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Eric Sofer
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Joined: 31 January 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 4015
Posted: 15 September 2020 at 7:48am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

A thought occurred to me the other day as I was rereading my Justice League Archives. Two leading advisories:
ITEM: It's one of those fanboy geeky topics
ITEM: Since I was reading JLA, I'm using mostly DC characters. Feel free to swap in Marvel, Fawcett, etc. characters as you wish.

The Hawkman had just joined the JLA, making it Aquaman, Atom, Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Hawkman, J'onn J'onzz, Superman, and Wonder Woman. I thought Gardner Fox did a pretty fair job of writing stories that involved most of them, although at that point he was only using a portion of the membership for any given story.

I wondered about stories with Batman* and Green Arrow as well as Green Lantern and Superman. I started thinking about levels of powers. Usually, I thought of cosmic level, street level, and all the rest.**

It doesn't quite fit. At one end, yes, you have the "powerless" super heroes, e.g., Batman and GA. At the top end are Superman and Green Lantern - literally world shaking heroes.

But is it quite fair to class Black Canary or the Creeper in the same class with the Flash or Metamorpho? I think not.

So I want your opinions as to what "levels" of super heroes there are, and how to define them. Ground pounder, skyborne, and outer space capable? Area of effect, such as street level, statewide, nationwide, and interplanetary? How they would fare against Solomon Grundy, for example?

Let me know what you think. Maybe a couple of exceptions, too. The Flash is a non-flyer, but he's damn near the top of DC influential super heroes.

Use DC or Marvel, use pre- or post-Crisis (or other timeline event) - what do you think? And where do you put the kinda super powered heroes such as Daredevil, Dr. Mid-Nite, or Hawkman?

* He had to use Batman; this was during the TV show. Look at JLA covers from that era, and you'll see that the Masked Manhunter dominates those covers.

** Not to limit to just Will Magnus or Reed Richards... :)
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John Wickett
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Joined: 12 July 2016
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Posts: 39
Posted: 15 September 2020 at 5:12pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

You could create dozens and dozens of subsets depending on how specialized you want to get.  

Further complicating the matter is the fact that some characters are written inconsistently, or are seldom display their full power sets.  Flash is a good example.  We've been told that to enter the speed force, he has to move at near light speed.  Which means he thinks and reacts at that speed.  

If a character could really do that, along with phasing, lending & borrowing speed, etc., none of the rogues could possibly pose a challenge to him.  So writers tell us he can do all of these things, but he's rarely actually written that way.

With the original JLA, I would put Superman, Wonder Woman and J'onn in the same category.  GL, Flash and Aquaman would each have their own.  Then I'd put Batman, Green Arrow and Hawkman together.  Hawkman's ability to fly is somewhat offset by the others' special equipment.

Doctor Midnite I would place with the non powered heroes.  Daredevil's a close call.  You could easily create another category just for him, but if we want to keep it simple, then he also fits best with the non powered heroes. 


Edited by John Wickett on 15 September 2020 at 5:14pm
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Jack Bohn
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Posted: 15 September 2020 at 6:20pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I'll add that for storytelling purposes the
levels are logarithmic. That is, a character
that can lift (press) 1 ton can, with effort,
win against one that can lift 10 tons, and, by
redoubling the effort, 100 tons. A character
that swims at mach 1 (or whatever) doesn't
catch the badguys' sub as soon as it gets
underway, they have a chase.
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Mike Norris
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Joined: 16 April 2004
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Posts: 4219
Posted: 15 September 2020 at 6:22pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The Supermen- Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter. Multi-powers or in the case of GL someone who can create anything needed. Zatanna too. 

The Specialists- Black Canary,Flash, Aquaman and Elongated Man.Natural powers.  They do one thing and so it well. 

The Technicians - The Atom and Hawkman. Guys who use specific tech for their superpower. 

The Handymen. Batman and Green Arrow. No superpowers, but they have a bag of tech tricks and skills they can use. 




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