ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday March 9, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 41

Super intellect

By Smriti Daniel

There's a strange man floating in midair outside your bedroom window. Taking a closer look, you realize that the green outfit and yellow cape and red underwear (superheroes never have to worry about panty lines), are not actually painted on. You open the window and….

a)Throw rocks at him.
b)Invite him in for a little AC time. Cat suits are hell in this weather, you know.

If you ask me, (and I note you haven't), superheroes are Eternally Cool. And if you don't think so, then you my friend are, as they say in that strange, strange foreign land, "A Total Loser, Dude!" You can tell which side I am on, yes? To join the cool kids, you have to take this basic test. This is it – let's see how well you know your superheroes.

1. Which superhero, known as much for his intelligence as for his agility, has made enemies of the Sandman, Electro, Mysterio, Green Goblin, Doctor Octopus, and Venom, among many, many others?

2. Carrie Kelley is 13-years-old when she meets this superhero, coming to his aid, she helps him out of a tight spot. Despite Alfred's objections, our superhero takes her on as his sidekick. Who is it?

3. Marvel would have you believe that Elektra is the world's most lethal woman. Obviously she has a great deal of personal…charm, as it were, but it's her skills that really make you sit up and take notice. See if you can pick out the one thing that Elektra is not.

4. Some refer to him as "the big blue Boy Scout," but the rest of us treat the "The Last Son of Krypton" with a lot more respect. Who is he?

5. "A Comedian died last night, and nobody cares. Nobody Cares but Me." he wrote in his journal. With an ink-blot like mask to cover his face, this hero is arguably Alan Moore's most brilliant character.

6. In polite company we'd refer to this guy as "morally ambivalent," perhaps a trifle prone to brooding, but when Wolverine gets pissed, you don't want to be anywhere near his bone claws infused/coated with:

7. You're used to superheroes being treated like freaks, or having to hide their true identities; but this lot have it good - they chose celebrity status over anonymity.

1.b) Spider-Man. This superhero has one of the most impressive rogues galleries in comics. It helps that the dude doesn't seem to mind collaborating with a bunch of other "costumed crimefighters" (snicker) ever so often. Apparently, the same is true of his enemies, who have frequently lowered themselves to form anti-spidey groups like the Sinister Six.

2. a) Frank Miller's iconic Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, introduced Carrie Kelley - the first female Robin in the Batman franchise's history. In the series, Carrie, who is obviously a kid to reckon with spends her lunch money on a Robin outfit. By the end, Batman considers her the daughter he never had.

3. c) Like duh. Though it may be somewhat tough to swallow, Elektra is human. And a couple of cigarettes (public health message coming up) can really mess with your stamina. Ergo, Elektra (with a k) does not smoke. And just in case you're tempted not to take her seriously, here's an extract from Assassin #3.) "Something that was not a Mack truck slammed into the agents, sending them sprawling. [...] Pitman then fell to his knees, disemboweled. Newton's head, cleft from the shoulders, struck the floor.

4. a) In 1938, writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster created Superman. The Man of Steel would have many of the traits that today define most superheroes - a secret identity, superhuman powers and a colorful costume including a symbol and cape.

5. a) With his inkblot-like mask which he considers his true face, Rorschach is the last man standing, long after superheroes are not only despised by the public, but are actually illegal. We salute the dude who braved Antarctica in a trench coat, and can turn everything from a toilet bowl to hairspray into a lethal weapon.

6. b) Adamantium equals extreme durability. To create the rare metal requires knowledge of obscure, expensive chemical and metallurgical processes, and as a result only a handful of organizations, individuals, and governments in the Marvel Universe are actually able to do so.

7. a) In a significant departure from preceding superhero conventions, the Fantastic Four make no effort to maintain secret identities…instead they go high public profile, enjoying the public's adulation for their contributions to humanity. Even their fights and constant bickering are well publicized but despite this they remain "a cohesive and formidable team in times of crisis."

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