Take the Superhero Test! (or, Excelsior!)

Land ho! It’s once again time to batten down the hatches and weather another installment of Tact is for the Weak, the column that did not buy a pirated copy of Mission: Impossible III from those guys at the comics convention. Nope. Never even considered it…aheh…

Last night, the exciting (if not a hint childish) reality TV show “Who Wants to Be a Superhero” came to a close. The Sci-Fi original series, helmed by the inimitable Stan Lee, has become a cult hit over the past summer. At stake was no mere cash prize, but a Dark Horse comic title and Sci-Fi original movie starring the winner! For devoted fans, it came as no great shock that the winner turned out to be Feedback (the instant audience poll reflected a 73% prediction in his favor), the die-hard fanboy (well, fanman) that literally grew up on Stan Lee’s comic books after his father passed away. Throughout the series, Feedback showed unmatched enthusiasm and dedication, along with unyielding compassion (he was usually the first to shed a tear or offer a reassuring hug) and an unshakable sense of right and wrong. He was, by every definition of the word, a superhero (hey, Batman ain’t go no powers, neither!).

And the rest of us feel like shlubs.

We have to ask ourselves, “would I have stopped in the middle of a race to help a crying girl find her mother? Could I have walked across a beam of wood a hundred feet in the air- blindfolded?” Well, minor trials aside, most of us do believe that deep down, we are capable of overcoming similar obstacles. After all, this is a comics column, and if you’re reading it, you obviously have some sort of soft spot for superheroes. And who hasn’t ever dreamed about having super powers and saving the planet? Well, in eager anticipation of “Who Wants to Be a Superhero?” season 2 (knock on wood), perhaps you should complete the following test before you rush out to the next open audition (this test provided by Tact is for the Weak‘s mandatory community service sentence for the horrible, horrible things it did at the Sunday School down the street):

1: You’re on your way to put out a tenament fire when you pass a cute, 20-something girl (or guy, for you ladies out there) whose cat is stuck in a tree. Do you:

A) Forget the cat; it’s not going anywhere! You’ll get it after the fire is dealt with.

B) Grab the cat and drop it off without missing a beat before immediately moving on to the fire.

C) Forget the fire! This is your one and only chance to impress a girl that might give you her phone number! Besides, it’s not like tenament residents are known for taking care of their homes.

D) None of this matters. I just tore a hole in my cape.

2: You’re about to fall asleep when a police siren screams past your bedroom window. Do you:

A) Jump out of bed and immediately follow the car (you sleep in your uniform, so no worries).

B) Jump out of bed and throw on your uniform while calling Police HQ to find out what you can do to help.

C) Stay in bed; the police are professionals and they can handle whatever the situation is.

D) Jump out of bed and run to the garage (you can’t remember if you locked the doors to your superhero motorcycle).

3: You’re in the midst of battle when you feel the glue on your mask coming loose. Do you:

A) Immediately retreat to base! A fight’s a fight, but your identity must remain a secret!

B) Continue fighting and hope for the best; you’ll try to end things as quickly as possible, but your identity is second to the safety of others.

C) Just take a moment and whip out your back-up mask; you never leave it at home!

D) Ask for a time-out; if your enemy has any sense of fair play, they should allow you this common courtesy!

4) On the city bank’s rooftop, you are surprised by a masked menace (after he has robbed said bank) that claims to be your arch-nemesis. Do you:

A) Try and talk him out of his evil ways before fighting; you don’t even know this guy!

B) Just get the beating over with; it’s obvious this guy doesn’t like you.

C) Get taken aback by how AWESOME it is that you actually have your own villain!

D) Yawn and leave; this nutcase will probably end up getting himself caught.

5: Your girlfriend (or boyfriend, or “significant other”) wants to know where you spend all your nights, and why you have so many bumps and bruises. You say:

A) “Sorry, but that information is off-limits.”

B) “Well, I didn’t want to say anything, but…I’m in a fight club.”

C) “Well, if you promise not to tell anyone…I’m actually a superhero!”

D) “Well, it certainly isn’t from you! When are we gonna get physical in this relationship?”

6: You rush in to an elementary school and find a hidden bomb in the gym. Do you:

A) Try to diffuse it yourself after evacuating the school.

B) After evacuating the school, call the bomb squad! You don’t know bombs!

C) Grab the bomb and throw it into someone’s pool before it can go off.

D) Get away as fast as you can; this ain’t no game, it’s a motherf**king bomb!

Well, assuming that you answered all the questions truthfully, you should now have a more accurate perception of yourself as a superhero. Here’s a key for those of you obsessive enough to actually keep score:

Mostly A’s: Definitely superhero material! However, you probably don’t have much of a home life beyond pleasuring yourself in front of your computer; go ahead and save the world, but make sure you air out your cape every now and then (and, while you’re at the computer, go ahead and re-read my 15th column, “We Need a Hero!”).

Mostly B’s: You’re a fantastic person, but maybe you should leave the cape at home. Don’t be surprised if people look to you as a moral compass, but you may need to get to the gym a bit more often before beginning yournightly patrols.

Mostly C’s: Nothing personal, but you’re just a civilian. Just keep on living your life in relative bliss while others with more awareness and power take care of your safety and well-being. If you hear police sirens, just get out of the way.

Mostly D’s: Yikes; not only are you a bad superhero; you’re not quite competent at being human, either! Have you ever considered writing comic books? Some notable people before you started with the same situation, and after a brief stint on MTV, have risen to the top of the comic book over-hype food chain!

Now, if you scored lower than desired, don’t stress; there are all kinds of heroes in the world; you just won’t be the one flying around in spandex. But that’s really okay, isn’t it? After all, you already have a meaningful relationship with your computer and a working cable service; that’s all you need!

However, before we go, it’s time to hand out this week’s Tactless Book of the Weak Award! This week, the award goes to… DC Comics’s Superman/Batman #29. The cover of the issue prominently features Superman and Batman deadlocked with Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and Kilowog, and the issue solicitation reads as follows: “Hal Jordan goes mad (again) as space villains attack Earth! And it looks like it’s catching when Superman and Batman are confronted with a rogue Kilowog!” Ugh; there are just so many things wrong with that! For starters, it seems like a low blow to flaunt Hal Jordan’s past sins in such a gratuitous manner (however, I’m told that it only seems that way). And, on top of that, the “rogue Kilowog” only shows up on the very last page! Do you understand what I’m saying? You see as much of the character on the cover as you do in the issue!

Gack. At least Ethan van Sciver’s pencils are worth looking at. Well, this marks the end of this week’s adventures; remember to check in next week as things continue to rock ‘n roll here at the Tactless House of Horror! Boogah!

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