icon_uk: (TheBlackCat Angry Terry)
[personal profile] icon_uk posting in [community profile] scans_daily
For those who though that blake_reitz's post about Speeding Bullet was a little downbeat, here's something that may well have you weeping into your beverage of choice. (1 page from each of two issues and under 7 pages from one 25 page story)

Innovation's "Hero Alliance" is a long forgotten comic title from the late 80's and early 90's. It's not bad of it's sort, an independent take on a JLA/Titans, generic superhero team, but one trying to adapt to a new age. The art was variable, but had some nice turns by a young Ron Lim.

In the past it's two stalwart members were the superhumanly powerful Victor, and the energy wielding Golden Guardsman...But as with many teams which stand the test of time, there was something of a turnover....

Sadly for the teams royalty cheques, the "let's cash in on it" era didn't last long as shortly after Victor quit, the entire remaining team was wiped out in a massive explosion staged by a long-standing villain. (A shame as there's a part of me would like to have watched Mel Gibson, Sondra Locke and Sting prancing around in Spandex)

The series also featured a significant quantity of 80's fashions, VERY 80's fashions, MASSIVE hair, and VERY scantily clad heroines, I kid you not... But that's not what we're here for at the moment (Sorry about that straight guys and lesbians). Suffice it to say that we eventually discovered that one of them wore a tight costume and push up bra because, thanks to some unfortunate crosswiring, her powers required her to be... ummm...oh dear, how does one phrase this.... atleast slightly aroused... which may be one of the more creative reasons for showing your nipples through your costume I've come across)

This is from issue 2 of the series, where Victor, along with a couple of other heroes, are considering whether to form a new Hero Alliance. But it's not them we're interested in...

It's this poor fellow...

Whoever he is, he has a rather elaborate form of speech.... And his description of the falling rubble is poetic, but with a strange undertone that'll be explained in a moment. He seems ordinary enough though...

Yes, this is a man with issues, that much is clear... that being said, I like his hat.

Eventually, he does track down Victor standing still for long enough to be approached

The guy doesn't know it, but Tawny is an empathic metamorph, she subconsciously alters her appearance slightly to become as close to a perfectly desirable woman to everyone around her. She can't help but be the object of everyone's admiration (to say the least), but that's really not the point here.

Now consider this poor guys powers for a moment. He perceives the world at superspeed, but his body is entirely human normal so he can't take advantage of anything. He can presumably read at superspeed, but can only turn the pages of a book as fast as you or I. He can only watch a film on fast forward if he want's to follow it the way you or I do. He could formulate words at superspeed, but type no faster than a normal human being.

The sheer FRUSTRATION of a power like that is mind boggling.

He'd also need to learn to talk at an incredibly slow speed (relatively) to make himself understood to normal people, and be exceptionally patient in listening to asnwers.

It makes Quicksilver seem like a whiny little brat about having to deal with a slow world, at least he HAS superspeed he can turn on or off.

Later on, the guy is pondering his future.

And we realise his whole monologue from page 1 has been running through his mind as he watches, in slow motion, the bullet that he knows is going to kill him travel the meaninglessly small distance between the shooter and him...

When I read this the first time, it not only depressed me, Doug Ramsey fan that I am, but Victor's dismissive attitude pissed me off no end.

Turns out I wasn't the only one, as in issue 3 we get this scene...

(Gil and Jackie are two retired heroes who have offered to help running a new Hero Alliance) It's nice that a hero recognised his dickishness and actually felt shitty about it

And that my friends is, IMHO, the definition of a frustrating superpower.

Date: 2009-12-08 01:15 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] taggerung301
what an interesting concept - and very well executed too
kudos to the author

Date: 2009-12-08 01:45 am (UTC)
blake_reitz: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blake_reitz
Damn, that is sad! Much more so than Quicksilver, even more so than Speeding Bullet (who could at least help others). That said, it seems like there would be uses for this power, especially for the practical superteam. It could make for a great Oracle-type team coordinator, or if he could learn some combat from a Batman-type it might function as a Midnighter-lite ability.

Or he could be an umpire.

That's the kind of thought that comes from playing too many low-point GURPS Supers campaigns though...

Date: 2009-12-08 06:16 am (UTC)
freezer: (Bummer)
From: [personal profile] freezer
And it seems like he had that same kind of thought: Super-powers = Super-hero.

Which is why I enjoy ideas like PS238s Rainmaker program so much. Just because your powers aren't combat-related doesn't mean they're not valuable.

Date: 2009-12-09 08:25 am (UTC)
divi_d: Very old drawing of my old feline OC Rashida.  (Still my avatar of choice, though :-p.) (Default)
From: [personal profile] divi_d
Yeah, I was actually just thinking how a "Watch-Tower" type role would be perfect for that kind of ability.

And yeah, now that you mention it, it would also combo fairly well with martial arts (*remembers the fun of playing Star Control II on a computer that, due to a glitch, was playing everything in ultra-slow motion awhile back. Things really DO get A LOT easier when everything is moving slower, even if that does include yourself).

Which makes his death REALLY F-ING depressing. SOOO much wasted potential =(.

Date: 2009-12-08 01:52 am (UTC)
bmaryott: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bmaryott
If I remember, Victor rebuilds the Guardsmen after they're (mostly) all killed. It turns out to be a lowly "Pastepot Pete" type of villain who just manages to sneak a bomb into their headquarters.

I liked the stories - I was sad when it all disappeared.

There was some other universe, I *think* from the same publisher. In an organized "hit" , every active hero was killed in the 70s by the mob. There are a handful remaining who are retired, every once in a while a new one tries to come forward and gets killed. So one of them decides that they'll all use the same costumes, trading them off so the bad guys won't know what to defend against, or how to attack. (This is MANY years before Millar's "Wanted".)

Date: 2009-12-08 02:45 am (UTC)
lieut_kettch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lieut_kettch
An umpire or referee in professional sports? That practically guarantees he's gonna get shot one day.

Date: 2009-12-08 04:35 am (UTC)
tsunamiwombat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tsunamiwombat
With some badass physical training, he could be a Batman+ level hero. His ability gives him a huge leg up in congitive thought, he can work out complex problems as they happen. The problem is he was always a normal guy.

But, I reckon that if you left him alone with a physics book, he could memorize it in the amount of time it takes a person to read it, simply because he can reread each page 3 times.

Date: 2009-12-08 04:43 am (UTC)
hatman: HatMan, my alter ego and face on the 'net (Default)
From: [personal profile] hatman
Now that is a cool concept. And a very neat twist.

And hey... scantily clad woman who has to be turned on for her power to be turned on? And people say scans_daily doesn't sell comics. :p

Date: 2009-12-08 09:25 pm (UTC)
jarodrussell: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jarodrussell
"He could have been an umpire?"

*beats head on keyboard*

How about a jet pilot? How about researcher? How about an editor? Strategist? Stock analyst? Programmer?

Date: 2009-12-09 12:48 am (UTC)
jarodrussell: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jarodrussell
His problem is his reaction times aren't special.

Not loafing around his apartment, no, but if he trained for it, his perception would give him a distinct advantage over pilots. The same goes for race car driver. You can train to improve your reaction.

Research is more to do with intellect than reaction time, and he shows no signs of being incredibly smart and so on..

But he thinks a thousand times faster than normal humans. Computers aren't very bright, but their speed makes them useful. Even if he's not a genius, he train himself to work equations, recall facts, etc. at blazing speeds. You could put him in front of a bank of monitors and have him run security at some place by himself. (If he can refocus on the bullet, the his eyes ability to refocus is part of the package.)

The problem with this story is it's not written from the point of view of someone who thinks that fast; it's written by someone who thought up the idea one day, listed the potential negatives, and went from there. If this guy had been living with such a hyper-cognitive disorder for any amount of time (which by the nature of his powers, would be subjectively longer than we think), he would have adapted. He would learn to zone out when he walked so not to get bored; he would have tested his reflexes to know how long it takes him to move versus think he should move; he would have volumes and volumes of information burned into his memory by virtue of reading a page twenty times before his hand could turn the page.

The fact he hasn't done any of this is as infuriating as that stupid Speeding Bullet story and conveys the same message: isn't cool how miserable super-powers are? I categorically disagree that any person, even of average intelligence, would be this dumb if they could think a thousand times faster than mere humans, even a hundred times.


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