It’s amazing what some superheroes will utilise in the fight against crime. SFX Blogger Matt Risley investigates
After 49 years (and one thankfully repressible Hulk vs Thor 1988 TV movie), Marvel’s God of Thunder finally hits the big screen this week.
And I’m not going to lie – it’s Thorsome.
A large part of its enjoyable success is down to the way in which Kenneth “I Like Shakespeare Doth You Know” Branagh and co have been able to transfer even Thor’s most snigger-able, cartoony elements into a pseudo real world setting.
Red capes a-flow, portly Norse warriors a-bellow, and most importantly of all, Thor gets to swing his oversized magical hammer around without looking like an IKEA-stranded hobo.
And while a DIY tool may not instantly scream classic “supervillain smasher”, it’s a darn sight more credible than a whole host of comics’ other bonkers weapons.
MATTER-EATER LAD’S MOUTH – ADVENTURE COMICS #303
When there's something that needs eating in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call?
No, not Oprah.
Rather, the Legion Of Superheroes’ Matter Eater Lad, who has the unenviable superpower of simply being able to eat anything that stands in his path.
And, erm, that's about it.
BATMAN’S POLICE WHISTLE BATARANG – DETECTIVE COMICS #349
Bruce Wayne is a man of many talents. The World’s Greatest Detective, The World’s Most Disastrous Lover, and The World’s Most Questionable Adopter is – despite a gaggle of gadgets – not exactly The World’s Greatest Inventor.
Despite a utility belt stuffed with predominately MacGyver-esque doohickeys (the live action TV movie had the amazing Exploding Shark Repellant Batspray, after all), Detective Comics #349 played host to the most ineffectual of them all: the Police Whistle Batarang.
A batarang to the head is problematic enough, so we're not entirely sure why he decided to modify one to “trill like a police whistle”. Holy Tinnitus Batman!
DUNG’S DUAL POOP CANNONS – SAVAGE DRAGON #39
As with Lesbian Vampire Killers and Santa Claus Conquers The Martians , it’s hard not to throw off the suspicion that sometimes the gag comes first and the story second.
So when supervillain Dung attacked Savage Dragon with his arm-mounted poop cannons, you could see Dragon’s takedown one-liner coming.
“Eat Sh*t and die!” he cries as he uses Dung’s turdly terror to obliterate another villain.
Just to make things that little bit classier, Dung's alter-ego was David Peters; an oh-so-subtle dig at creator Erik Larsen’s long time creative nemesis, Peter David.
WRECKER’S CROWBAR – THOR #148
Thor, we take it all back.
The Norse Gods obviously have a habit of imbuing labouring tools with all manner of magical maguffiny goodness.
When demolition crewmember and all-round sociopathic nutjob Dirk Garthwaite goes on a robbery spree with his signature weapon, he ends up stumbling across Thor’s half-brother Loki. After he somehow knocks out an Asgardian deity with a metal stick, he slaps on his helmet and receives an indestructible enchantment meant for the God Of Mischief.
Cue a superpowered disgruntled MFI employee with enough clout to smash up superheroes as easily as he does wooden crates.
SPIDER JERUSALEM’S BOWEL DISRUPTOR – TRANSMETROPOLITAN #4
Warren Ellis' counter-culture cyberpunk classic birthed a world obsessed with filth, degradation and rampant societal sickness.
So it’s only appropriate, really, that its protagonist – Spider Jerusalem – prefers a weapon as disgusting as the thing he’s fighting.
Welcome to the “bowel disruptor”, a gun that can make even those with the most robust of rectums spontaneously fill their shorts.
While it was predominately non-lethal, its impact ranges from diarrhoea to “complete rectal prolapse”, often inducing unconsciousness (whether through shame or pain is debatable).
AQUAMAN’S HARPOON HAND – AQUAMAN VOL 5 #2
Poor old Aquaman – as if his unenviable ability to talk to fish wasn’t laughable enough, he’s the continual butt of the superhero joke (see Robot Chicken's superlative Real World: Metropolis if you don’t believe us).
With sales paling in comparison to his newly grittified rivals, Peter David came aboard the title back in 1994 to shake things up. He gave him a beard, stuck him in a cave, and took away his ability to communicate with the fishes.
Which didn’t really do him any favours when bad guy Charybdis shoved his hand into a pool of piranhas. One particularly nom-alicious hand severing later, and Aquaman was sent off the aquatic deep-end, strapping a harpoon spearhead to his left arm with a retractable reel for extra control.
And while David certainly had all the right intentions, a detachable claw hand is only really cool when you're battling Deadites – not cod.
DOGWELDER’S DOGWELDING – HITMAN #18
Trust Garth Ennis to bring us one of the silliest and yet somehow amazing superheroes ever created.
Peter Parker spent a good portion of his teenage years devising incredible and ingenious ways to make, adapt and sustain his infamous web fluid. In hindsight, he should’ve taken a leaf from Dogwelder’s book.
In what is surely the most insanely inspired weapon usage in the superhero community, this mute madman simply fights crime by jumping criminals and welding a dog to their face.
Quite where he gets a steady supply of pooches from is best not thought about.
CAPTAIN BOOMERANG’S BOOMERANG – FLASH #117
Pre-Geoff Johns, the Flash never really had a Rogues Gallery that could strike fear into the heart of a four-year-old, let alone a superhero team.
Captain Boomerang is a prime reason why. Capable of little more than making slightly different types of boomerang, he initially rose to fame after throwing a giant boomerang into space in the hope it would swing back and squish the Flash to death.
Quite why you’d go through the bother of throwing a weapon that would take twice as long to hit your target as a normal one is beyond me.
SKATEMAN’S ROLLER SKATES – SKATEMAN #1
How’s this for a back story? Billy Moon was a Vietnam veteran and martial arts enthusiast (so far, so clichéd) who just so happened to find a career in the roller derby. When his best friend is murdered by biker gangs, he meets a young boy who inspires him to wrap a scarf around his face and battle crime.
With roller skates. Not even magically modified roller-skates. Wheely?
It’s no wonder that back in 1990 it won the title of “The Worst Comic of the Past 25 Years” (courtesy of Kitchen Sink Press’ World’s Worst Comics Awards).
MAGGOTT’S MAGGOTS – UNCANNY X-MEN #345
The old X-Men trope about protecting a world that fears and hates you becomes oddly indefensible when it comes to lame-ass, rush-job heroes like Maggott.
If even the audience hates your paltry superpower, you don’t really stand a chance against the rest of the world.
After suffering from that most traumatic of superhero origin stories – stomach cramp – Maggott left his tribe in South Africa. Magneto summarily popped up out of nowhere and released two giant slugs from his body which he christened Eany and Meany.
They basically acted as his digestive system, and regularly burrowed in and out of his stomach to chow down on pretty much anything in their path, thus charging Maggott with superhuman strength and sturdiness.
So, basically, they were a superpowered, walking colostomy bag.