Nerd Factor: The I in Team

Mike Robinson, LC Communication Studies Professor~

Joining a superhero team offers tremendous advantages.  Membership has its privileges, after all.  Unless you’re a Wayne or a Stark, where else are you going to get access to a supersonic jet or high tech crime scanners?

 What better way is there to learn about your powers and abilities than a session in the Danger Room at Charles Xavier’s Mansion?  Despite the improved access to resources and training, superhero teams also cause a lot of problems that the aspiring superhero needs to deal with.  

Calls at all hours of the day and night:  Most superheroes already live two hectic lives, one normal and the other paranormal.  If that doesn’t complicate your scheduling enough, then wait until you join a team.  Some responsibilities are set up in advance.  The Avengers have their weekly meetings.  The Justice League will need you to sit down for a stretch on monitor duty every so often.  This regularity is deceptive though.  Supervillains strike when least expected.  If the Masters of Evil attack or Starro the Conqueror starts controlling minds by the thousands, then you have to get up and go answer the call at any time day or night.  Or you at least have to provide a reasonable excuse—“oh, sorry guys, I really want to fight alien starfish tonight, but I’ve got to cram for this exam.”  

Illustration by Genevieve Griffin

Drama, drama, drama: As noted above, the demands of balancing a normal life are tricky for most costumed crusaders.  This is particularly true when it comes to dating.  A good superhero should have at least one great romance going with some amazingly attractive person in their real life.  A team exposes that hero to a group composed entirely of impossibly fit heart-throbs in skin tight outfits.  Temptation abounds.  And don’t for a minute think that these people aren’t attracted to each other, which further complicates it all.  Most superhero teams are soap operas of burning passions and unrequited desires.  Do you really want to get into the middle of that?

Their problems become your problems: Hey, you’re a successful superhero.  You’ve got your own rogues’ gallery of foes to deal with.  But when a Red Skull or a Baron Zemo wants to wipe out Captain America and all the red, white and blue things that patriot loves, that villain isn’t going to walk past you because you haven’t met before.  

The inevitable jerk: Remember your annoying co-worker from your first retail job?  Remember that person in the dorm that nobody could get along with?  Most teams have at least one member just like that.  Moondragon or Quicksilver suffers no fools and to them pretty much everyone else is foolish.  They’re easy to spot but not so easily avoided.  But there are other kinds of jerks too.  Wolverine seems cool, but only if you’re masochistic enough to put up with the guy.  Oh look, Wolverine is mad and threatening the team leader with his claws (again)!  Oh wow, Wolverine is hitting on your love interest right in front of you (again)!  Oh great, now Wolverine has taken all the beers in the fridge and is riding off on your motorcycle to brood somewhere (again)!  He’s the best there is at what he does and what he does is not give a crap about anybody else, because he’s such a self-interest maverick and is so conflicted.  Whatever!  He’s such a jerk!


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