Superhero origins are traditionally moronic. Daredevil was hit by a radioactive truck, Black Condor learned to fly by trying until it worked and Batman was against bad people. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles got their start after normal turtles walked across karate ooze, and when Michael Bay suggested changing their story to be "from space," the Internet became something entirely new -- outraged. Sure, being from space would make three of the words in their title wrong, but the uncharacteristic nerd rage it sparked showed that despite the dumbass nature of superhero origins, they are a revered part of our pop culture. You know, except for these ones:
Every few years, all the Marvel superheroes get together and beat the shit out of each other. Sometimes they do it for ridiculous, contrived reasons, and other times it's not as well thought out. Contest of Champions was one of those times. It was a superhero boxing match set up by a space god to gamble against Death. I'd call it stupid, but it's more or less exactly what I would do every day if I was in charge of outer space.
For a comics writer or a comics fan, Contest of Champions was a dream come true. For no goddamn narrative point whatsoever, Hulk could fight Thor, Spider-Man could fight Captain America, Iron Man could fight Defensor and ...wait -- what the hell is a Defensor?
Iron Man's mouth couldn't even bother to form the words ...
... and then he smashed him unconscious against a wall before he ever learned his name.
Defensor was an Argentine superhero who never existed before the Contest of Champions. The writers had their choice of literally any amazing superhero in the cosmos, and they went with a strange man whose power is owning a shield. This analogy is going to sound impossible, but that's like making a movie about the origins of Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi and deciding it needs a floppy-eared moon fuck in black face. If you're going to throw an all-new character into the middle of these beloved icons, he needs to do something impressive right away. Here was literally the first thing we ever saw Defensor do or say:
His origin story was revealed later to be this gripping tale: Gabriel Carlos Dantes Sepulveda was an Argentine construction worker who found a magic shield at work. Maybe it was simple laziness, or maybe they thought that since South America liked soccer, they'd also like a superhero who sucked. Either way, I wouldn't go so far to say South America was being insulted. That came later in the same comic, when Defensor forgot which country he was from.
Oh, you're from Brazil? That explains why you keep blurting things in Spanish!
I get that it sounds crazy for Marvel Comics to have an open hatred for South America, yet Defensor never did anything else except die at the hands of a serial killer who only killed South American superheroes. Here's Defensor's glorious death scene in its entirety:
The eulogy for his off-camera slaying got second billing to South America's most legendary superhero, Captain Forsa, a super-strong Brazilian whose name they spelled wrong. Captain Forsa appeared only once before in the Marvel Universe, to announce that he was going to unleash his wrath on whoever keeps killing South American superheroes. He did this by helplessly dying all over the guy. There is no worse job in fiction than being a South American Marvel superhero, and to give you perspective, one of their greatest Canadian heroes had achondroplastic dwarfism for his power.
#5. The Guardian
Speaking of crime fighters whose abilities include holding a shield and nothing, the Guardian started his career as Jim Harper, police officer. Since subtlety wasn't invented until the '50s, he patrolled Suicide Slum, the "toughest section of the city." Jim loved this job so much he'd often shout out loud to himself how well things were going or forget he was covered in body fluids when he went into his boss' office.
"That's a lot of crime blood on your chest, rookie. Top notch police work."
Without skipping ahead even one tiny bit, one day Jim was pistol-whipped by criminals.
"Ha! Bet this cop never expected us criminals to love crime!"
Jim woke up and did what any concussion victim filled with impotent rage would do -- something crazy. He broke into a Halloween store and started stealing pantyhose.
"Costumes!? Hold on, I just got an idea: costumes!"
Breaking and entering and burglary are terrible starts to a crime fighter's second job as a crime fighter, but don't worry. He babbled something about paying for the costume.
"Deer owner: Sorry 4 all the blod. I am hit in head. Needed costorm. Here is maybe the $$ for cost? I am not Jim Harper bye."
After the robbery, Jim jogged over to a bar and assaulted his attackers. He thinks? They were dressed differently, but we've already seen that Suicide Slum is the kind of neighborhood where people make mad dashes for costume changes after street fights. However, Jim only saw one of them from behind before he charged in and upper-cutted him in the ass. There is a huge, huge chance that this guy just ambushed a very confused pool game.
"Ha! This helmet makes me immune to all head attacks!"
"I don't care! Let us finish our game, maniac!"
When Jim is finished getting his revenge on the three hoodlums by knocking out seven unrelated men in a pool hall, the plot thickens. He steals their money and discovers that their cash has the same serial numbers as the Johnson kidnappers! Wait, holy shit what!?
"Florm, sperp, dingus, duck shape!? My God. Those are the same numbers as the mayor rape money! This case just got a whole lot bigger."
So obviously, this is a very troubled man with a very serious head wound making some very poor decisions. Even if he beat up the right guys, and I think I made a solid case for how there is no way he did, dressing up in a disguise did not help in any way. He was a cop who was his own victim and eyewitness -- he had a pretty solid case for just pulling out his gun and shooting them in front of reporters. And if he wanted to charge them with a crime, it's infinitely easier to do that with an arresting officer than with a note left on top of seven half-dead pool players. Again, all of these bizarre actions make sense for a man whose brain is being pinched by skull fragments, but 70 years later, the Guardian still lives by the knee-jerk decisions he made during that one fit of dementia.
"That's right, villain! Perhaps I AM an idiot. An IDIOT for JUSTICE. A JUSTICE IDIOT! Yes! So henceforth, you criminal villains can call me THE JUSTICE IDIOT!"
#4. Bouncing Boy
Bouncing Boy is a zaftig fellow from the 30th century who has the ability to blow himself up into a ball shape and bounce.
And that's also why we called other superheroes!
He got his powers when he was working as an errand boy for a scientist and was given an "instant, super-plastic fluid" to deliver to the "science council." Unfortunately, his path took him right by the ROBOT GLADIATOR TOURNAMENT. This shouldn't have been a problem, since if you can't trust the impulse control of the only fat guy in the 30th century, what can you trust? Unfortunately, he not only ditched work to watch robot fights, he fucking drank the plastic. If this turns out to be a true story and all of society thinks about it from now until then, we will still never be able to come up with a word to describe Bouncing Boy's failure.
"And oh no! These peanuts! CHOMP! They're! CHOMP! The fingers! GULP! Of screaming children! CHOMP!"
To the future's credit, everyone told Bouncing Boy that he had a crappy superpower and he was denied a spot in the Legion of Superheroes. It didn't help that in his first mission he mistook a skywriting device for a bomb and bounced into the sky to do nothing except literally cry in front of the words "THE WORLD'S BIGGEST FOOL." I'm absolutely not kidding:
Jesus Christ. The writers for Adventure Comics hate fat people more than Taco Bell's plumber.