iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #216 – Superpowers

Show Notes

It’s no secret that superhero comics drive the comic book industry. They are what puts the butts in seats.

Yet what is a superhero without superpowers? This week, Josh Flanagan, Ron Richards, and Conor Kilpatrick discuss the amazing abilities far beyond those of mortal men, looking at themes from the earliest superheroes, to trends in modern comic books, and how things have changed. We look at what  As always, it comes down to talking about some of the best and worst powers out there, and whether they’re all that important to the stories and characters any longer.

We’ll be talking about the powers of characters like Superman, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, X-Men, and even Jack of Hearts, and plenty of others with our microscopic vision and superhuman wit and donut eating abilities.

We must warn you though, we do not condone the huffing of hard water or any other chemicals in order to achieve super speed or any other powers.


Get Involved

Doing the podcast is fun and all, but let's be honest, listening to the 2 of us talk to each other can get repetitive, so we look to you, the iFanboy listeners to participate in the podcast! "How can I get in on the fun?" you may ask yourself, well here's how:

  • E-Mail us at contact@ifanboy.com with any questions, comments or anything that may be on your mind.

Please don't forget to leave your name and where you're writing from and each week, we'll pick the best e-mails to include on the podcast!


  1. That was the least exciting rendition of the Green Lantern oath ever hahahaha

    Great show as always guys!

  2. I’ve always wondered why there’s a delay between the show’s release on the site, and it popping up for download in my iTunes subscription?

  3. The coolest power I’ve heard of was the villain in Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol who had every power you couldn’t think of.

    Another interesting one is Tony Chu’s food power.

    One of the stupidist? Super ventriloquism.

  4. I’m with Conor. Speed has always been my answer to that hypothetical. It’s just so versatile. Right behind it are teleportation, healing factor, and magnet mastery.

    Good show fellas.

    @mithandur: Good call on Chu. Never saw that power before in all my years.

  5. Black Cat got her “bad luck powers” from The Kingpin in Spectacular Spider-Man #89

  6. The ‘Super Heroics’ (Episode 60) was much better

  7. It was more focused

  8. Didn’t Black Cat get her powers from King Pin?

  9. Great show guys! You make me laugh 🙂 which superhero powers are your personal favorites?

  10. I didnt even know Black Cat had powers, I thought she was just another of those outrageously talented acrobats at peak human physical condition. Ever notice how many of them there are?

  11. Green Lantern has a power ring. Batman’s quest is empowering. Good one Ron.

    Re Aquaman: I thought Morisson established that Aquaman’s telepathy extends to all beings which originated as sea life – from a Darwinian perspective. But the further down (up?) the evolutionary chain the weaker the telepathy. So humans would be far removed from fish so his telpathy is relatively weaker on humans.

  12. @JNewcomb: I think you’re right. That sounds familiar. As a sidenote, I loved how Morrison used Wally and Kyle as expositional devices. Because they were the new kids, Morrison used the opportunity to tweak origins, etc. when they were being explained to Wally and Kyle. Always liked that trick.  

  13. Ron was on form this week! 

    I enjoyed it but why do I feel like you’ve done this one before?

  14. @WheelHands  Just Kyle, not Wally. Wally was a grizzled veteran wh had been a hero much longer than most other people by the time of Morrison’s JLA. He was the one always giving Kyle a hard time for being the new guy.

    @boosebaster  We have covered individual character’s powers before when we’ve talked about them but we’ve never done a show strictly about super powers.

  15. @conor: You’re right. My bad. Morrison’s JLA and Waid/Johns’ Flash came out during my “too cool for comics” phase, so I read them in trade. But now that you mention that, I remember Wally giving Kyle a hard time. The evolution of their relationship from beginning to end is one of my faavorite parts of that run.  

  16. Great show! And wile you were discussing the strnegth of Superman and if he picked up a boat it would break in half under its own weight, reminded me of how John Byrne had Reed Richards that Gladiatoir shouldn’t be able to lift the Baxter Building because it would collapse under it’s own weight from FF #249.

  17. Talking about new spins on powers reminded me of when I was younger and I first read som Gen 13 the powers weren’t unique, but the way they were used and how they fit in the world was amazing to me.

  18. Wildstorm is the only place where they seem to have had any joy coming up with credible-ish (though often weird) powers in modern comics. Like Jack Hawksmoor, which is a damn stupid idea but for some reason is cool and kinda works.

  19. Ah, WildStorm. Where your (usually derivative) powers came from the Comet Effect, Gen Factor (*cough* X-gene *cough*), super science, or being an alien or alien-human hybrid. And Warren Ellis took all that and ran with it. Jack “The Spirit of Cities” Hawksmoor indeed.

    Dang, I miss WildStorm.  

  20. have you guys read Ruins, the sort of alternate world versions of Marvels in which everything is…well…in ruins. Just when you mentioned what SHOULD have happened to Banner made me think of that.

    Other than that another ace podcast. Kinda suprised you never covered this before. Y’know…like in episode 1 or something lol

  21. Very entertaining episode. I personally hate animal-based powers. No matter what the animal in question is, they always get superhuman strength, speed, stamina and senses.

  22. /sigh – This this was about PSP.

  23. mindbullets

  24. @basebaster: There was an episode on superhero origins a year or so ago.  It was similarly themed but was more about how characters got their powers instead of the powers themselves.  But you’re right, I thought this sounded familiar too.

  25. I’ve been thinking of sending yall an Email asking what super power you’d want for a week or two now.  Ya beat me too it!

    I’d want invulnerability.

  26. My superpower is to produce a low level radiation of heat. Just enough that I fog all windows on my side of the car in temperatures below 60 degrees.

  27. Great, interesting show- ignited many trains of thought:

    1. Superspeed is the best superpower and I will fight any contrarians (verbally/textually *whimper*)
    2. @Conor(and I’d love to hear what Ryan Haupt has to say about this): Think of the modern explanation of superpowers not as a fun-killer but as an open door to new avenues of fun. Think of the scientific explanation of powers not as a defensive obligation to belay naysayers but rather os an opportunity to excite science fans. I think Warren Ellis’ superhero work adds a lot to this discussion. I remember his Justice League story where he pointed out that each of the Flash’s steps would be hundreds of miles long. That blew my mind, and expanded my conception of the Flash. It didn’t kill my fun. It didn’t burn the Infantino pages of a hundred steps a panel.
    3.@Josh- You defy us to explain Black Cat/Longshot powers? Well let’s get meta-metaphysical! ‘Animal Man’ answers all that. *OBLIQUE-QUASI-SPOILER ALERT*!!! Animal Man searches to learn the nature of the universe, in his case the DCU, and he finds it. Whatever the nature of our universe, the DCU is a world controlled by gods, or ‘Creators’. Even if it doesn’t apply to our universe, creation theory does apply to fictional universes. Characters obey the laws of physics less than than they obey the laws of melodrama, because that is, literally, the nature of their universe. So the most rational explanation for superpowers for a denzien of the marvel or DCU would be the whims of the Creators.

  28. Guys..the Kingpin gave Felicia Hardy her powers, using the same machine that gave the Scorpion and the Fly theirs.  She wanted to be Spider-Man’s equal and didn’t want him worrying about her.

  29. @brattyben  You’re not gonna see that machine much anymore.

  30. “Chew” has a Lot of new superpowers.

  31. I wonder if anyone watching this show wasn’t going to see Green Lantern already

  32. I thought Black Cat’s ‘power’ was faked originally – she rigged various accidents to make it appear she had a power. But it looks as if it was ret-conned in later? Must have missed that. 

    I love the open-ended nature of it. Would love to see a strip where she takes out Galactus or Thanos – ‘Whoops who left that Ultimate Nullifer there oh no i slipped aaargh’ 

  33. I would either have the power to fly or teleport. Gas is ridiculous. Great show guys.

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