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6/1/12 4:24 AM
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MarkRobinson
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Edited: 06/01/12 4:24 AM
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Typical MarkRobinson FRAT coming up:: 

An argument that comes up a lot in comic fight discussion is how a characters intelligence and prep time plays the major role in the fight. Both intelligence and prep time seem to be very abstract variables compared to something like strength or speed. 

In the past, characters that are supposed to have much higher intelligence have been written with get of jail free technology and strategies. "Well i created this machine that completely nullify your power!" or "I knew that you would expect THAT and so i did THIS!"

Writing has matured over the last few decades but sometimes we still get something that just doesnt seem right. 

For instance, we had a discussion going on in the AVX thread about the Ironman- bot's abilities. 

It had a Kitty Pride Phasing Defense weapon. That just seems... lazy. Not so much for Stark to create it but for it to be utilized in that manner. We find out he has it once it happens even though (to my knowledge) hes never had anything like that before. I think many of you will agree with me when i say that those type of plot manuevers shine a poor light on Ironmans potential. 


I think its fair to say that Stark should be absolutely capable of creating several tech weapons to deal varying threats. His intelligence is supposed to make other highly intelligent people seem normal. His specialty is tech weapons. So why not be able to have a magnetic dampening device to force magneto into other strategies in battle. Is that not reasonable? 

If we allow other characters power sets to continously grow, where do we draw the line for Reed Richards? or Batman?  

I know some of us just flat out dont like these characters but thats not what im getting at here. 

If we have forces powerful enough to create something out of nothing by virtue of genetic mutation. Why should intelligence take a back seat in the high power department just because writers dont typically seem to be smart enough to display it reasonably.   

How do you distinguish between what these characters should or shouldnt be able to do? Or if they should or shouldnt be able to defeat other characters? 

Is it wrong for the Leader to create a device to drain gamma power from the Hulk? Obviously there must be a point where its too absurd but to what end? 

Isnt the idea of Lex Luthor supposed to be the antithesis to Superman? His intelligence can stand up to the raw physical power.   
6/1/12 9:21 AM
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paw
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Nice post....will comment later

6/1/12 9:37 AM
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shibbytastic
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Edited: 06/01/12 9:38 AM
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In both marvel and DC intelligence is the ultimate super power. Intelligence makes Reed, Doom, Batman, Luthor and their ilk able to hang with the heaviest of hitters.

I like this. It makes sense that super beings can be outwitted. If super intelligence can be used to grant powers (Stark, Banner etc.) it makes sense that it can be used to take powers away or to counter powers.

What I don't like is when it's used to completely pull powers out of ones ass. The AVX issue that you refer to is an instance of super intelligence being handled wrong (well, avx is an example of everything being handled wrong but that's another thread). Tony pulls new abilities out of his ass without any setup whether it's an anti Magneto ability or an anti Kitty ability.

TLDR. I like super intelligence as a super power, but it sucks when it serves as an excuse for the writer to use lazy solutions to problems without proper setup.
6/1/12 10:10 AM
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paw
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MarkRobinson -

For instance, we had a discussion going on in the AVX thread about the Ironman- bot's abilities.   It had a Kitty Pride Phasing Defense weapon. That just seems... lazy.


Lazy, wrong and utterly rubbish on so many levels...and it still p!sses me off.

 
MarkRobinson -

If we allow other characters power sets to continously grow, where do we draw the line for Reed Richards? or Batman? 

Part of this should be character driven.  It makes sense to me that Reed Richards doesn't have eleventy billion counters to various superheroes because Reed sees himself as a scientist/explorer/husband.  It seems to me that the majority of his creations are suited towards exploration and problem solving basic human needs.

Batman is another story.  As a character, it makes sense to me that the majority of his devices are weapons.

 
MarkRobinson - How do you distinguish between what these characters should or shouldnt be able to do? Or if they should or shouldnt be able to defeat other characters? 

Is it wrong for the Leader to create a device to drain gamma power from the Hulk? Obviously there must be a point where its too absurd but to what end? 

Isnt the idea of Lex Luthor supposed to be the antithesis to Superman? His intelligence can stand up to the raw physical power.   

Maybe comic book writers need to take a page from game designers and not break the game by having a character just happen to pull something out of their @ss without any set up.  Honestly, when comic book readers start saying "that's bs!" and can no longer suspend disbelief, the writer blew it about a dozen steps ago.

re: Luthor
Yes, in theory, Luthor is intelligence to Superman's power.  In practice, it doesn't work out very well, imo.  Who knows how things are in the reboot, but pre-reboot, Superman was smarter than Luthor (having super-intelligence) - so Superman was, essentially superior in every way over Luthor.  For all the sh!t people gave Batman about not killing Joker, what basis did Superman have to not end the threat of Luthor?  Even if Superman wasn't willing to kill Luthor, why not throw him in the phantom zone with other criminals?


6/1/12 12:05 PM
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Leigh
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Intelligence is the best weapon in the real world too. If a man fought a gorilla, he would lose. If a man had 2 weeks to prepare, he might be able to acquire a shotgun or some other weapon that allows him to win.

That said, deux ex machina stuff is bollocks and pisses me off. I would be much more accepting of the story line if they showed Ironman installing the different defences before hand.

"Kitty Pryde is at the school and she has phasing powers that can disrupt electronics, so I need to fit this device that blips off the power and then turns back on once she's gone" or something like that. THEN see him use it

Just asying, "your powers didn't work because I have anti-kitty pryde defence in my armour" is bollocks.

In summary, show the planning and thought processes before hand and it would be much easier to accept.
6/1/12 12:10 PM
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None So Blind
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Best example of comic book intelligence:

"I did it 35 minutes ago."
6/1/12 12:13 PM
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BigWilliam
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The big problem is often you have a not so smart writer trying to write a very smart character. That leads to the power I just pulled out of my ass because the writer had no idea what the word foreshadowing means.

Good writers, smart writers now how to set things up so it doesn't look that way. Maybe a small panel where we see Stark reviewing dossiers and musing over how to counter Magneto and Kitty Pryde among others. That would have been simple to do and set up a lot of his counter measures nicely.
6/1/12 12:25 PM
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Kneeblock
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 Not true about the anti-Kitty Pryde device.

It makes a lot of sense for him to have it considering that The Avengers had prepped contingencies for The Vision in case he ever wilded out and went full Ultron.

But otherwise I agree with the sentiments of the OP.  The reality is that 99% of superhero comics fall under the "lazy writing" category.
6/1/12 12:30 PM
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Leigh
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Even a rational explanation would be acceptable but just saying, "i'm ironman so i had anti kitty pryde and anti-magneto stuff" is lazy and insulting
6/1/12 12:36 PM
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dizz
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None So Blind - Best example of comic book intelligence:

"I did it 35 minutes ago."

 I actually laughed when I read Ozy saying that the first time. Such a great comment by him.

Anyways, I agree with everyone else. It's not the intelligence, but how its deployed that is the problem. When they give a deus ex machina feeling, we're left unsatisfied. Whereas if we see them planning, building countermeasures, etc, then we can accept it.

When Stark just HAS countermeasures for everything, it starts to feel like Batman's utility belt. But if we see Reed Richards build a machine to neutralize Hulk or whatever, we're fine with it.

Intelligence is just as much of a power as anyhting else - it's just more difficult to write.
6/1/12 12:59 PM
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Kneeblock
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 I think the other thing that makes this marginally plausible in Stark's case (despite the lazy writing) is that he had all the files on super powered beings on record in the wake of Civil War and many mutants were on there from decades ago with the Mutant Registration Act.

But then again, Stark supposedly erased all those files to keep them from Norman.

So yeah, lazy writing.
6/1/12 1:18 PM
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paw
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dizz - When Stark just HAS countermeasures for everything, it starts to feel like Batman's utility belt. But if we see Reed Richards build a machine to neutralize Hulk or whatever, we're fine with it.

Good point.  I want to say that, more often than not, Reed has an "A HA!" moment and then we have a couple panels/pages of "you guys hold down the fort, while I get the thing-a-ma-gig working".  Which tends to work much better for me from a reading perspective.
 
6/1/12 1:54 PM
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Leigh
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Edited: 06/01/12 1:55 PM
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Reed is almost as bad

"I've never seen this technology before but if I re-program it, I can change the polarity and destroy that enemy that is destroying the complete Avengers single handedly"

*next panel*

"I've done it"
6/1/12 4:20 PM
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Hercules Rockerfeller
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For whatever reason, I can't quote, but i wanted to add on to what Leigh said."That said, deux ex machina stuff is bollocks and pisses me off. I would be much more accepting of the story line if they showed Ironman installing the different defences before hand.

"Kitty Pryde is at the school and she has phasing powers that can disrupt electronics, so I need to fit this device that blips off the power and then turns back on once she's gone" or something like that. THEN see him use it

Just asying, "your powers didn't work because I have anti-kitty pryde defence in my armour" is bollocks.

In summary, show the planning and thought processes before hand and it would be much easier to accept."


The perfect display of this was Peter Parker gearing up for his battle with this newest incarnation of the Sinister Six in Ends of The Earth. In the beginning you see him standing over boxes marked for each baddy.

But let's go back to Iron Man and his fight with Magneto in AvsX. People were legitimately pissed that Magneto didn't rip Iron Man apart "Hello, IRON man! Duhhh!" but wouldn't that be insulting to Tony Stark's intelligence if he invaded the home of The Master Of Magnetism if he went in with his regular armor?
6/1/12 4:24 PM
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paw
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Hercules Rockerfeller - But let's go back to Iron Man and his fight with Magneto in AvsX. People were legitimately pissed that Magneto didn't rip Iron Man apart "Hello, IRON man! Duhhh!" but wouldn't that be insulting to Tony Stark's intelligence if he invaded the home of The Master Of Magnetism if he went in with his regular armor?

All Tony has is his "regular" armor.  Because of the extremis virus, is armor is stored within him.  Maybe he could choose not to activate extremis and wear an older version of the armor, but as best I know all the old versions are metallic to some degree.

Keep in mind that Magneto has used the iron in people's blood to yank them around or render them unconscious. 

I really don't see how Magneto not immediately stomping Tony is anything but PIS/WIS.  It's just a bad, bad matchup.
 
6/1/12 4:31 PM
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Zenoplata
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None So Blind - Best example of comic book intelligence:

"I did it 35 minutes ago."
Exactly, Ozymadias is one of the very few examples of a super-intelligent character done correctly. His plot takes years to accomplish, and he's not just manipulating things from a technical standpoint, but he's using emotional leverage against people he knows very well.

Stark, Dr. Doom and Reed Richards are often written extremely poorly. They don't even give these guys any area of expertise, they're just hyper-intelligent so they can do anything they feel like with tech. At least they try to draw the line with Banner sometimes by keeping him attached mainly to gamma-projects, but Reed Richards can build a time machine, cure all the worlds diseases and then write a new theorem on quantum physics before breakfast - it's just as bad as Hulk or Superboy prime punching holes in reality, Flash using a time-traveling treadmill or Batman using a time-traveling squid, Black Panther putting Silver Surfer in the kimura or anything Squirrel girl does.

But all of that aside. How the fuck would Kitty Pryde phasing through Iron Man disable him anyhow? If anything wouldn't her refiguring herself mid-armor hurt her more than him? Kitty Pryde's power seems to have absolutely zero offensive capabilities.
 
6/1/12 4:35 PM
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Zenoplata
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paw - 
Hercules Rockerfeller - But let's go back to Iron Man and his fight with Magneto in AvsX. People were legitimately pissed that Magneto didn't rip Iron Man apart "Hello, IRON man! Duhhh!" but wouldn't that be insulting to Tony Stark's intelligence if he invaded the home of The Master Of Magnetism if he went in with his regular armor?

All Tony has is his "regular" armor.  Because of the extremis virus, is armor is stored within him.  Maybe he could choose not to activate extremis and wear an older version of the armor, but as best I know all the old versions are metallic to some degree.

Keep in mind that Magneto has used the iron in people's blood to yank them around or render them unconscious. 

I really don't see how Magneto not immediately stomping Tony is anything but PIS/WIS.  It's just a bad, bad matchup.
 

 Maybe if they gave it more of an explanation than "You think I wasn't prepared for you!? BLAARRGGHH! Now I win."

They could have Iron Man make a comment about creating his own artificial magnetic fields in order to neutralize the ones Magneto creates, providing him with enough time to land a single punch on Magneto - which should be able to take him out considering it'd be a big robot fist punching a regular dude.
6/1/12 4:37 PM
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BigWilliam
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Zeno it's been long established that Kitty destroys electronic devices that she phases through.
6/1/12 4:40 PM
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Zenoplata
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 I'm not an avid reader of X-men so I didn't know that. Not sure how that works, but sure, either way AvX has been terrible, especially with the way they're jobbing people out just for shock value.
6/1/12 4:49 PM
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BigWilliam
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Yes AvX has been terrible. And I never heard a real good explanation for it. But she has done it since her introduction. Phasing into computer terminals and the like shorts them out.

Of course they just negate it by giving every sentinel and now Iron Man some mysterious protection from her mysterious ability. Garbage in, garbage out.
6/1/12 5:48 PM
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paw
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BigWilliam - Yes AvX has been terrible. And I never heard a real good explanation for it. But she has done it since her introduction. Phasing into computer terminals and the like shorts them out.

She was created by Chris "I'll give them this power too" Claremont. 
6/1/12 6:18 PM
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Zenoplata
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 It's all making sense now.

I'd be more familiar with her if she was in the bad ass 90's cartoon that introduced me to the X-men, haha.
6/1/12 7:02 PM
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Hercules Rockerfeller
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Go back to Magneto: Not a Hero. In it, Tony explains that he has a custom suit build to deal specifically with Magneto. Perhaps that should have been an editorial footnote.

6/1/12 7:11 PM
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Leigh
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Or at least an AvX Fun Fact Phone Post
6/1/12 10:33 PM
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MarkRobinson
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Some of the great examples of intelligence being applied well in a story seem to come from more self contained books. Off the top of my head, my personal favorites come books where a single writer has had control of the character. Angstrom Levy in Invinicble, Qubit and Modeus in Irredeemable or Ozymandias in The Watchmen. Those examples range from having absurd technology to just being tremendously smarter than other characters. So i dont think many devices or preptime surprises are really off limits to the hyper intelligent. Especially when other characters are doing similarly absurd things. I dont think hating on Reed for creating a super device if you have no issues with Hulk defying laws of physics to shift techtonic plates is all that reasonable. 

Seems like we just dont like how intelligence is applied to stories at times. and i agree. Sometimes its just handled poorly.    


Outside of just lazy or poor writers,
perhaps the biggest reason that Marvel/DC characters tend to suffer is because the characters have been around doing ridiculous things for decades. So the old habits of them already being prepared with crazy technology & plans are just to keep the status quo. Just as a writer might with other power sets. 

In light of previous strategic showings, is it more correct for Captain America to know Taskmasters combat moves than it is for him to be surprised by them? 

Is it more correct for Doom to have a well developed protcols against Magneto than it is for him to be surprised by him? In a world with these character and a dude as smart and capable as Doom, wouldnt it be dumb for him not to have protocols for well known threats? 

Tony Starks mind is so absurdly capable, how wrong is it for him to go into battle with the x-men and not have plans for all of them? 

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