Tor.com content by

O'Brian Gunn

When Superheroes Use Finesse Rather Than Fists to Save the Day

Superman is strong enough to move entire planets with ease, but what good does his prodigious strength do against an opponent who attacks psychologically rather than physically? Dr. Manhattan possesses a host of powerful abilities, but yet in Watchmen, it’s a human who achieves what the misanthropic blue superhuman cannot. What good is Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth against someone who yields truth as a weapon and cannot be pummeled into submission?

Superheroes are dominating movies and TV shows, with no sign of slowing down. While I couldn’t be more elated to witness some of my favorite titles and characters become pop culture icons, I also want to see some variety and more depth. For instance, rather than saving a city, world or entire galaxy, what would it look like for an all-powerful superhuman to save people by communicating with them and better understanding them rather than fighting for or protecting them? To get an idea of the possibilities, here are some examples of superhumans who save individual people, all without using physical force.

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