Wait, that’s not a super-villain!

Here’s an interesting scenario: how an ‘evil’ super-genius could take over the world. Basically, it involves building a new nation-state which openly and thoroughly embraces science and technology, not just electronics, but also biotechnology. It’s a little bit pat — apparently, there are no trade-offs and compromises in building a super-scientific nation, and none of the technologies ever create any new problems of their own — but what struck me most is that there’s nothing villainous in the story at all. It pisses off conservative nations (like the US), and makes everyone panic over the imminent obsolescence of their technologies, but no, the ‘super-villain’ isn’t trying to harm anyone, but just trying to advance humanity.

Also, there’s a Mary Sue element to it all. The guy just moves to a poverty-stricken African nation, and purely by the power of his amazing intelligence, instantly raise a science city…infrastructure isn’t an issue, the collaborative nature of science doesn’t come into play, he just takes over this large population to do the manual labor for his genius.

Sorry, the world doesn’t work that way. It is an interesting twist on the comic book super villain, but it’s been done before — isn’t this just Dr Doom?

Comments

  1. says

    Back in the day, when I was reading these things, Dr Doom always seemed misunderstood, and was the one superhero who actually materially improved his nation. I don’t know why he was so obsessed with the Fantastic Four, he had more important work to do.

  2. Amphiox says

    Isn’t this more or less the plot of Bioshock, except at a different location?

    We all know how THAT one turned out….

  3. busterggi says

    Actually Doc Doom DID take over the world in ‘The Emperor Doom’ but he found it wasn’t worth the trouble and gave it back.

  4. Anthony K says

    The guy just moves to a poverty-stricken African nation, and purely by the power of his amazing intelligence, instantly raise a science city…infrastructure isn’t an issue, the collaborative nature of science doesn’t come into play, he just takes over this large population to do the manual labor for his genius.

    I believe the trope here is “Mighty Whitey“, not Mary Sue, and there’s nothing really novel or interesting about this ‘twist’ at all.

  5. Ing:Intellectual Terrorist "Starting Tonight, People will Whine" says

    he just takes over this large population to do the manual labor for his genius.

    Heart of Darkness?

  6. Anthony K says

    He decides only a radical solution is viable: the construction of a new city, which he will fund as a gift. Pitching to several African nations, he offers to employ hundreds of thousands of local civilians which he will train, together with foreign specialists to produce a city capable of housing and employing millions.

    As part of the deal, Tony retains 20% of the most central land, with the remaining majority to be a gift to the nation and the people who helped build it. In exchange, Tony seeks substantial political concessions, including legalisation of virtually every scientific practice and substantial tax breaks.

    Despite great reservation, controversy, and accusations of modern-day imperialism, the plan proceeds. Within a decade – bolstered by modern construction methods – a new metropolis rises.

    What, Bwana? You want to build great huts that blot out the sun? What manner of beast produces this feces known as kon-kreet, and what grass is geerdur cut from?

  7. says

    I wish I could read the article. Alas, my company’s firewall blocks both Facebook and Twitter, and I must have one or the other to “log in” to a site I’ve never been to before.

  8. consciousness razor says

    Also, there’s a Mary Sue element to it all. The guy just moves to a poverty-stricken African nation, and purely by the power of his amazing intelligence, instantly raise a science city…infrastructure isn’t an issue, the collaborative nature of science doesn’t come into play, he just takes over this large population to do the manual labor for his genius.

    It seems like it would be easier to program a bunch of super-intelligent robots to do your bidding, but start with a society that already has the infrastructure and resources to do all of that so you* only have to build up and gain control of the relevant parts. The robots could all collaborate with each other without needing food, a paycheck, vacation time, etc., with no market forces offering them better job opportunities, although there would at least occasionally be some time off for maintenance/reprogramming. Then, when by some kind of magic the singularity happens, I guess that’s when things get really super-duper evil. But even without the magic, there could probably be more than enough evil.
    *By “you” I mean PZ, obviously, not a generic “you” for just any evil super-genius.

  9. karpad says

    Dr Doom always seemed misunderstood, and was the one superhero who actually materially improved his nation. I don’t know why he was so obsessed with the Fantastic Four, he had more important work to do.

    Well, no, the man is objectively opposed to free will for anyone other than him. Turns out he’s right, And it’s canon that Doctor Doom taking over the world creates a Utopia (not a dystopia, not a DisneyWorld Hellscape. An honest-to-glob Utopia). Latveria, his home nation, is generally a pretty alright place, as long as ambition is subsumed to his will. Very much a Cult Of Personality going on.
    And he isn’t just a scientist, he also does magic, but not being a strictly scientific atheist is probably more forgivable when you have personally met and shot lasers at Norse gods.

    As for his obsession, that’s less the Fantastic Four in general and more Reed Richards. Who was his college roommate, and he believes sabotaged a project of Doom’s (out of jealousy, because Doom is so much smarter, goes his theory). This caused a lab explosion that scarred Victor’s face (although most interpretations are that the explosion was a superficial scar, exacerbated when he didn’t wait long enough for the forged steel mask to cool to cover his “disfigurement” thus giving him serious wounds)

    There’s a lot of issues going on there. The fact that the experiment itself was a science/magic telephone to call the afterlife so he could speak to his dead mother wraps a whole bunch of Oedipal Inferiority quasi-sibling rivalry mental stuff into this. So he doesn’t like Reed Richards. And by extension, Reed Richards family.

    This did not, however, stop him from saving Richard’s infant daughter’s life from some SCIENCE related problem. He extracted a promise that he be allowed to name the child in return, and so he named Reed Richard’s daughter after his late mother, Valeria.

    See, there is a long, weird history here. Cosmic Radiation creates Greek Elemental demi-gods, and then SCIENCE! is all around them, in a weird expression of family.

    If you can’t tell, they’re one of my very favorite superhero teams.

  10. Rob Grigjanis says

    ChristineRose @12: “If all else fails, the Canadians are there for us.”

    Whoah. 10 million Americans, from any state (?) would probably guarantee the Conservative Party (which would be called “The Democratic Party” in your country) a permanent majority. More socialists, please.

  11. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    PZ:
    Doom is a power mad egotist driven primarily by a desire to attain power, but under the disguise of trying to improve the world. He doesn’t care for other humans, seeing them as means to an end. He has no qualms about violating people on the most fundamental levels. He believes in some form of twisted honor and is incredibly sexist.
    The other driving force in his life is his hatred of Reed Richards. That stems from the accident that scarred his face. Reed caught a miscalculation that Doom missed in an experiment, but Victor’s ego wouldn’t let him admit he was wrong. Boom. Scarred face, which he blames on Reed. A world under Doom’s rule would be a dictatorship.

  12. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    Karpad:
    We should chat :)
    Though Avengers is gooder than FF.

  13. says

    I am reminded of the justifiably-panned “Dominion of the Draka” alternate history series – although there the implausibly-successful regime was _actually_ evil.

    Re. PZ @1:

    As TVTropes will tell you, everyone knows Reed Richards Is Useless.

    The canonical Tony Stark is also useless. I quote from http://clementsgame.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/superheroes-round-1-the-avengers/ :

    We could have powered the world with the tesseract, but it’s too dangerous. Fine. Instead, let’s build lots of those arc reactors, like the one Tony’s using to power his office. That’ll work great, right? Loads of long-lasting clean energy? Why are we not doing this already?

  14. M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati says

    he just takes over this large population to do the manual labor for his genius.

    That’s where the “villain” part comes in. It’s like the dozens of near-identical “Libertarian paradise” fantasy scenarios: create a “new” nation/state/city to be a utopia for all the geniuses, while the people who were already there (whose screwed-up situation owes quite a bit to the actions of the nations that the “geniuses” in questions belong to) are just “labor” rather than citizens or even worth considering fully human. It’s a “paradise” for the people who aren’t part of the deliberately-created underclass.

  15. Anthony K says

    It’s like the dozens of near-identical “Libertarian paradise” fantasy scenarios: create a “new” nation/state/city to be a utopia for all the geniuses, while the people who were already there (whose screwed-up situation owes quite a bit to the actions of the nations that the “geniuses” in questions belong to) are just “labor” rather than citizens or even worth considering fully human. It’s a “paradise” for the people who aren’t part of the deliberately-created underclass.

    What fantasy? There’s no part of this story that’s hypothetical, except for the changing of, say, Henry Ford’s name to Tony Stark.

  16. says

    Well yes, but if superhero movies worked by logic, Batman could probably fight more crime through lobbying than by personally punching criminals dressed as a flying mammal…

    It however makes for a less compelling story.

  17. says

    Tony Stark was very obviously based on Howard Hughes, down to the pencil moustache Hughes had in later years. In the ’70s Tony’s later father Howard became the Hughes analog.

  18. says

    @Avicenna:

    Or Wayne could finance an extensive and effective urban renewal project to make crime less economically attractive in the long run, while giving law enforcement favorable discounts on some of his wonderful toys in the meantime. Nolan’s Batman movies have a little of this – Wayne’s parents subsidized the L, Wayne himself invests heavily in a clean-energy project. The problem is that both of those were included simply as devices to set up climatic action scenes later on.

    Isaac Asimov described three kinds of science fiction, which can be summarized as:
    1. Device. Inventor makes automobile.
    2. Adventure. Hero uses automobile to stop runaway train.
    3. Social. Everyone has automobiles, and the challenge is how to prevent traffic jams.

    Comic-book superheroes are almost all adventure. I personally find that less compelling than a more balanced narrative. The best stories include elements of all of these (for the broadest possible definition of each). It is harder to craft such a story, because it requires confronting any and all unfortunate implications – as PZ and everyone else has noted here.

  19. says

    Wouldn’t building an industrial city cost something in the trillions of dollars? No matter how many pseudo slaves you get in a “savage” land they wouldn’t have the infrastructure or skills to build the city. So add a few more trillion plus a generation just to build up that. The world is a bigger place than when the ole tycoons of the past bought and sold banana republics.

    @25 Batman is a villain, realistically. Neo-con who spends his money on John Wayne like revenge fantasies with too much money to legally touch, prefers an overcrowded penal system to actual urban renewal etc etc. Won’t break his arbitrary moral code no matter how much damage not stopping the Joker will cause…

  20. karpad says

    Actually reading his plan confronts all sorts of problems.

    For example, Alzheimers and cancer cures? military intervention against the Nation-state of Asshole fail, because “missiles are rerouted back against drones, helpless against technical superiority?”

    Simply saying “we won’t let ourselves be restrained by your morality in building our technocracy” doesn’t magically mean “your science will advance exactly as you want, with no complications.”

    I would venture to say that curing cancer alone would take far more monetary resources than a city-state like this could ever generate. No matter how much racist “Uplift” magic you sprinkle on it. Places like New York or San Francisco are not homes of innovation and economic powerhouses because there is a city of a few million people there. It’s because they are global hubs, and people and resources from around the world collect there to work together.

    And then the results are successful because well, duh Technically advanced means superior. Because it isn’t like technically advanced forces ever get their shit kicked by a numerically superior, but technologically weaker, foe.

    And “scientific research” is just a single number that ticks higher when you level up, which is why the Manhattan Project also invented space flight, cured polio, and produced GMO tomatoes that are tastier, while still being easier to ship.

    so basically his “foolproof plan” involves magical thinking and a complete disregard of logistics. But other than literally every component of his plan, his plan is perfect.

    Honestly, when I was a wee megalomaniacal teen, toying with this same train of thought, you know what I DIDN’T do? build my paradise on the backs of borderline slave labor. My plan was to build a massive reef of artificial islands a few hundred miles off the coast of Peru, which would be a latticework for kelp farming and raising domesticated manatees as a protein crop. the point of this giant offshore rig was to create a nutrition surplus which could be leveraged in foreign aid, in the goals of international peace and cooperation. The location also happens to be an oceanic desert, with very stable weather patterns. The various advances in megastructural engineering prototyped in building the food-reef would later be turned to building an orbital elevator (which is why that weather-stability is important), bringing mankind ever closer to space.

    Granted, none of that would work for a whole host of reasons. But as juvenile power fantasy fix the world plots go, it has the advantage over OP’s intent that it doesn’t involve picking a fight with the rest of the world and expecting to win because of dick swinging ubermensch bullshit.

  21. says

    @logicpriest:

    That characterization varies depending on the writer. But if not an outright villain, Batman is at the very least far into vicious antihero territory.

    As I said, superhero stories are often rife with unfortunate implications. Many deaths result from Wayne’s arbitrary and inconsistent ‘do not kill’ rule (cops killed when the Batmobile crushed their cars, just to start); Richards and Stark don’t provide their inventions to the masses even when that would improve everyone’s lives and make them even more outrageous quantities of money; and the story here is loaded with racism and non-democratic government.

    The problem is that working through the premises of a superhero story often leads to something very different than what people would first expect. e.g. http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2305 (although even that misses a few tricks).

  22. Shplane, Spess Alium says

    I like Doom almost entirely because he is barely anything like your average superhero comic character, largely in that he is an actual character instead of a collection of powers attached to a particular color scheme.

    Batman would be a lot better if they quit throwing him in crossovers and turning him into an unstoppable force of nature so that he can keep pace with Superman.

    The story in the OP would be a lot better if, maybe, it weren’t hilariously racist.

  23. Amphiox says

    I believe the trope here is “Mighty Whitey“, not Mary Sue, and there’s nothing really novel or interesting about this ‘twist’ at all.

    If you want to play the supervillain thing straight, then including the “Mighty Whitey” trope deliberately might be effective (You’re changing a discredited hero trope into a villain trope).

    Or you could avert it with an epilogue in which the triumphant hero is overthrown by his native African Dragon, whose behind-the-scenes political among the local African factions had been instrumental to the success of the whole project, and whose growing resentment precisely at the “mightey whitey” vibes has gone completely and obliviously unnoticed by the hero.

    Or you could simply avoid it by making your hero a native African himself, who builds his super-city in his native country.

  24. Amphiox says

    This storyline is also not dissimilar to how the Machines took over the world in the backstory of The Matrix (although that story can be alternately interpreted as a piece of machine propaganda).

  25. karpad says

    Or you could simply avoid it by making your hero a native African himself, who builds his super-city in his native country.

    Allow me to introduce you to my good friend King T’Chaka, the first Black Panther, father of the more commonly known character.
    This is almost literally what he did. Vibranium, a mineral with various super-science properties, was discovered in a large deposit in his land. So he kept it secret, learned everything that could be done with it, and built an extremely isolationist high tech utopia in the interior of the continent. It’s simultaneously got some positive Pan-Africanism things going on, while at the same time being kind of hilariously racist (maintaining a tribal monarchy with all this tech advancement, the municipal forces using hover-and-laser spears and shields)

    His son, T’Challa has at times been the poster boy for this sort of isolated idealism. And other times kind of been a cartoonish monster as a result. Depending on the writer.

    when Reginald Hudlin (founder of BET and not a stupid man) took over Black Panther, he seems not to have understood that T’Chaka did all the building himself, and instead retconned it into more like a Heart-of-Africa Atlantis, which has always been advanced. And turned them all into villains by casually revealing they’ve had the cure for cancer for literally decades, but refused to share it with outsiders (including his former teammate and Amazingly-Staying-Dead hero, Captain Marvel, who died of cancer)

    There was, at the time, a lot of outrage, but I’m not really sure how well it scales in appropriateness, because comic writers say stupid things or disregard canon all the time, so I think that perhaps the shitstorm that ensued was at least partially racism in the lily white community that is comic fandom.

  26. Olav says

    Where I live, it has been 2013 since about an hour. I enjoyed the fireworks display by my neighbours, had a few shots of rum and feel positively rosy now. Happy new year, people.

  27. Amphiox says

    On second thought, this proposed storyline isn’t really a “Mighty Whitey” trope (in this one the white character has to actually join a native culture and adopt the native culture’s ways, only to prove himself better than the natives themselves at it).

    It is closer to a “White Man’s Burden” trope.

  28. dianne says

    Um…does this guy know that African countries, no matter how impoverished, have their own history and culture and are no more likely to be amenable to building the Perfect City of Science(TM) in them than, say, Detroit or Ada, Oklahoma?

  29. birgerjohansson says

    The “Doc Caliban” character in Philip Jose Farmer’s story arc of “The Nine” (modelled on Doc Savage) is both a super-hero and villain (since he is a servant of The Nine until he and Lord Grandrith -aka Tarzan- rebels against them). Interesting ideas.
    Alas no one has dared to make a graphic novel based on those books.
    — — — —
    If a science hero is looking for a place to set up an utopian society with his/her technology I strongly suggest someplace in Scandinavia.

  30. birgerjohansson says

    Idea: Invent cheap way of drilling for geothermal energy. Buy Baffin Island from the Inuits. Erect transparent domes over the place. Create a biome with temperate climate. Invite a million impoverished Merkuns and give them education through brain implants. Preferably recruit them from conservative voting districts to disrupt the status quo in USA when they leave. Give them material security and religion will evaporate just like it did in Scandinavia.

  31. DLC says

    Of course you can pick out 409 things you hate about Batman, or any comic-book hero. Likewise, you can find things admirable about *some* comic-book villains. Magneto or Catwoman come to mind (to mix different comic book companies.) There’s a whole page devoted to Superman’s stupid/evil/mean stuff.

    Oh, speaking of technologically advanced utopias. How about Gorilla City?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorilla_City

  32. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    Birgerjohnson, please leave Baffin alone. I have plans to travel there at some point and prefer to not have brain dead conservatives mucking up the place.

    It’s bad enough what global warming has been doing to the place.

  33. says

    @Rip: I was going to post that …

    @birgerjohansson: Doesn’t work. Geothermal wells end up limited by the heat conducted into them from the surrounding rock. Unless you’re sitting on top of a hot spot (like Iceland), the yields are pretty low once the rocks immediately next to the well cools down.

  34. brucegorton says

    He decides only a radical solution is viable: the construction of a new city, which he will fund as a gift. Pitching to several African nations, he offers to employ hundreds of thousands of local civilians which he will train, together with foreign specialists to produce a city capable of housing and employing millions.

    Why would it take foreign specialists to produce such a city in Africa, considering that we already have a few cities that house and employ millions? What you think we all live in mud huts? We have our own engineers and architects FFS.

  35. coyotenose says

    Back in the day, when I was reading these things, Dr Doom always seemed misunderstood, and was the one superhero who actually materially improved his nation. I don’t know why he was so obsessed with the Fantastic Four, he had more important work to do.

    Okay, even as an adult fan who hasn’t bought comics in fifteen years, I could spend a couple or three hours writing about Doctor Doom (not “Dr.”, you heathen), so I’ll work to keep this… relatively short.

    Doctor Doom is probably the best supervillain ever created. He has no (significant) superpowers, and far from the best technology in any field that he regularly engages in, but he manages to consistently be a deadly threat to every superhero on the planet at once. Why? Because he is obsessed with defeating Reed Richards, Mister Fantastic. Not with the rest of the Fantastic Four, not with imprisoning or killing Richards, but with defeating Richards so that he knows for all time that he cannot ever hope to rival Doom. Doom is capable of superhuman feats of cunning and invention, superhuman even for a superhero world, if it means he can one-up Richards. At the same time, that cosmic hate unbalances Doom just enough that his plans can be foiled. Sometimes he’s undone because he can’t bring himself to grasp how clever Richards actually is; other times, he loses because he overplans against Richards to the point that he leaves a hole someone else can exploit.

    During the original Secret Wars storyline, Doctor Doom actually achieved Total Cosmic Power and used it to destroy Richards and every other hero who was considering attacking him despite his claim that he had abandoned mortal conflicts. Then, Doom snatched defeat from the jaws of victory because he couldn’t shut down his imagination. He imagined how Reed Richards (whom he had just killed) could come up with a plan to beat him anyway, and when you have total cosmic power but not total cosmic self-control…

    And make no mistake, Doom will kill anyone and everyone to prove himself triumphant. His tiny nation of Latveria is a fascist dictatorship. Doom’s agents disappear people. He snuck a huge bomb under the peasant village outside his castle “just in case”. He recruits promising people, but doesn’t bother educating the rest much. He wants them working hard every day so they can’t spend any time thinking.

    Doom once raised an orphan boy to be his replacement in case he died. When Doom did perish, his minions forcibly and permanently replaced the boy’s entire life with Doom’s memories. He is not good to his people unless being good to them suits his ego or shows up Richards somehow. He THINKS he is, just like he THINKS he respects Reed Richards’ intelligence. And that’s why he’s a great villain: his mental problems are layered and feed off of one another to create a complex personality. Doom can commit mass murder or save a puppy and still be consistent.

    Oh, and he launched a mass assault on the government facility around the landing site of Thor’s hammer so he could acquire it. The hammer is enchanted so that only Thor or “someone worthy” can lift it, and only one human has ever managed to do so. Doom just assumed that he would be able to lift it, and was honestly shocked when he could not, because he couldn’t wrap his head around the difference between “great of will” and “great of character”.

  36. coyotenose says

    Karpad @33:

    It’s simultaneously got some positive Pan-Africanism things going on, while at the same time being kind of hilariously racist (maintaining a tribal monarchy with all this tech advancement, the municipal forces using hover-and-laser spears and shields)

    I don’t disagree, but I do appreciate the clever rationale that the Wakandans use spears and shields, among other tricks, to camouflage their incredible technology as a defense mechanism against the world. They appear to be backwards and not even worth invading… until the giant laser cannons pop up out of the primitive stone palace. But still, even a vibranium spear that can pierce Iron Man’s armor is a stupid weapon.

    That Heart-of-Africa Atlantis thing… that kind of pisses me off, actually.

  37. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    @49:
    Off the top of my head, I can think of three humans sho hav liftrd Mjolnir (Dargo, Dric Masterson and Cap)

  38. frankensteinmonster says

    just another stupid escapist fantasy.
    .
    First. The lack of demand. The only ones with enough resources to pull this off are the plutocrats and the wealthiest international corporations and those absolutely don’t need such tour de force to have a shot at conquering the world.
    .
    Second. Lack of supply. Humans on average are just too conservative, settled down and apathetic. The supervillain wannabe would simply not find enough skilled minions to join him. Lots of desperate refugees having nothing to lose, but there would too few if any true experts willing to take such an leap into the unknown. ‘better the devil you know’ after all.
    .
    Third, even if those problems were miraculously solved, having almost the entire population of the city-state consisting only of emigrants from all over the world and local unskilled laborers would just import all the worst societal mistakes from all countries and mix them together in a “take the worst from each” manner. So, unless it is going to be an extremely oppressive totalitarian police state, ( and thus failing at point 2 ), it will just fall apart.

  39. Outrage Zombie says

    Third, even if those problems were miraculously solved, having almost the entire population of the city-state consisting only of emigrants from all over the world and local unskilled laborers would just import all the worst societal mistakes from all countries and mix them together in a “take the worst from each” manner. So, unless it is going to be an extremely oppressive totalitarian police state, ( and thus failing at point 2 ), it will just fall apart.

    If this were a story someone were insisting on writing, I would suggest maybe making that be the entire point of the endeavor: after the world’s best and brightest have met, have learned, and have overseen the building of the new society and it’s ridiculously almost-magic-how-fast-it-all-happens technology, what is left but to do but send them back to their homes to bring the technological advancements and improvements to their own societies, and by extension the world? The Brilliant Genius Kajillionaire, or whatever cliche the writer makes the person who starts this whole project, will have the knowledge that even though their Planned Future-Science Community project is ultimately unsustainable, in the long run they will have altered/”conquered” the world.

    It’s still dumb, but at least it’s not “John Galt goes to Africa and Shows Us All by building a totally sweet and impossible city (because apparently all Africa needed this whole time was a white guy with a vested interest in it’s resources).”

  40. Anthony K says

    Buy Baffin Island from the Inuits.

    Jesus fucking Christ, what the fuck is wrong with people?

  41. karpad says

    Off the top of my head, I can think of three humans sho hav liftrd Mjolnir (Dargo, Dric Masterson and Cap)

    Also Wonder Woman in a cross over, but not Superman (he’s too nice, and lacks the warrior spirit the hammer demands). Beta-Ray Bill, alien, atheist and all around greatest horse-faced bro in the multiverse.

    And Red Hulk. But that whole thing just makes me angry.

  42. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    Karpad:
    I wasn’t counting Diana, Clark or Beta Ray as humans, but yeah if you extend liftership to any beings…(Rulk no count).

  43. coyotenose says

    Tony the Queer Shoop @51: Hmm, I’d forgotten about Drago. Eric Masterson technically didn’t lift the hammer; he thought he did, but Thor was controlling it at the time. Being completely silly, that may have been retconned since then. And you just reminded me though of how much I liked Thunderstrike. :(

    *Googles* There are some other minor characters who have done so, apparently. WTF! Deadpool is now listed as having been worthy. DEADPOOL. That character was a waste of space from Day One, even if he was funny sometimes.

    Karpad @56: It was REALLY hard not bringing up Beta Ray Bill and sticking to just humans for an attempt at clarity. That guy is made of awesome. He got a cameo in the Planet Hulk animated movie, which was probably the best part.

    Wonder Woman… That completely fits. I like that. She’d make a great Thunder God.

  44. Tony the Queer Shoop (owner of the pink cotton ball of death) says

    Thunderstrike was enjoyable when it came out. Looking back, I cringe reading dialogue by Tom DeFalco. Too stilted. Waaaaaay too expository. Waaaay too trite, cliched, and overused phrases (“I cannot give in. No matter the odds against me. Too many people are depending on me. I’m exhausted. My every muscle is on fire. It would be so easy to give up. But I won’t give up. Any man can fall down. The true test comes when you fight back, against all odds. Never backing down. Never accepting defeat. Staying true to yourself to the end. Always.”….or some variation is uttered by a great number of characters he has written, whether as an internal monologue or soliloquy. )

  45. bradleybetts says

    “… this technology allows them to virtually eliminate all birth defects, disease, low intelligence, physical imperfections and extend long life. Soon this extends to the augmentation of skills: eidetic memory, motor control, exceptional high intelligence. Changing your DNA becomes as commonplace as upgrading your operating system.”

    Sounds terrible. What a bastard, right?

  46. John Morales says

    bradleybetts:

    Changing your DNA becomes as commonplace as upgrading your operating system.”

    Sounds terrible. What a bastard, right?

    Right, except that it’s a stupid handwaving hypothetical.

    (PS Ever seen Dollhouse? ;) )

  47. birgerjohansson says

    Anthony K ,
    You did notice it was tongue in cheek, right?¨
    Baffin Island was the furthest away from USA on the North American continent I could get, with some nice glaciers and at least one nice fossil impact crater.

  48. WharGarbl says

    The canonical Tony Stark is also useless. I quote from http://clementsgame.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/superheroes-round-1-the-avengers/ :

    We could have powered the world with the tesseract, but it’s too dangerous. Fine. Instead, let’s build lots of those arc reactors, like the one Tony’s using to power his office. That’ll work great, right? Loads of long-lasting clean energy? Why are we not doing this already?

    I thought it was implied that Tony’s arc reactor is designed based off the tesseract. In essence, likely of similar danger, or at least enough that SHIELD doesn’t want it wide-spread. Furthermore, it is conceivable that it has a fairly high maintenance cost (first version uses palladium and a consumable. Newer version… not too sure).
    Funny thing, it’s probably similar to the issue with Iran’s nuclear program. The same technology used to enrich uranium for nuclear reactors can also be used to create material for a nuclear weapon.
    The technology for arc reactor can create near unlimited clean energy for the world, but… well… unlimited compact power source + just about any weapon system…

  49. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    So, it appears that the shooting in Old Sacramento I missed was essentially a bar argument that got out of hand when one or the other of the participants pulled a gun and started shooting (there are claims from witnesses that the person among the two dead who was not the employee who attempted to intervene pulled a gun first). The rest of the wounded include the dead man’s wife, the shooter, and a trained, armed security guard who exchanged gunfire with him.

    Exactly the sort of thing the motherfucking gun fetishists assure us NEVER HAPPENS BECAUSE GUN OWNERS R TEH RESPONSIBLES.