Q&A #51 If you could have any super power, what would it be?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question β€” then open the floor to comments.

If you could have any super power what would it be?



I want to wield real magic. Because then I can do anything. I know, I know. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and Wanda is crazy and Zatanna has screwy morals. But look at Harry Potter. Neither magic, nor power, is inherently evil. Remember Wanda right before Avengers Disassembled?

She was a real hero. There’s a saying: What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? Even if I didn’t have the magic to back it up, if I had that level of confidence, I think that is a super power in itself.


Invisibility is underrated.

I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve seen this used as evidence that Sue Storm, the first lady of Marvel Comics, was created to be lame and anti-woman: Her power is that no one can see her. I admit that is a problem — if you’re assuming the viewpoint of the people looking at her is the only one that matters. And arguably, on a comic book page, that viewpoint is true.

But. There’s a big difference between being forced to be unseen, and having the choice to be unseen. Or, to put it another way, invisibility as a superpower means the power to only be seen when (and to some extent how) you want to be.

Maybe that’s all just a fancy way to justify all the times I’ve wished I could go about my business without having to worry about what other people are seeing. Being able to appear and make my influence felt at the moment it would have maximum impact. Sure there would be the temptation to abuse it (what better vehicle for spying on enemies — or friends — without going through the proper channels?) but that’s true of any power. And really, I’d be less likely to use it for unethical reasons (real life affords enough opportunities to spy or eavesdrop and I mostly don’t use them because I don’t want to be that person) as to avoid those bits of busy work that get dropped in your lap from walking in the door at the wrong time.

Thinking about it, Sue Storm has kids, a husband, and a couple of particularly trying roommates, one of whom is her brother. It’s to her credit she doesn’t decide to disappear more often.


I’m not delusional. I know that superpowers don’t really exist. But I’d be lying if I said I’ve never tried to use them anyway. After all, what could be worse than having superpowers and never using them because you don’t realize they’re there? It’s worth at least checking, right?

At various points in my life, I’ve attempted to access hidden powers of phasing, invisibility, telepathy, flight, shapeshifting, weather manipulation, and energy blasts, among other things. But by far the power I try to access most often is telekinesis. Call it laziness; call it impatience — all I know is, there have been far too many occasions in my life that have led me to reach out mentally for an object across a room, and then bemoan the fact that “my telekinesis still hasn’t kicked in.”

TK is a useful battle power, and it also provides limited flight capabilities, both of which would be fun to play with and/or use to fight evil. But mostly, I’d use telekinesis to make my daily routine just a little bit easier.


Superpowers I have tried to see if I had: Telepathy, Empathy, Pyrokinesis, Telekinesis, Phasing, Energy Blasts

Superpowers I realized I never ever want in a million years: Telepathy, Empathy, Pyrokinesis, Telekinesis, Phasing, Energy Blasts

Superpower I want:

Well, see, that’s the thing. I don’t want any superpowers. I’ve read too many comics to want them. Also, I was affected at a very young age by Firestarter and Carrie, by Stephen King. (Also by Lois Duncan’s The Third Eye. Nothing good comes of powers in these books.) I have a firm belief that the side effects of the powers are not worth the gain. I really, really, REALLY don’t want to know what my partner is not-saying when we’re disagreeing. I trust that whatever is unsaid is unsaid for a reason — after all, I know the things I think but do not say, and I don’t want to hear the equivalent from other people. Nor do I want to know what people I care about are feeling all the time. Ugh. I mean, that would just suck. Being a parent is already too much like having one’s heart and emotions out wandering around to be nicked and bruised by everything. I don’t want any MORE of that. And as for the kinetic-type powers? I really don’t want any accidents involving a lapse of concentration causing damage.

And, let it be said, I do not want to spend the rest of my life in a government or corporate lab under heavy sedation, forced to perform for my new owners, thank you very much. (Yes, I also read Warren Ellis’s Ruins, and it scarred me.)

The superpower I want these days is best exemplified by Cal Lightman on the tv show “Lie to Me.” Cal can read people’s faces. He has a real-world ability — the skill to read microexpressions and understand their meaning — at a wholly unrealistic level. His ability to determine if someone is lying or not is preternatural. I would really like that ability, at his supernatural level of skill. That’s superpower enough for me.

If you could have any super power, what would it be?

  • Sam

    Oooh, TK is a good one. My first response when Anika told me the question was: “I wanna be Bobby Drake.”

    I think his powers, especially now that they’re classified as hydrokinesis and not just ice-stuff, are pretty awesome, very versatile, and have limited side effects (except for that one time, but it wasn’t his fault!). He can surf on ice bridges, has an unlimited supply of snowballs, even in summer, and can turn his body into walking, spiky, armor of doom. Also he can move through rivers now. And become mist. That’s pretty cool.

  • Caroline

    You know all this, “Don’t access your powers because they will destroy you with the unintended consequences” is just The Man trying to keep us down, right?

  • I’m with Jen – telekinisis! (I used to say telepathy, but I changed my mind.) But seriously, telekinisis would be great, especially when I have to shelve all the books in the universe.

  • Caroline

    Jen, Margot — even after our experiences in Golden Gate Park, no one is saying teleportation???

  • Anika

    @Caroline – Teleportation was a finalist for me. But I can magically teleport. It is called disapparation πŸ˜‰

  • Quagga

    I would love to be able to stop time and motion. A little like hiro from Heroes. I would like the ability to be very specific. As in, if I only wanted 1 particular person except me to be “acting normally” then I could do so. Or 2 people 3 etc etc. Along with this I would love mind control. So that people would do exactly what I wanted. And lastly ability to make people lose their recent memories.
    Primarily though, time and spac : )

  • @Caroline I can’t believe I forgot teleportation! TK slightly wins over that for me, but it definitely belongs on the list of “powers I have tried to use, just in case I have them.” So useful!

  • First off SIGRID:
    GOOD NEWS! Lie to Me is based on the work of Paul Ekman http://www.paulekman.com/ and is a science I, too have been interested in for a long time.

    Darren Brown also has some pretty amazing super powers as well.

    I, myself, have a pretty strong charisma and can read people instantly and, when I was younger and to my embarrassment now, did not always use for those powers for good… as it were.

    I believe that each of us has GENUINE super power waiting to be developed. Whether this be an acute attention to detail, Highly effective leadership skills, or even the ability to make others better in what they do by being in their lives.

    Now having said all that Magneto’s powers are pretty awesome – even though Im a DC guy. πŸ˜›

  • I have two stock answers to this question:

    1: Teleportation
    2: Universal Translator

    The two go pretty well together, but if I had to pick only one I’d go for the teleportation most of the time. It would greatly aid in the problems of living a thousand miles and more from most of my friends, getting in to work when I’d otherwise be snowed in, and juuuuust maybe working for NASA to assist in some vastly cheaper manned space exploration. It is a power that has a good amount of every-day utility, depending on how under-cover it has to be.

    Universal Translation is simply being able to understand and speak any language. It is the handwaveium used by both Dr. Who and Star Trek. Its day to day utility wouldn’t be immense, probably limited to foreign-language news sources, but would expand travel possibilities.

    But if ‘magic’ were on the list, that could do all of this and more given sufficient training and power.

  • bewize

    @Sam – Plus, think about it. Bobby Drake is practically indestructible. I’m also wondering what this will mean for his aging and his lifespan. If he can repair himself indefinitely, he’s also immortal. (Why won’t comics deal with some of those issues???)

    For myself, it would be cloning myself. There is so much I want to see and do and I can’t fit it into one lifetime with just one me. I need hundreds of me to get it all done. Bwahahahahaha!

  • Sam

    @Bewize – Totally. He’s one of the most powerful mutants on the planet, but he doesn’t have the baggage of Jean Grey or Cable (he’s got different baggage!). I’m of the opinion that when he’s icy (or watery or misty) he doesn’t age at all, which would slow down his natural aging. And, yeah, he could just go ice and repair any cellular “damage” cause by aging when he gets too old. But that’s fanon. Is Bobby even IN any comics right now? If he were, I’d read them.

  • @Sam Bobby was in the latest issue of Uncanny, I’m pretty sure. I miss X-Men First Class :-/.

  • @Caroline Teleportation is #2 on the list of powers I want. Followed closely by flight.

    But telekinisis would make my life so much easier.

  • sigrid

    @Caroline It is not a plot of The Man! I can’t help thinking these things! πŸ˜›

    @Peter Pixie Yes, I know — I have the cd/rom workbook to learn how to do it!

  • Sam

    @Caroline Hm, maybe I’ll skim it while in the shop on Wednesday and see if it’s worth a pick up. His Origins book was meh (as I mentioned). I’d rather see more Bobby and less… actually, I don’t read any mutant titles besides New Mutants, so I don’t even know who’s involved anymore.

  • Teleportation is a definite contender, although after all my moving and boxes last month, super strength or super speed wouldn’t have gone amiss either.

    But I stand by what I said earlier on twitter. I think Legion’s Triplicate Girl had vastly underrated powers. She was the original multitasker.

  • I’d like Luke Cage’s power. To be indestructable. I think that would raise my level of confidence through the roof πŸ˜€

  • Selena

    Teleportation is a strong contender for me. But I actually like the process of travelling, whether by train, car, ship or plane.

    My superpower of choice would be the ability to heal. Which would probably give me a god complex plus ensuing breakdown/insanity in the long run, but still. Superhealing (of other people) is my way to go. See, I remember one of my aunts and my dad’s secretary dying of cancer.

  • I cannot be the only one who wants the power to blow things up with my mind, right?

    Just for the sheer awesomeness of it?

  • Dan

    I have given this question a lot of thought (be quiet!).

    My usual answers are either invisibility or teleportation. But, recently, it’s occurred to me that there is one power that pretty much lets you do almost anything: super speed.

    You need teleportation when you can get from point A to point B in the blink of an eye. You can move faster than the eye can see, so you’re basically invisible. Vibrate your body fast enough…phasing. Super strength? Bah…throw a few hundred punches in the span of a second and you can take down almost anyone.

    Yeah…super speed.

  • I usually say flight when this question comes up, and really, if I had to pick among the usual batch of superpowers, this would be my choice, even though it barely even makes you a superhero – everyone can fly, and they all do something else besides.

    But I recently realized that what I really want is the power of musical theater. Whatever the demon in the Buffy musical episode has, or the Music Meister in that one episode of BTBATB – I want that. I want to make the people around me burst into highly choreographed musical numbers to reflect my feelings. It would be super useful for fighting crime! If I want to get away from a bad guy, I start up a big ensemble number and use it as cover. If I want to know who the culprit is, I make him sing a confession. If I need to get something complicated done or in a hurry, or learn something that usually takes forever, MONTAGE NUMBER. I would be UNSTOPPABLE, and also really ridiculously happy.

  • Marshall

    I’d like telekinesis.

    Preferably, Phoenix-level telekinesis, where I can re-arrange my clothes at a whim, fly, stop bullets, and all that other cool shit. It’s all about manipulating molecules, baby!

  • @Dan I can see your point, but it would have to be a DC sort of super-speed, where you can turn it off when you’re not using it and don’t feel like the whole world is at a crawl. Not “standing behind the slow person at the ATM” Quicksilver-style superspeed.

    @Jess Oh, I would take that power in a HEARTBEAT. Great idea.

    @Marshall Yes, that’s the other advantage of telekinesis — what I like to call “sparkly dress power.” I want to rearrange my clothes and make items out of the raw materials of others!

  • melanie

    I want TK/PK. It is awesome!