Monday, January 31, 2011

Why super speed beats flight

If you ask most people what super power they’d like to have, most will say flight. Yes, some pervs will say telepathy and Tim Dillon will say the ability to generate and manipulate ice, but seriously, on the whole, two out of three times, you get flight. Not entirely sure why, but so it goes.

Not me. Hands down the answer has always been super speed.

It’s been this way for me since I was little. I always thought being able to whiz by everybody on the ground seemed much cooler than hovering thousands of feet above them. Perhaps it’s because I crave human companionship and feel flight would be an extremely lonely super power? Maybe it’s that while being in a plane doesn’t fully simulate the experience, it comes closer than, say, a car being able to replicate true super speed? Whatever the initial reason, I dressed up as The Flash when I was five, not Superman.

But of course, there’s the rub: Superman can do more than fly. Really there are very few comic book characters that can only fly because while it seems initially neat, it’s fairly weak in terms of the offensive capabilities it can provide. Guys like Superman or Martian Manhunter or Captain Marvel (either one) or dozens of others have flight as their “showiest” power, but then always have the requisite super strength plus loads of other stuff piled on to make them more formidable.

The traditional “flight only” characters in comics, Hawkman and Angel of the X-Men, even got beefed up when it became evident just being able to kick a guy from slightly higher up wasn’t much of a tactical advantage, getting centuries of weapons training and razor-tipped killer wings in the bargain.

But getting away from super heroics and back to as close to real life as a post like this can get, super speed has it all over flight in the practicality department, and that’s the reason I’ve stuck with it beyond my formative years. There would certainly be a “wow” factor in terms of being able to go up into the clouds the first few times, and no doubt you could elicit some attention from members of the opposite sex (provided you don’t drop them), but once the novelty is gone, you’re going to get bored among the birds, so to say.

However, if you’re incredibly fast, your life will always be better. You will never be late again. You will be able to travel lengthy distances without being bored or inconvenienced. You can acquire awesome gifts and goodies for your friends, loved ones and the objects of your affection in an eye blink.

And that’s just with running!

Per the lame joke I have made many times to groaning response and once for the world to see when I interviewed the Motor City Machine Guns and asked this very question (Alex Shelley said he’d want Jamie Madrox’s powers for similarly convenience-minded reasons—truly a man after my own heart), I would not want to just run fast, but do everything fast, except that one thing (kids, ask your parents). That’s how guys like The Flash have always rolled, and so it would be for me in this fantasy land I have constructed for myself.

My room is dirty? Nope, now it’s clean. I need to do some reading? I just did it. Afternoon of errands to run? It just became five minutes of errands to run (albeit probably having stolen multiple items rather than paid for them).

Unlike flight, super speed makes everything in everyday life easier!

And yes, were I somehow to find myself as an adventurer fighting the good fight, I could punch the bad guy 100 times in a second and he’d be done as opposed to staying two feet above his reach until somebody actually useful came along to help.

To end on a poetic note, if super speed is indeed like a Geoff Johns-written Flash comic, it would be pretty neat to be able to literally dance between the raindrops, watching them each as they slowly fall to the ground and the people around me go by in slow motion; actually, that second part sounds somewhat terrifying, but the first part sounds pretty.

And so concludes one of my nerdiest posts to date. Which says something.

8 comments:

Kello said...

I totally feel where you're coming from on this one, as it's my answer to the super power question as well.

Time travel, saving on gas, and the ability to make tornadoes with my arms are my reasons for wanting super speed. I know arm tornadoes aren't exactly practical, but they seem cool.

Aaron said...

You have to remember though, to have super speed you also need super stamina too. Otherwise you'll be pooped pretty damn fast!

Ben Morse said...

Hooray for arm tornadoes!

Yes, super stamina is implied with super speed. :-)

James said...

I have said this for YEARS! It's a far better offense AND would make your life so much easier. (I like to think about being the most lucrative courier - and still having downtime.)

2badguys said...

You're totally on my wavelength dude!

Superspeed would be immensely practical and down right awesome at the same time.

Action Ash

tablet pc said...

It's all wrong what you're writing.

LeReal21stCenturySpeedster said...

How is a personal opinion wrong? Answer THAT!!

LeReal21stCenturySpeedster said...

Brilliant post - makes me wonder how the 34th century is getting on without me... and my superspeed