Five Questions That Could Destroy Five Superhero Franchises

Beyond the obvious queries like “how could someone gain [superpower X] just from [scientific mishap Y]?” and “how do the police prosecute people merely tied up at the scene?”, there are some staggering foundational questions I have never heard addressed by anyone of import associated with any of the following defenders of justice.

This week…

Five Questions That Could Destroy Five Superhero Franchises

Most graphic novels do not concern themselves with realism, in the specifics of their universe. This is understandable, of course, because they are dealing in fiction (usually science-fiction, at that).

However, there are pretty big questions that deserve to be pondered. Beyond the obvious queries like “how could someone gain [superpower X] just from [scientific mishap Y]?” and “how do the police prosecute people merely tied up at the scene?”, there are some staggering foundational questions I have never heard addressed by anyone of import associated with any of the following defenders of justice.

I intend to ask those questions.

1. How has nobody figured out Peter Parker is Spider-man, via DNA?

Couldn’t the police – or any daft criminal foe (of which Spidey had many) – just study the what must be millions of web strands left throughout the city in the wake of Spidey’s swinging, and make a direct DNA connection? He leaves clues at every single crime scene (not to mention the whole way to and from said crime scene)!

It’s no surprise Spider-man has to continue to fight crime — the New York police are so inept, they can’t even capture a vigilante whose picture is plastered on every newspaper and whose identity is basically up for grabs on every tall building.

2. How does Clark Kent cut his hair and shave?

When placed in the presence of Earth’s yellow sun, the cells of a Kryptonian person (which would include the hair follicles) cannot be penetrated by any Earthly element. Even if you figure that Clark was strong enough to cut his own hair (in terms of cellular density), there are no scissors or razors of any kind that would qualify as strong enough to get the job done.

So now you’re saying “well, hey, maybe Kryptonians don’t grow hair on their head past a certain point and they don’t grow facial hair at all?” Wrong. Did you learn nothing from SUPERMAN II? General Zod and Non had facial hair. Ursa had longer hair. Jor-El has shorter hair that turned white as he aged. There are growth patterns just like Earthly humans. Superman lies!

3. How has nobody ever suggested therapy for Bruce Wayne?

Obviously therapy would not clean up the city and/or lock up The Joker but some sort of psychological treatment (either merely talking or medication of some kind) would probably keep Bruce Wayne out of direct danger, longer. Further, it would clear his mind beyond the death of his parents and he would probably recognize that his considerable wealth would probably be better directed towards helping to clean up the Gotham Police Department and, subsequently, the city.

This is one of the questions to which I may have an idea about an answer. It seems to me that nobody (except maybe Alfred) has the stature or guts to tell Batman to go see a shrink and take lithium even though he totally should have at around age 11.

4. How does Wolverine get through airport security?

There’s a few things about Wolverine that would hinder his ability to travel. Firstly, he’s like 200 years old. How does he procure a birth certificate or passport or anything? If he somehow had acquired a legitimate item documenting his birth and everything… nobody anywhere would believe that the person in front of them was 200 years old (it’s especially absurd if the guy looks like Logan as portrayed in the comics/films) and they’d have him arrested or committed. Secondly, his entire skeleton is covered with a metal alloy and, well, copious amounts of metal tend to set off metal detectors – just a little bit. Finally, not only is his entire skeleton covered with metal and would, thus, set off every metal detector in a half-mile radius, but that metal is indestructible adamantium, which means it is denser than any element that currently exists in our world (so, denser than lead). As a result, Wolverine must weigh a thousand pounds. Even if he got past security (and I have to believe the TSA has some clause about prohibiting “unkillable muscle-bound Canadians with no memory and no past, armed with unstoppable arm-knives”), they would never let someone who weighs half of a metric ton onto a commercial airliner (or train or bus, for that matter). Now I understand why he’s always alone. He has to be. Poor Weapon X.

5. How is it that the Hulk and the Fantastic Four both avoided cancer for all this time?

(Note: I’m not including Spider-man in this one because he was merely bitten by a radioactive spider, not enveloped by cubic tons of that radioactive spider’s ionized atmosphere.)

I know it’s not very tasteful to talk jokingly about a horrible terminal disease but seriously: these five were exposed to unbelievable amounts of radiation at the cellular level over forty years ago (admittedly, that’s comic book years, which aren’t exactly empirical science). None of the Fantastic Four ever pursued any sort of extensive treatment for this exposure and seemingly that was the ticket to remaining healthy. Conversely, Bruce Banner actually repeatedly exposed himself to more radiation and medical testing to try and undo the initial exposure so… maybe that’s the ticket?

No matter what, after a dozen years or so of fighting the forces of evil by flaunting their irradiated cells, all five of them would be in serious trouble.

Justin Brown is an artist and writer living in Virginia. He channels most of his enthusiasm into making things for his online art shop, Artness! by Justin Brown. You can keep up to date with him, his worldly adventures, and his dogs by following him on Instagram and on Facebook