If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it sixty-three times: There are a LOT of super-types out there with a lot of different abilities.  Superman is invulnerable, Rogue is a power-siphon, Joe Public has…  Actually, I’m not sure anybody knows what Joe Public’s powers actually were.  In any case, there are many folks with superhuman strength, hundreds with a healing factor, THOUSANDS who can fly, but which of those powers is actually the most useful?  Would you rather have a perfect 3-D radar sense or the ability to leap hundreds of miles in a rage?  Would it be better to dive through the canyons of the city using your amazing spider-agility or have Batman’s steely resolve and bottomless spending accounts?  Does anybody really WANT to be able to consume matter in all it’s forms?  The answers are likely very personal and subjective, which makes it perfect fodder for today’s exploratory query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) would like to keep it to existing powers, such as Steve Martin’s ability to turn dog feces into gold, rather than make up our own, asking: What would be most useful superpower of all and WHY?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

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.

Previous post

Archaia announces new Sci-Fi series "HaloGen"

Next post

No Starch Press teams with Humble Bundle to present the Humble Brainiac Book Bundle

8 Comments

  1. Alisha
    February 5, 2015 at 12:18 pm — Reply

    I may be biased as a cancer survivor as well as being accident prone, but I’d say some sort of healing power, able to heal others as well as yourself. You wouldn’t be able to do anything like revive the dead (unless it is something that could be reversed like immediately after drowning or having a heart attack), but you could ease quite a bit of physical suffering, give terminally ill children a chance at a normal life span and so on.

  2. TheWolverine
    February 5, 2015 at 2:08 pm — Reply

    For me, the most useful has always been Green Lanterns power ring. I know it’s not a “Super power” per say (more technological) but, I have always regarded imagination as a very valuable power to have. Plus Green Lantern has been one my( if not the most) favorite superheroes in comics for a very long time. Whatever he needs to have to do the job he can just think of it and make it real.

    • Alisha
      February 5, 2015 at 2:47 pm — Reply

      I almost went with that, but I wasn’t sure if it counted since it isn’t quite a super power and it also isn’t really a single power. But if I were to ever be granted one single wish, it is going to be for a real working version of just about any Lantern ring and power battery (not Black, but almost any other color of the emotional spectrum will do, maybe even white since I have technically been dead before during treatment for Leukemia). The only reason I don’t immediately say green is I’m not sure if my willpower is as strong as, say, my love or my hope.

  3. Tazsul
    February 5, 2015 at 2:28 pm — Reply

    Usefulness is an interesting concept. There is both usefulness on a personal level and on a societal level. Also usefulness in a vacuum vs usefulness in a setting populated with other supers. After all Power siphons are much less useful without other supers.
    This is hard seeing as you only get one power. Many seem to necessitate secondary powers, or you end up like Pyro. Poor poor fire manipulation without generation or resistance.

    Selfless Answer: As for usefulness to all you have to go with some sort of conjuration. Making something from nothing, an act of creation rather then destruction can best help. So something like Batmite’s reality altering power. Naturally such power corrupts, so maybe scale it back to Green Lantern? The Lanterns’ have a truly impressive amount of versatility to their power.
    Definitely some form of Conjuration.

  4. Oldcomicfan
    February 5, 2015 at 7:20 pm — Reply

    I almost went with Hancock’s ….. well…. never mind, I don’t want to have to patch the roof that often… so setting that aside, I think I’d want Mr. Spock’s Vulcan Neck Pinch and mind reading abilities. When I was a kid, I wanted Plastic Man’s powers.

  5. Ron
    February 5, 2015 at 10:51 pm — Reply

    Triplicate Girl’s power. You can split into three persons to have help when you’re moving say and, when you’re done, you merge together to avoid having to split the six pack of beer,

  6. Doctor Dinosaur
    February 6, 2015 at 3:52 am — Reply

    Well other than omnipotence and “super intelligence” (Which is no different at peak capacity).
    Mind control of course! Instant world peace!
    Of course being able to puke a working surplus fusion reactor might serve that purpose as well, albeit in a much more comedic and roundabout manner.

  7. drago
    February 6, 2015 at 8:18 am — Reply

    Needs a context in my opinion. Useful how?

    If you want to a live a long and healthy life than Wolverine healing is most useful.

    Super intelligence is also a good all around power.

    Dr. Manhattan’s teleport and no need to breathe, wear clothes, etc. is useful to explore the universe.

You know you have something to say, say it in the comment section