January 30, 2010
Is your Child Super Too? A Parents' GuideLiberty Belle
Before you rush out and enroll little Earthquake or FlashMuffin into the G&T program at the local elementary school, be sure he or she is in fact Super. Superheroes are informally organized into categories or archetypes. Here's a quick guide to help you figure out exactly where your child fits in on the playground:
- Armored Hero: A gadgeteer whose powers are derived from a suit of powered armor, e.g. Iron Man, and Steel.
- Blaster: A hero whose main power is a distance attack, usually an "energy blast", e.g., Cyclops, Starfire, and Static.
- Brick/Tank: A character with a superhuman degree of strength and endurance and usually an oversized, muscular body, e.g., The Hulk, The Thing, Colossus, and Juggernaut. Almost every superhero team has one member of this variety, a point X-Factor's Guido Carosella noted when he took the codename "Strong Guy" at a reporter's suggestion that this was his role in the team.
- Dominus: A hero who controls a giant robot, a subtype common in Japanese superhero and science fiction media, e.g., Megas XLR, Big Guy.
- Elementalist: A hero who controls some natural element or part of the natural world, e.g., Storm (weather), Magneto (magnetism), Swamp Thing (vegetation), the Human Torch (fire), Thor (weather).
- Gadgeteer: A hero who invents special equipment that often imitates superpowers, e.g., Nite Owl, Batman.
- Healers: A hero who is able to quickly recover from serious injury e.g. Deadpool, Wolverine, Lobo.
- Mage: A hero who is trained in the use of magic e.g., Doctor Fate, Doctor Strange, Zatanna.
- Marksman: A hero who uses projectile weapons, typically guns, bows and arrows or throwing blades, e.g., Green Arrow, and Hawkeye.
- Martial Artist: A hero whose physical abilities are mostly human rather than superhuman but whose hand-to-hand combat skills are phenomenal. Some of these characters are actually superhuman (Iron Fist and Daredevil), while others are human beings who are extremely skilled and athletic (Batman and related characters, Elektra, and Shang Chi).
- Mentalist: A hero who possesses psionic abilities, such as telekinesis, telepathy and extra-sensory perception, e.g., Professor X, Jean Grey, Saturn Girl.
- Possessed: A hero that harbors an entity inside of him/herself, e.g., The Spectre, Ghost Rider
- Shapeshifter: A hero who can manipulate his/her own body to suit his/her needs, such as stretching (Mister Fantastic, Plastic Man, Elongated Man), or disguise (Kevin Sydney, Mystique). Other such shapeshifters can transform into animals as a means of combat (Beast Boy).
- Size changer: A shapeshifter who can alter his/her size, e.g., the Atom (shrinking only), Colossal Boy, Garganta (growth only), Hank Pym.
- Slasher: A hero whose main power is some form of hand-to-hand cutting weapon &mjdash; either devices, such as knives or swords (Zorro, Gladiator), or natural, such as claws (Wolverine), Thor.
- Speedster: A hero possessing superhuman speed and reflexes, e.g., The Flash, and Quicksilver.
These categories often overlap. For instance, Batman is both a skilled martial artist and gadgeteer and Hellboy has the strength and durability of a brick and some mystic abilities or powers, similar to a mage. Wolverine also fits into a healing category. Very powerful characters, such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Captain Marvel, Dr. Manhattan and the Silver Surfer can be listed in many categories, and are sometimes in a category all their own.As a parent, the best thing you can do is provide encouragement, cross your fingers and hope your little ones use their powers (whatever those powers may be) for good.
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