Super hero comics have a lot of problems when it comes to believable stories. Chief among them is when the there is a struggle and after all hope seems lost, the hero, or the hero’s weapon or the hero’s team is shown to be MASSIVELY powerful and effective in diffusing the villain or situation. Then the next time the hero or team faces a similar threat, they don’t just start with the final thing that worked the last time.

For instance, when you know one hero, let’s say Iron Man, wasn’t enough to get a job done on his own; that success was only achievable by putting ego aside and coming together with other heroes to form a team, then how do you ever go back to just doing shit on your own? When your contact list includes like 150 of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, how do you not call at least a couple of them whenever some nasty badness goes down? Have these guys not seen The Incredibles? There was a lesson!

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This problem is occasionally solved by depowering a hero in some fashion, or knocking them completely out of commission while some lesser powered being takes over for them for a few months. Remember when Superman got turned into a blue energy guy for awhile? He’s really got it the worst when it comes to “too powerful to tell a believable story.” Before his powers were significantly reduced in The New 52, Superman could pretty much toss a planet around like a softball. He could have handled any problem thrown at him by any villain in under a minute. Until they depowered his body, they tried to keep him bound by his conscience. It made for good internal conflict I suppose, but in a world where Superman exists and the same villains are constantly killings 1000’s of people all the time with no ability to be contained and showing no signs of remorse, or of slowing down their reign of chaos he would just solve every problem the same way. Heat vision to the brain from orbit.

COMMENTERS: What superheroes do you think were too powerful, or at least shown to be crazy powerful, but then never seemed to use that power when it was most necessary? What about super heroes having their powers taken away? I nearly fell out of chair in 5th grade when Magneto ripped out Wolverine’s adamantium. I don’t think I could concentrate or eat lunch after that. Damn.


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  1. Hahaha!
    I am highly amused by your "dog bone" lady body in the last panel. Good form. Great drawing, etc. 😉

  2. I agree with you on the whole going solo on big missions after the team up being kind of odd. I know someone might not always be available(sorry I can't come help you because there is an emergency in my area) but the odds of every hero being tied up at the same time are astronomical unless someone orchestrated all the situations so they wouldn't need to fight the team.

  3. In Marvel New York it does seem like you couldn't go a block without running into a super hero or hero team. Avengers, Fantastic Four, Defenders, Spider-man, Daredevil, and I'm sure half a dozen others I'm forgetting all live in NYC.

    The real question is why do any sane people live where there is a concentration of super heroes? Go to the bank, get robbed by b-list super villain. Work next to the Baxter building? Have your workplace sucked into the Negative Zone. Property insurance has to be crazy in Marvel NYC.

    • I love the idea that you'd look up a NY neighborhood on Zillo or something and it would rate the schools, the cost of living and the frequency of super villain attacks. "Honey, this place looks great, but it says Mysterio hangs out around there. I can't deal with crazy illusions on my commute."

    • One of my favorite things about the short-lived 'Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes' cartoon was the reactions of the other residents of the Baxter Building.

  4. To be fair, in all the movies the emergency is pretty immediate, or the heroes in question were cut off from their resources.

    Thor didn't have the ability to contact the team in time, and when Stark and Cap were in trouble the bad guys made an effort to isolate them (remember, Cap was on a clock)

    That said, IMO they oughta address it going forward

    • Thor is even worst at tech than Cap. But that's what the annoying intern are for.

      Though I would love to see Cap call in Iron Man for help in Winter Soldier when he was running from Uncle Sam [insert Civil War joke here].

  5. First panel, HYRDA should be HYDRA.

    Cap doesn't realize that he needs to take his glove off to work a touchscreen.

    • He needs someone to make him gloves that provide contact through them…they're available at retailers to buy, when you need gloves and can't go without touching your…phone.

  6. The most subtle strain on believability is how hero's power levels fluctuation given their role on a team. Its like there are two version of them, local low level and team player high level.

    JLA Batman just took down Apokolips and Doomsday with ease, but his greatest challenge lies ahead in Gotham when he faces, THE PENGUIN!

    • In MMO terms, their power scales according to the level of the villian they're fighting, or what level zone they're in.

  7. On the team thing…heroes generally have a serious Responsibility Gene. Otherwise they wouldn't dress up in weird costumes and fight supervillains. Thor would be modeling, Cap would be using his reflexes to win Japanese game shows, Iron Man would just be hanging out like…well, like he was before he invented the suit. They're the ones who actively say, "This is MY job…" rather than kicking back waiting for someone else to take care of the problem. That sort of mindset makes for a good hero but not a good team player

  8. The Black Widow joke is kind of crap. Maybe she was more fanservicey in Iron Man 2 but since then she's been developed into a compelling character and hasn't been used for fanservice any more than her male co-stars.

        • You seem to have missed the point of the comic entirely and replaced my intentions with your own. This comic has nothing to do with "fan service."

          Just seriously could you not think of a better comment than "I don't get this comic, so I will attribute unrelated characteristics to it in service of my own ego?"

  9. I always thought that the post Avengers movies all took place at the same time, like how the first wave movies all took place in the one week, so everybody's busy with their own stuff. Except Hawkeye, no idea what that dude's been up to.

    • As Stephen Colbert pointed out, he's probably stuck on a bus trying to get to where the action is.

  10. For comics, I just assume that the heroes' solo titles are all running at the same time, then they come together for the team titles. Note that my theory does not account for guest appearances and they are subject to crossovers and events.

    And oh holy crap, WTF happened to Black Widow?! Did she have a one-on-one fight with an Extremis soldier?

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