Full disclosure: I am in an ongoing torrid love/hate relationship with the comic book ‘Invincible’, and it’s generally bull-headed protagonist Mark Grayson, the titular Invincible. His earliest adventures were of the ‘young man coming of age’ variety, but as the character has grown up, he has been in a number of disruptive behavior cycles. He’ll distrust an authority figure, then turnabout and trust them, then get burned by them, then start the cycle anew. Nearly every scene involving his fiancee, Atom Eve, is a fight that he could easily avoid with the most basic of interpersonal communication, and he’s shown a distressing tendency to believe obviously villainous jerkfaces long after he should have gotten a clue, which leads us to today’s WTF query…
The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) spends a lot of time shouting at comics panels featuring Tony Stark/Iron Man, and the occasional episode featuring Malcolm Reynolds, too, asking: Which fictional character’s adventures do you enjoy, even if you don’t understand the character’s stupid decisions?
Quite a lot of sci-fi series in general fit this bill, particularly those like the various Star Trek series and Doctor Who, mostly because there is a lot of inconsistency between episodes where one episode they may have the technology or capabilities to do something, but then a few episodes later they can’t do something similar or can’t remember they already have a solution and you wonder why they don’t just do the same thing they did in the previous instance. Even without the technology, there are also episodes where they simply have a problem they need to solve that is also similar to a previous incident, yet they seem to act like this sort of thing has never happened to them before.
As much as I love these series, I often wonder just how some of these characters have made it as far as they have if they can’t seem to recall that they already solved almost the same problem several times before.
To be honest, most superheroes are terrible at making smart decisions. If they were any better, we would miss lots of things that happen to them.
I honestly cannot think of a single superhero that hasn’t made a bad decision, and the list of those that have made few bad decisions is still pretty small. Batman, Green Lantern, Captain America, Ben 10, Power Rangers, the characters from “Heroes” and so on and so forth. And of course for some, like Spider-Man, it is part of the appeal (at least to me it is) because it is the kind of bad decision you can believe that you may have made in the same situation.
If superheroes didn’t make bad decisions, there wouldn’t be a story. It reminds me of the Gieco commercial about the teenagers running in to the shed full of sharp objects.