“Um, actually, Infinity Scarf is canonically the most powerful hero – he just has a mental block on his abilities because otherwise he risks the Cozy Force snuggling the universe into heat death.”

– some nerd

A companion piece to my previous comic about what power the greatest supervillain always has.

It seems like “strong and durable” is essentially the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu of super powers – either the person at the top specializes in it, or they need to have it in some form in order to compete at the highest levels. Superman is, of course, the trendsetter of this phenomenon, but it’s the same thing with Goku, All Might, Omni-Man, Homelander, etc. (I concede that last two are explicitly Superman commentaries, but still).

Even when a story tries to change things up by giving the top dog something different, they’re still one of the physically strongest and durable characters in the world. See: Blast from One-Punch Man, who does portals, but is also super strong. Or Whitebeard from One Piece, who can quake the earth (and also space[?] or whatever) and is also “The Strongest Man in the World.” I haven’t fully caught up with One Piece yet, but I’m sure by the end of it, when Luffy’s established as the clear Pirate King Ascendant, his most notable ability will be less “rubber man” and more “strong and durable man.”

I mean, I get it, Superman’s the superhero so whenever your fictional superpower world needs a World’s Greatest Hero, it’s hard not to just make them Superman. Also, most standard superthreats can really just be resolved by someone who’s super strong and invulnerable. But come on, isn’t it a writer’s job to exercise some creativity every once in a while? Is it really that hard to figure out how a different type of superpower could put someone at the top? Even telekinesis, which I still feel is a rather overused power, would feel like a more creative change of pace.

– James