not allowing Banner to alter the amount of “Hulk” in him? I like to think that it’s the latter, personally, because I doubt someone as smart as Banner would ever overlook such a simple chance to get rid of the Hulk. However, if he did try blood transfusions, wouldn’t the old blood be somewhere? It was probably properly disposed of, but what if it wasn’t, and someone accidentally put it in someone else’s blood stream? Would they become another Hulk? I like to think so, it’s a great opportunity for another Hulk villain, be it short-term or recurring.

Another question (credits to Eli Kayser for coming up with it) is as follows: If we were to go to a different planet with a different kind of star, would we get superpowers? To start off, let’s look at how Superman gets his powers. Here it states that Superman’s power originates from the yellow sun of Earth and the fact that he has a dense body due to Krypton’s immense gravity. If we were to go to Krypton, its gravity might crush us, but the powers we may get from the red solar radiation might give us powers. Except, kryptonite is said to have killed many of its owners through giving them diseases such as cancer. My best guess is that it’s a result of the radiation, as radiation is known to cause cancer, and kryptonite weakens the Man of Steel through its radioactivity. So, Superman coming to Earth and being sustained by our yellow sun but reduced to human stature in the presence of red solar energy is a fluke, and our moving to Krypton would only kill us because of the levels of radiation. Of course, we’d have to go to Kandor, because the rest of Krypton blew up.

As much as I’d like to say that this is how it works, and that DC may have even shown support of this in their comic books, they debunked it. In one instance, Jimmy Olsen ventured with Superman to the shrunken Kryptonian city of Kandor, saved by Brainiac from the demolition of Krypton. Jimmy Olsen, the photographer for the Daily Planet, is, without a shadow of a doubt, 100% human, and in no way Kryptonian. He spent his time in Kandor with superman as Flamebird, apprentice and sidekick to Nightwing, alter ego Superman adopts on Kandor in Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen, outlined here. So, while all evidence suggest that Kandor, or anywhere else on Krypton, would kill us, Jimmy Olsen, pal of Superman, proves this wrong when he and Superman go to the Kryptonian city in a jar.

I’ve outlined two questions, one from each of the major comic book publishing companies, Marvel and DC, and with absolute sincerity I hope that you found entertainment in reading these. If you didn’t enjoy speculating about the ins and outs of superhumans, I doubt you made it this far in the article, but if you did, I’m glad to have ceased your boredom if only for a bit.