One of the things Marvel pioneered during the Silver Age was heroes with problems. This made them more relatable to us mere mortals in a way that the lofty deity-esque characters of the DCU may not have been able to do. However, there may be some problems associated with having powers that Stan, Jack and the gang may not have anticipated, but that’s what I’m here for. Below, I present some of your most beloved characters, and what would happen to them if they really had the powers we see each week. I realize that since they’re fictional one could argue that their powers simply compensate for any problems but the point of this exercise is to have fun, not to be pedantic. The comments are for being pedantic.
Cyclops has a serious headache:
Optic blasts are cool, and as we’ve learned time and time again, Cyclops beams are concussive, not thermal like Superman’s. This means the blast imparts a force against the target, but that’s not what concerns me. According to Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Since the blasts leave Cyclops’ eyes at an incredible velocity with an incredible amount of force therefore that same force is imparted against Cyclops’ eyes, head and neck; just as firing a gun recoils the butt against your shoulder. Now imagine firing a gun as powerful as Cyclops’ blasts with the gun attached to your forehead… your neck just broke. It gets even wackier when you consider Scott’s origin as a boy falling out of a plane who used his burgeoning powers to lessen his fall toward the ground. Imagine falling from a plane, reaching terminal velocity, the maximum speed a falling object can have due to air resistance, and suddenly catching the entire weight from your fall on your EYES! Ouch, your eyes just popped. Can eyes pop? Who knows? Moving on…
Wolverine doesn’t feel so good:
Logan probably doesn’t visit the doctor’s office very often, and if he did he’d probably be in for some very bad news.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Logan, you’ve got cancer.”
“What kind of cancer, bub?”
“Um… All of them?”
Wolverine is the best at what he does, and one of those things is healing. The way he does this is by having his cells reproduce at a very fast pace. There’s another word for this type of uncontrolled cell-growth, and it’s called cancer. Sabertooth should probably also go in for a check-up.
Magma is hungry:
All superheroes, for the most part, are in ridiculous shape. Magma is no exception. Maintaining a physique like that takes work, or as I like to tell people while I’m at the beach, “A body like this doesn’t happen by accident.” When it comes to the human body all this energy comes in the form of Calories (not calories, and yes, there is a difference). The more Calories you burn, the more Calories you need to eat; it’s a pretty basic balancing act. If you want to lose weight, you need burn more Calories than you eat. However, assuming Magma’s powers are part of her inherent metabolism, this presents a problem. The immense amounts of energy output by her powers must be accounted for, presumably from the food she eats. If this is the case I think it’s fair to assume that all her time spent off panel is spent downing as much food as possible to get ready for the next big fight. Kind of puts a different perspective on the idea of burning off fat, doesn’t it?
Angel has to work on that landing:
Flying is tough. It requires a lot of adaptation to get something into the air, and the bigger the object the more effort is required. This may even become the subject of a longer post but putting a human-sized object off the ground under their own power would be a major hassle. To my knowledge, all flying vertebrates (birds, bats, and pterosaurs) have evolved a hollow bone structure to help reduce their weight making flight a little bit easier, if not possible in the first place. As far as I know Archangel also has hollow bones which would be great for flying but think about that in a combat scenario. He’d be like Mr. Glass from unbreakable. An unpowered Jubilee could probably snap Warren’s leg in half with a swift kick, not to mention some of the world-class super-strong brawlers the X-Men routinely face. Every other issue should find Warren in traction, it’s a good thing he’s loaded.
Multiple Man is breaking the law (of the universe):
Jamie Madrox is constantly popping out full sized duplicates of himself, there was even a time when this was an unfortunate side effect of getting hit. Assuming the laws of physics operate in roughly the safe way in the Marvel Universe as in our universe, this present something of a problem. Since matter cannot be created or destroyed, Madrox shouldn’t be able to create dupes quite so easily. Here’s my solution: Before creating a dupe Jamie has to “acquire” the mass necessary for another copy of himself. Basically he has to get fat enough that he can create a whole new him. Since energy is required one might argue that he’s using E=Mc^2 converting energy to mass for the new him, which is a cool idea but the reason that equation can be used to create a nuke is that the c^2 really weights things on the side of energy, producing for more energy per unit mass than the other way around. To simply, the snap that Madrox has used to create a dupe doesn’t really have enough energy to make enough mass to be a viable theory. I think you just have to accept the conversation of mass problem. And he decides to absorb a dupe he’s really gonna need to hit the gym for a few weeks…
Ryan Haupt could have looked up whether or not eyes popped, but sometimes you just don't wanna know. Similarily, no one has reported ruptured eardrums from listening to his podcast, Science… sort of (which was also about mutants problems this week), but if they were reported they probably wouldn't be heard.