This week proved to be an odd one for me as a fan of super-heroes, with Avengers #1 bringing former New Mutant Sunspot into the Earth’s Mightiest fold, making me wonder what a team with the Hulk, Thor and Hyperion needed with a character who was super-strong but not invulnerable.  Soon after, we watched an episode of Power Rangers: RPM wherein Green Ranger Ziggy’s teleportation powers malfunctioned, leaving him hanging by his leg from a nearby ladder but importantly NOT permanently implanted in a wall.  I was reminded of the Silver Age explanation that Barry Allen had an extra power, an aura that kept him from bursting into flame at high speeds and was completely unrelated to his other super-abilities.  These sorts of secondary abilities have become implicitly part of nearly every heroes power-set, from Aquaman’s sea-born might to Cyclops’ enhanced neck muscles (to keep him from breaking his neck with every power-blast.)  Marvel even went to the trouble circa World War Hulk of pointing out that Bruce Banner’s super-mind had allowed the Hulk to rampage mindlessly without ever causing a casualty (despite the fact that there had been multiple stories dealing with those killed by the Hulk, notably during Geoff Johns’ run on Avengers.)

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds you that Marrow escaped certain death from being stabbed by discovering that her mutant power included a second heart, asking:  What’s the most inexplicable power in all of pop culture?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Are we talking about an inexplicable primary power or a secondary power?

    If a primary power, I never could figure out how Storm’s mutant genes allowed her to control weather. I suppose controlling magnetism or having optic blasts or any of that is just as inexplicable but the scope of power required to manifest various aspects of weather always seemed so implausible.

  2. Robert Hulshof-Schmidt on

    I’d have to go with the fringe powers of the Kryptonian/Daxamite power set. For the sake of courtesy, I’ll ignore the bizarre array of peripheral powers that bloomed in the 50s. Even so, I’ve never understood the ocular powers, especially x-ray vision. How do solar radiation derived physical enhancements result in eyebeams?

  3. I can’t really think of a ‘power’ that doesn’t raise questions.
    How does the Hulk grow in size with out violating the Law of Conservation?
    Where does Wolverine get the energy to heal himself with after an injury? Does he eat constantly ‘behind the scenes’?
    How can Superman’s breath freeze something when his core body temperature is above freezing and he has a finite lung capacity?

    • The freezing thing actually has to do with pressure, if you blow on your hand with your lips puckered the air feels cooler than if you open your mouth and Huhh at it, even though your body temperature hasn’t changed. Now, does it make sense for Superman to be able to use that to freeze people? No, of course not, but the principle is (in a sense) correct.

  4. I know that Aquaman once brain-zapped a White Martian simply by fish-whispering some structure in his brain that evolved from a distant marine ancestor. If that’s the case, he should be one of the most powerful telepaths around…

  5. That would be the writer’s special ability to ignore fifty years of continuity in order to tell the story they want to tell, giving us such abortions as Wonder Woman’s Mod depowering during the 70s (which I always suspected was the result of a typo – the editor had probably said something about wanting to deflower Wonder Woman and the writer misunderstood), the Spiderman Clone Saga, Electric Superman, and just about anything written by Grant Morrison. Of course, some portions of continuity – such as Bat Mite and Ace the Bat Hound – deserve to be forgotten forever.

    Seriously, though, the worst offenses have been when comic book heroes have been translated to the screen – Bruce Banner inexplicably becomes David Banner – Superman can remove memories by magically kissing, and turning back time by spinning a planet in reverse, something that makes as much sense as thinking you can travel back in time by setting your watch backwards. The one thing I admired most about Smallville was how they got nearly everything right, even though they had to tap dance around calling Kal-El either Superboy or Superman.

    • The kiss is one of the things related to superman thats bothered me the most. I’ll accept breaking through time and freezing things by blowing hard, but amnesia lips just won’t click

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.