Let's face it, the ability to save people is big for super-heroes, but at the end of the day we all like blowing crap up. Which brings us to this week's Poll Position question:
As always, I can't help my intensely practical side from coming up any time we talk about translating super-powers in to the real world. You might think practicality is silly when you're talking about shooting lasers out of your eyeballs, but psychological demons are not so easily expunged. So which of these purely destructive abilities might actually be useful as a way of getting along here in the modern world where things like paychecks and health insurance are concerns?
- Superman's Heat vision: The first thing that pops into my head with this one is "welder". The risk is that as soon as the military realizes you can shoot laser beams out of your eyeballs, you're going to get drafted. Which wouldn't be so bad, except that in order to shoot down enemy missiles or planes or whatnot, you have to be within some theoretical area of effect of the other guy's weapon. Not fun. Although for that matter, I'm not sure welding is a non-stop party, either.
- Wolverine's claws: Without a ton of strength, fighting prowess, and mutant healing factor to back it up, the claws aren't going to do you a lot of good in any sort of regular combat. Which is a drag. Plus getting through security at the airport would be murder. However, adamantium can cut through anything, so you'd think somewhere in the world you'd be able to make a good living as That Guy Who Can Cut Stuff. If all else fails, you could of course sell your services as a pitchman for some sort of late-night can opener device.
- Black Canary's sonic scream: The encouraging thing about this choice is that the Black Canary herself is just a regular, highly-skilled martial artist, who uses the scream as backup, basically. So if you're wanting to be a super-hero type in reality, she's a pretty good model. I can't, however, think of any non-combat related activity this ability would be good for.
- Human Torch's fireballs: Fireballs are good. I wonder if you could use their explosive power to suck all the oxygen out of an area, making you in effect the ultimate oil well blaze capper.
- Lightning Lad's bolts: Spot-welding again, but at least with this power you could charge up your own batteries to power your big-screen TV. Or the local town.
- Gambit's kinetic charges: Like the Black Canary, this would be a pretty reasonable real-world model for a super-hero. You've basically got a gun that never runs out of ammunition, and which fires explosive bullets. That'd be a real handy backup power to have if you were in law enforcement. It seems like you could set up a pretty nifty Vegas show, too, if you were so inclined. You might even get to meet Celine Dion!!
Since I'm not a super destructive guy in general, and since I do not believe I would enjoy the feeling of multiple bullets penetrating my soft, doughy flesh (as would undoubtedly happen if I tried to parlay my vast destructive powers to a life of crime, crime-fighting, or military service), I'd probably go with the Torch's fireballs. Even if the oil-well-snuffing thing didn't work out, it seems like you'd be valuable making breaks for wildfires and such. Sometimes you have to destroy the forest to save the forest.
What about you? Any obvious powers I missed, or takes I got wrong?