The Best Badasses
ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Zach Schepis Hannah Sutker

Whether they’re combating the supernatural, saving the world from certain destruction, or showing the super villains who’s boss, superheroes inspire us time and time again with their feats of otherworldly badassery. Who is your favorite?

Zach’s Take

Forget the usual suspects; Batman and Superman don’t need any more legions of comic book fans pledging lifelong alliances. There are some criminally under-looked badasses of the Marvel universe who could give these spandex-crazed commercial titans a run for their money.

Enter the Silver Surfer. He’s a humanoid with liquid metal for skin, and he can ride across galaxies and surf the stars on a flying board. Formerly a young astronomer by the name of Norrin Radd on the planet Zenn-la, he rescued his home world from the obliterating hands of Galactus. In return, Radd was forced to serve Galactus–which granted him some of the super-tyrant’s powers.

They culminate in what’s known as the Power Cosmic. Step aside Superman; the Silver Surfer can alter the power reserves of stars, travel at light speed, manipulate matter, save the lives of planets, and even create life. You can basically call him God with a helping of some cosmic cowabunga.

Aubrey’s Take

I’ve been a nerd for nature for as long as I can remember, so it should come as no surprise that my favorite superhero would be Captain Planet.

While some kids lost their minds over X-ray vision and telekinesis, nothing could be cooler to a burgeoning six-year-old environmentalist than a hero who was literally comprised of the elements, and who responded to the summons of crystal rings imbued with magic powers by Mother Earth herself.

Captain Planet didn’t rely on gadgetry invented by more clever men, he didn’t become embroiled in common affairs, and he didn’t manipulate the human sphere by using his powers to meet his own ends. He was really truly a servant of the greater good for both the human and the natural order, and whenever his work was complete, he would entrust his powers back into the hands of the youth for safekeeping.

While the all-star lineup of heroes championed by Marvel urge us to admire qualities such as ultra-strength and super-speed, I always found myself more inspired by Captain Planet’s message: that ultimately, the power to exact positive change rests in our hands.

Hannah’s Take

The Human Torch is the perfect example of wasted teenage potential, in the best way, and that’s why he is clearly the greatest superhero.

He both controls and absorbs fire, and can spontaneously burst into flame, which sounds awesome until you realize that he’s a reckless kid who’s constantly making rash decisions. He has mommy issues, abandonment issues, and is actually still a teenager when he becomes a member of the Fantastic Four.

This guy is absolutely a recipe for disaster, and it’s great. His powers are so dangerous and he, as a person, is all over the place. It’s honestly incredible that he made it past the first day of discovering his abilities, considering he’s such a mess.

Johnny Storm is the 2007-edition Britney Spears of the Marvel universe, a complete mess but ultimately pretty endearing. Although, if he really wanted to put his powers to use for the force of the greater good, he’d just devote his life to letting people roast marshmallows off his body.

Main photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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