What if? It doesn’t matter that we’re a little older and a little wiser. We can still indulge in these childhood hypothetical questions, because they can result in some rather interesting discussions. If you could have a superpower, any sort of superhuman ability, what would it be? Going further, would you use this power for good, for evil, or just for a little bit of everyday convenience (and entertainment)?

Naturally, we need to set a few ground rules. You can certainly draw some inspiration from the powers depicted in Heroes and X-Men, as well as other comic book and graphic novel sources. I wouldn’t let the characters themselves sway your decision in any way, though, because we’re purely looking at their powers here.

Another ground rule that I would like to establish is that you cannot pick a power that allows you to have multiple or infinite powers. For example, Sylar’s and Peter Petrelli’s abilities in Heroes are off-limits, because they can have multiple superhuman abilities as a result of their powers. This rules follows the same philosophy that you simply cannot ask for more wishes when you release the magic genie from the lamp. It kind of goes against the spirit of the game.

Powers That I Would Consider

Far be it for me to call myself a comic book enthusiast, but I did watch a lot of X-Men and similar Saturday morning cartoons as a child. As such, most of my inspiration comes from that cartoon.

In thinking about what superpower I would want, I considered the shape-shifting ability of Morph/Mystique. Not only would this be quite a bit of fun, it could also be quite useful. I also considered the power of Wolverine (and Claire Bennet) with superhuman healing. In effect, I could live forever, but I’m not sure if I’d want that. A third power that I considered was telekinesis, or the ability to move objects with my mind. This is more a matter of convenience than anything else. Other powers that entered my mind were invisibility, teleportation, and time travel. But none of these hold a candle to the power that I would select.

It may be fun to influence the physical environment around you, but I feel that it is much more powerful being able to influence your fellow man. This power can also largely avoid detection by the masses, unlike the abilities of throwing fire, turning everything to ice, or running around at supersonic speeds.

The Superpower That I Want Is…

The superpower that would probably provide the most value to me is that of Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X), which also happens to be the power of Matt Parkman from Heroes. For those of you who are not as familiar, they have the power to not only read people’s minds, but to also plant thoughts into their minds, influencing their behavior.

Whether you work for the man or work for yourself, there are certainly advantages to being able to read minds and influence behavior. Having a hard time negotiating that raise you deserve? Just plant the thought. Want to get a better price on the hot sports car that you’ve been desiring? Just think it. Want to finally figure out what’s happening in the mind of your significant other? Well, I’ll leave that to your discretion.

If You Could Have a Superpower…

We all have natural strengths, weaknesses, and inclinations. So, I turn to the Beyond the Rhetoric community and ask you the exact same question. If you could have a superpower, a superhuman ability of some kind, what would it be?