Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Who are tomorrow's superheroes?

Just watched Captain America, and recently saw Green Lantern, and the Planet of the Apes, and it got me thinking - what kind of superhero would we need today? At the end of Captain America ('spoiler' coming up), he finds himself awake in today's world 70 years after the end of WWII. What would he do? What use would his shield be today? And Green Lantern - fine for fighting single space-faring aliens, but what about most of out troubles here? Could either of them fix the spiraling debt problems afflicting many economies, or root out corruption, or take out despots without killing all their supporters and plunging such countries into (maybe worse) chaos?

The world is a complex place, and it's nice to go and watch a movie where all the bad can be focused onto a nasty villain with a red (or green) face and an accent (don't we all have an accent?), where all the villain's cronies have terrible aim, or only aim at your shield,  and to have a single unbeatable weapon which will win in the end. Oh, and I mustn't forget the girl. But by the time the popcorn or ice cream is digested, it's back to reality.

Most 'villains' today are unseen, and working behind the scenes. Rather than one bad guy there's a network and complicity from lesser bad guys, too, or a large corporation with super-lawyers who are working just within the law and screwing the environment and lesser institutions.  So what super-powers would be useful to prevent another stock market crash and global economic meltdown which would increase poverty and feeds war, etc., or to prevent turning Earth into a toxic dump for our grandchildren?

Maybe an ex-UN Secretary who could fly, be invisible, and be a whiz on the internet? But you'd also need to be in many places at the same time. Perhaps, then, a 'multiple man' (or woman) who could be in a dozen places at the same time with a collective mind - it would be the only way to see what is going down and maybe stop it through coordinated action. Being able to stop time would be handy, but not necessary.

Wouldn't it be nice to have a superhero tackle today's problems, and kick some butt? Might even break out the champagne afterwards...

I grew up on Marvel comics, and for me the point was to show kids like me the difference between right and wrong, and to believe that you can fight against wrong and win. But while yesterday's comics are still fun, and the films are okay, they're not relevant anymore, and even kids know that. We need a new breed of superhero, and more realistic villains, too, because the ones we have today are actually more scary...

Other suggestions welcome...

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