Comics teach us that if you have superpowers and you want to improve society, the most useful thing you can do is find a criminal and punch him through a wall. You have to question the logic there, though -- while these god-like beings are out there wasting their time playing cowboys and Indians, they could be using their powers in brilliant, literally world-changing ways. Such as ...
Wolverine is the X-Man with the biggest kill count, which is surprising considering that he's Canadian. Even stranger because Wolverine could actually flip the script and easily get the life-saving stats on the other side. Want proof? Just look at his buddy here:
Wolverine can quickly heal from pretty much any wound, an ability he shares with Marvel Comics character/4chan personification Deadpool. In the comics, Deadpool undergoes an experimental procedure that "implants" him with Wolverine's healing factor, which leaves Deadpool both ugly and insane ... but hey, it works! There are some kinks to be ironed out, sure, but why isn't this a bigger deal? At the very least, studying Wolverine's cells could help cure diseases and advance medical science. We know this because there's actually something like that in the real world: HeLa cells, named for Henrietta Lacks, the woman they were found in.
Thomas Deerinck/National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research
If you observe from the right angle they even look like they have Wolverine's hair.
HeLa cells are "immortal," in the sense that they don't die after leaving the human body. Since they were discovered in the '50s, they've been used in developing vaccines, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and have even been shot into space, because sometimes even Science gets bored. Now imagine what we could do with cells that are actually immortal, not just technically. Annoyances like broken bones, the common cold, or even death would become a thing of the past. If Wolverine is committed to the greater good, he'll stop using those hands to stab ninjas and start using them to jerk off into a cup.
He's the best there is at what he does, and what he does gets exhausting
after the third or fourth time in a day.
Between the trench coat, card tricks, and strained "sexy" accent, Gambit is the superhero voted most likely to hang out at pickup-artist websites. His mutant ability is to turn the potential energy in any object into kinetic energy, just by touching it. He uses this power to turn playing cards into grenades, because he didn't watch enough Reading Rainbow as a kid, and thus suffers from a tragically crippled imagination. See, instead of hurling playing cards and sleazy pickup lines, Gambit could be single-handedly solving the global energy crisis. OK, fine; he might have to use both hands. Maybe also a foot. But the point stands.
"You want Gambit to do dis, he only gon use one part."
Gambit's power functions the same way as your car's engine (taking the potential energy in gasoline and turning it into a series of controlled explosions), only he's way more efficient at it. Because of the way engines work, only a small fraction of the energy produced goes toward moving the car, which you might recognize as the entire point of a car. Meanwhile, 100 percent of the energy Gambit produces goes toward blowing shit up.
Power plants follow the same general principle: Nuclear power plants take the potential energy in plutonium or uranium and turn it into electricity (which is a kinetic energy), with the major downside that it leaves us stuck with a shitload of leftover toxic material. This Cajun asshole could fix that! He could take the potential energy that lays in carbon rods or whatever and make it go nuclear without any waste. Gambit has "charged" objects as big as a subway train or a whole freaking building in only seconds, so this should be no problem for him. In theory, he could provide clean power for entire cities without breaking a sweat. We speak metaphorically. One look at the guy and you know he smells like beer-sweat and Axe.
Who the hell is Cypher, you're almost definitely wondering? A young mutant with the "power" to translate any language.
They stopped inviting him to X-Men missions around the same time Babelfish came out,
for some reason.
Cypher doesn't understand languages just because he's super smart and well-read -- he understands them because of mutant magic. He can even talk to aliens and machines. He can translate from hieroglyphics, binary code, Vinca, Indus, and the Rohonc Codex. Know how to say "Where is the bathroom, please?" in those last three? Probably not, because they are undeciphered scripts. That is, ancient pieces of writing that people have been trying to make sense of for literally thousands and thousands of years, without luck ... and Cypher could just glance at them and tell us what they mean.
"Do not get too invested in Dexter. Hope you don't find this too late."
Proto-languages are our gateway to the mysteries of pre-civilization. We could discover another Renaissance, learn about lost technology, find out how the Flintstones tamed all those dinosaurs, etc. There are many early societies that created things way beyond what we thought they were capable of. How did they do it? Why did they stop? Cypher could accurately and immediately solve all of these mysteries for us.
Or, he could keep dicking around in a yellow jumpsuit. No, sure, that's fine, dude.
"Magneto is here! Quick, everyone! Here's how to tell him
to go fuck himself in Belarusian ..."
Storm of the X-Men is a team leader, a nation's monarch, a goddess, and an Academy Award-winning actress, in order of social importance. But there's another, even greater accomplishment she could add to that list: fixing the ozone layer. You remember that thing, right? The sucker preventing us from getting melted alive by the sun's UV rays and microwaved by the universe in general? Since Storm's power is to control the weather, you assume she'd be completely useless in space, but guess what: There's weather in space, bucko. Storm has not only been there, she's demonstrated the ability to control cosmic forces such as solar winds.
"When you crash back to Earth, try to hit Brett Ratner's house."
This isn't minor, since solar winds actually contribute to damaging the ozone layer. That's right, it's not all cars and cow farts -- sometimes the sun itself tries to break right through Earth's condom. Fortunately, Storm can divert the danger away from the Earth by merely thinking about it. Boom, now it's Mars' problem, and you know what? Fuck Mars. There, we finally said it.
Feels good to get that off our chest.
In the comics, Swamp Thing has control over not just the plants in his general vicinity but "every iota of plant life on this planet" -- and we're quoting the official DC website here. He can do this through a sort of plant-exclusive Internet called "The Green." Understandably, he's a fan of the environment, so why the hell hasn't he gotten off his ass and stopped global warming already?
"I need to find out if she picks Gale or Peeta."
Climate change is mostly caused by our tendency to pump too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, but even if we stopped altogether, it still wouldn't be as good as actually removing the carbon. Fortunately, plants breathe in carbon dioxide. Swamp Thing can literally breathe in all of the global warming on Earth and exhale pure salvation.
In one issue, a bad guy almost uses The Green to make all plants on Earth produce too much oxygen, so we know this is totally possible. As an actual personified ecosystem, not only can Swampy save the rain forests and create sustainable food sources around the world, he can grow new plants anywhere -- enough to undo a century of pollution. All this with no more than a mere thought and a breath. What is he doing that's more important than that?
Oh, all right. Carry on, then.
What do Chuck Norris, Liam Neeson in Taken, and the Dos Equis guy have in common? They're all losers compared to some of the actual badasses from history whom you know nothing about. Come out to the UCB Sunset for another LIVE podcast, April 9 at 7:00 p.m., where Jack O'Brien, Michael Swaim, and more will get together for an epic competition to find out who was the most hardcore tough guy or tough gal unfairly relegated to the footnotes of history. Get your tickets here!
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For more powers that were just ridiculously squandered, check out 5 Famous Movie Characters Who Wasted Awesome Superpowers. And also check out The 8 Worst X-Men Ever.
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