Superheroes always do the right thing. If a building is burning, they are the first to rush in and rescue any babies. If there's a mass shooting, they are the first to tell their Facebook friends about how Obama will use it as an excuse to take away their guns. If there's a woman talking about video games, they are the first to post her address online and hope murderers are reading. But these are obvious, universal virtues. What happens when superheroes are called in to deal with more complicated ethical dilemmas?
5Conserve Energy By Brutally Murdering All Who Waste It
We should all work to conserve energy. It seems like a pretty simple concept, but what if we told you that in 1980, Marvel decided to take that message, tie it in with soup, and spread it out over 36 pages of drooling, gibbering madness? Behold: Captain America And The Campbell Kids.
"Campbell's: I could slurp this all day."
The story starts with a group of children wasting energy on their favorite hobbies: Soapbox loves to design rocket cars and Clean Clara invents bathroom gadgets to clean herself, clean herself, never clean enough, clean herself. Reading Ricardo loves to read, so he has enslaved a team of robots to bring him books. And wild woman TV Tanya plays computer chess and tic-tac-toe at the same time.
"And I'm Bored Captain America! I shouldn't have asked you boring assholes your names!!!"
Instead of leaving these boring teens to their sad, lonely puberties, Captain America starts lecturing them on how much energy they're wasting. Eventually the soup toddlers take over as narrators and it all becomes too crazy for a normal human brain to process.
Look at the shame on the horse's face for being drawn into this existence.
Before we learn the entire history of energy and what it meant to the Native Americans, the lecture is thankfully interrupted by a supervillain attack. Unfortunately, the supervillains are energy-themed and tie directly into the subject at hand. So Captain America's battle becomes narrated by baby soup spokespeople who are also still teaching us about energy conservation. It's like the worst day of five different people's lives all happening at once, but less coherent than that sounds.
"Disembodied heads, you describe the situation from the back! I'll describe it from the front!"
This may be harsh criticism, but severed baby heads are awful narrators. For the entire issue, they explain every obvious thing happening in each panel, while cheerfully floating next to their own pointless narration. All future comic creators should take note -- when creating a dramatic fight scene, try not to float a grinning, cherubic baby head over it.
"OK, looks like Cap is climbing a thing to fight the guy! And while I have you here, energy conservation
is no reason to cut back on the hearty taste of soup!"
The four supervillains, who were never heard from before or again, are all dedicated to wasting energy. They're not even worth the effort of a bad joke, and they beat the shit out of Captain America. So it's up to those sad indoor kids we met earlier to defeat the baddies. How? By conserving energy, of course!
"Captain America is dying! Let's maybe find a better time for all these long conversations about soapbox race cars!"
The children manage to cut the villains off from all sources of energy to defeat them. And when we say "defeat," we mean they melt into puddles that die screaming for help under the ceaseless gaze of a disembodied toddler head. We are not trained therapists, but we know enough about child psychology to know these kids are fucked.
"AT NIGHT, THESE ENERGY-CONSCIOUS TEENS WILL STILL HEAR THE DOOMSDAY MAN'S FINAL SQUEALS!"
This comic feels less like a public service and more like something slithered into your head and fondled your brain. But it does end with a fun maze featuring three of the four recently deceased supervillains! See if you can solve it before a confused janitor mops up their still-weeping liquid remains!
"Remember us as we were: commercial shills."
4Don't Litter Or Superman Will Steal Everyone's Bikes
Batman V Superman pisses all over the basic ideals of Superman, sure, but there has been a long and storied history of writers screwing up the Man Of Steel. Nothing demonstrates it better than this public service comic about the dangers of littering.
"Superman says, 'Be a good citizen ... or else!'"
It begins with Superman eavesdropping on two children planning a community outreach program -- not the absolute worst use of Superman's time, but arguably in the top 10. It turns out the children are debating about littering and one kid is strongly and bizarrely on the "pro" side of the argument. So Superman does what he spent a lot of the Silver Age doing: He massively and insanely overreacts.
To teach this kid a lesson about litter, he fills their entire street with "trash." And not random discarded objects -- it's almost entirely bikes. So either he found the world's only bike graveyard or this asshole flew around at light speed stealing perfectly good bikes just to make a point. Then he stands there all smug, giving a speech about what it means to be a good citizen while his super hearing relays the cries of all the sad children in a 50-mile radius who woke up to missing bikes.