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The 5: Items That Grind My Gears

Ever seen an object in a comic and asked, "Why in the (bleep) does that character have that?"

A couple weeks ago, I went over some really tubular comic book items that I would love to own the heck out of! It got me thinking, what comic book items anger me? What items do I see serving no purpose? One of them came to me right away, but for the others, I did some serious searching through the object section of the vine to figure out what are 5 angering comic book items? 

 My cape is choking me...


No, I didn't just watch Pixar's The Incredibles. Capes may look "cool," but what purpose do they serve? They offer plenty of wind resistance, and they only hinder your speed. Capes don't always lie on your back after a long flight, sometimes they go over your face when you're trying to land. Then the bad guy can punch you in the face. It’s also something that the villain can just grab and take you down. You know what destroys a cape? Everything. Fabric isn’t cheap and the second the cape tears or burns, you have to make a new one. If it’s made of some sort of super fabric that shields you from everything, then I can see the point, but why not just make your costume out of that? Capes are worthless.

 It's actually Thomas Wayne's Harley.


You’re Bruce Wayne, and you are also Batman. You have billions of dollars and a vast amount of technology at your disposal. Transportation-wise, you have a boat, a plane, a car… and a bike? Why do you need that? One could make the argument that you could maneuver through traffic easier, but the Batmobile is pretty slim already. Sometimes I wonder if they’re just adding more vehicles just because. What’s next? The Batunicycle? The Batmobile is infinitely cooler, leave the hog-riding to Nightwing… when he becomes Nightwing again or Red Robin.


 You don't deserve a jet, a team, or your own book.

Hex Jet

Did you know Force Works had their own jet? Did you know Force Works existed? It’s essentially West Coast Avengers with Iron Man leading. 90s-tastic! Every team gets a flying jet: Fantastic Four, X-Men, Avengers, and so on. A chunk of this team can fly with their own abilities. It’s time to get green people! (why did I just say this?) Hop on someone’s back who can fly and get to the bad guy that way. Or go buy a reasonably priced car. They should really just carpool with Fantastic Force. Jets aren’t an awful item, but when it goes to a team of Force Works caliber, then I have a problem.


 Only Superman and Werewolf by Night can hear this

Superman Signal Watch

Superman has super-hearing, super-speed, super-everything. His friends, however, not so super. They’re always in some sort of trouble, and that’s why Jimmy Olsen, who seems to be better at finding crime than Superman, has the Superman Signal Watch. This watch emits a high-pitched tone, one humans cannot hear, when Jimmy presses a button. So Supes hears the annoying noise, flies down, and slaps Jimmy for using it… I think. How bout this Kal-El? Never leave Jimmy’s side. Better yet, lock him up somewhere forever. He causes too many problems as is. Also, can’t Superman’s super-hear pick up people screaming, cars crashing, and other nonsense? Jimmy has to stop sticking his nose into people’s business.


 Guys! Hop in! We're goin to the dunes for a beach party!


Traffic in the city is awful. We all know this, so why would you want a car as your transportation, when you have the ability to swing above the congestion? “Mysterio has the city gripped in fear, and only I can stop him. Too bad it’s rush hour! Oh no! I forgot money for the toll.” This doesn’t even look cool. The only counter-point I can think of is that maybe Spidey’s upper-body gets tired from all the webswinging, but since he has super-human strength, this shouldn’t be a problem. It’s like giving the Flash a helicopter or like giving Colossus a bulletproof vest. Unless Spiderman is going off-roading on some dunes somewhere, this vehicle serves no purpose other than letting regular citizens know that Spidey is just like them because he drives to work too.

There you have it, 5 items I just can’t stand. I'll be back in another week or two with 5 things I love or hate, depending on my mood.

What about you guys? Check out the objects section of the vine and let us know what grinds your gears!


 ~ Mat Elfring (InferiorEgo) is a comedian, teacher, comic store employee, comic book writer, and angry about Force Works... a decade later.  ~       

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Posted by Icon

They do serve a purpose, and it's usually to sell tie-in merchandise. The Spidey Buggy is a prime example. That was created for the toy. 

Posted by xerox_kitty

Ah, the decades of cheesy hero-related vehicles & general paraphernalia that just screams 'merchandise me!'... It reminds me of Christmasses past. 
As for capes, you're right.  The Incredibles is right.   They're hideously impractical... and a death trap waiting to happen!

Posted by Tyler Starke

I agree with the capes, too bad they look so friggin cool!

Posted by inferiorego
@Tyler Starke said:
" I agree with the capes, too bad they look so friggin cool!
"It weighs a ton"
Then why bother Dick?
Posted by Marshal Victory

Depends capes can have their uses.From gliding to bulet resistance as well as a negative morale efect on villians. 
Batcycle can go places a car can not.Easy to hide as well compared to a car.Spiderman dune buggy tho well um theirs not always someting to swing from on the desert?

Posted by danhimself

if it weren't for the Spider buggy than Old Man Logan and Hawkeye would have had to hitch hike across america

Posted by Kiwi-kid

The next Batman's vehicle ?

Look the Batman: "it's the perfect vehicle for him".
Posted by sora_thekey

I totally agree with the Spider Mobile, the Capes, and the Batcycle
Posted by Tyler Starke
@inferiorego said:
" @Tyler Starke said:
" I agree with the capes, too bad they look so friggin cool!
"It weighs a ton" Then why bother Dick? "
Haha in one of these issues it looks like he says screw it and takes it off whilst doing his signature leg kicky in the air thing
Posted by Decept-O

 Capes are awesome in a can.   Although they serve little purpose other than for a character like Batman who utilitizes it for gliding and protection, they are aesthetic.  I understand the reasoning but hey, like a lot are saying, they can look cool.    
I see nothing wrong what-so-ever with the Bat-Bike.  I think it's sweet. Why SHOULDN'T Batman have as many devices at his disposal as possible?     
The Spidey-Buggy was da stuff!  *not*   It was a fun moment in Spidey's history but they pointed out quickly how impractical it was for Spidey to use.  In those stories with Human Torch,  Spidey couldn't even drive the thing.  He never learned how!    Parker doesn't even have a Driver's License unless that's changed in his continuity.
Here's one you omitted:    Undies on the outside of the costume, the old gripe many people have.  Iniitially artists drew these because they based comic characters on wrestlers, strongmen, and other athletes of the time.    An affectation that doesn't seem will disappear but I wish would.   Give my super heroes pants!
Posted by inferiorego
@Decept-O said:
"   Undies on the outside of the costume, the old gripe many people have.  Iniitially artists drew these because they based comic characters on wrestlers, strongmen, and other athletes of the time.    An affectation that doesn't seem will disappear but I wish would.   Give my super heroes pants! "
LMAO! I never ever thought about that! nice one!
Posted by wordchallenge

Yeah the Spidey Mobile is ridiculous. 
 I've never liked the Bat-Cycle either, but I can see why he would have it. He's rich. He owns a Bat form of every other form of transportation. Why not, really?

Posted by AmazingSpiderMike

As a huge Spider-Man fan that I am, even I have to cringe at the Spidey Mobile.

Edited by defaultdefaultdefault

everything but....
Spider-Mobile= it was created for one reason...the exact one you said for 
Force Works Jet and the Bat-Cycle...except, it was made intentionally as a parody 
of the fact that every superhero gets a vehicle as a cliche'. thats was its whole reason for being.
it was a goofy Spider themed vehicle and to top it off, it was built by a company wanting to cash in
on Spider-Man (hence making fun of the part we're vehicles were made for profit alone, same as
your theory for the others). likewise it failed Spider-man miserable, since above all else he is a
crappy driver. in other words the writers we're intentionally making fun of that fact by making it.
and why of course they didnt keep it.

Bat-Cycle= it qualifies for a themed vehicle done for the reason of getting cash, that much is true.
best way to make money on the Batmobile. make two! but really it does have a good function any
cape crusader would want. sidewalks and alleyways. especially alleyways. the only way a driver
can drive a car sideways through an alleyway is if they situate it sideways first, meaning they have 
to ramp off something and in real life, this must be pre-prepared. Batman does do that alot, but
that doesnt mean his ramps are going to stay there, and Gotham has alot of alleys. Batcycle wouldnt
have that disadvantage.
the other ones pretty much suck yes.

Posted by Dominic Chabot

 Capes have their uses, what would a hero without a cape do here... hm? xP
Posted by inferiorego
@Dominic Chabot: lol... point taken
Edited by Dro
@Dominic Chabot said:


 Capes have their uses, what would a hero without a cape do here... hm? xP
I dunno, actually see the good part?
Once again, capes failing to do any good.
Posted by Precise
@Dro: Of his cousin?...
Posted by Dro
@Precise said:
" @Dro: Of his cousin?... "
What? That's not weird at all...
I mean, I was speaking in the abstract.
I mean...
well, you know what I mean!
Posted by E.I.S.A.M.

I like the capes, the watch and the motor cycle.... But there was never a reason for Spidey to have a flippin' car!

Posted by Cannedmeat
Once again a marketing ploy. If they ditched the exterior underwear we would be without "under-roos".
Posted by Fuloqwam

Didn't the movies give Batman's cape a purpose?  Gliding and junk, and he used it to protect himself against a huge fireball in "Batman Forever".  You're telling me they don't use that at all in the comics?
I'm a little more mindful of the rest of the suit.  C'mon, Bats!  A blue speedo on top of grey spandex with hooker boots?  Sure you use it to scare villains, but I promise, they're not scared in the way you think. 
Batman has a stealth jet that can drop him off anywhere and fly itself home.  What the heck does he need a motorcycle for?  To cruise for chicks?  

Posted by Decept-O
  Sorry, didn't want to really mention it but felt it necessary.  Oh, yeah, you've opened up a can of worms with this discussion!  Can't wait to read what other things CV users mention.
Posted by inferiorego
@Decept-O: LOL I have a pretty good feelings it's going to be more cape and batcycle backlash.
Posted by Mbecks14

i only agree with teh spider-mobile

Posted by Dro

How about Wonder Woman's bracelets. I mean, she can take punches from Superman, right? What's a bullet gonna do to her?

Posted by chowy

Besides Batman, i guess capes only work for characters that are somehow royalty
Magneto or Dr Doom for instance. Magneto doesn't get his hands dirty that often, he usually employs his magnetism, so they cape shouldn't bother him. Dr Doom as ruler of Latveria, being some kind of tyrant king, can use a cape, it makes him look "important"
For the rest of the items, i agree. BUT I think in  Old man Logan Hawkeye and Logan use the Spidey Mobile, and it was pretty cool. When this cheesy objets are used elsewhere, they kinda become a good reference, and they can even become cool.
Imagine an Apocalyptic Elseworld story were the only way Bats could communicate with whatever other heroe is left, is with Jimmy's watch. Then it wouldn't be that stupid, and it actually make sense, saving a lot of time explaining where Bats got tech on a world with no electricity. 
I think new stories don't have that many non sense objects, they are more form the golden/silver age

Posted by Risky

Hehe, you're so right about the Spider Buggy. The concept was only redeemed for me when I read Old Man Logan. (But in this one it was really great if you ask me)

Posted by burr787

Like a lot of the people said above, capes serve a purpose for Batman. Bruce used it to deflect bullets and hide, while Dick has a lighter model that he uses to glide and stay hidden as well.

Posted by EisforExtinction

1. Capes: Batman for example has a cape that is fire resistant. Go idea for the mean streets of Gotham where bums throw flaming garbage because that's what bums do.
2. Batcycle: Yo, Bruce Wayne has some coin. I like the fact he'll buy stuff and claim it will be used for crime fighting.
3. Hex Jet: Inflight movies are just part of the perks of being a super hero.
4. Signal Watch: Jimmy gets in trouble a lot. Superman likes to mess with Jimmy and give him a false sense of security. So when Jimmy is under siege by Intergang, Superman and Lois are getting busy.
5. Spider-Buggy: (A little play on word... even though spiders aren't bugs) Sometimes you go to get out of the city. Summer in the Hamptons perhaps. Peter Parker is a cat who likes his options (Gwen vs. MJ, just saying).

Posted by thatlad

Nightwing was Dick Grayson 
Red robin is Tim Drake 
2 different robins

Posted by Nyogtha

Haha, love the Werewolf by night line!

Posted by defaultdefaultdefault
@chowy said:
" Besides Batman, i guess capes only work for characters that are somehow royalty Magneto or Dr Doom for instance. Magneto doesn't get his hands dirty that often,  "
actually you might have inadvertently stumbled on the reason so many characters have capes.
to wipe their hands, and spills, and blood stains and what not. and sweat from their brow after
the workout of fighting of course. i think the mystery has been solved.
Posted by EisforExtinction

I did a list about objects that sound like private parts.

Objects That Sound Dirty

When you're fighting crime or making crime happen you don't always have time to name thing properly. More often than not you'll give an object a name that describes it well but neglect to think that name sounds dirty. Here are some examples.

1. Mother Box

My mother is a saint.

2. Boom Tube

A Boom Tube is created by a Mother Box and goes through an interstellar portal. Any questions?

3. Cosmic Divining Rod

"The device has the ability to detect and drain a Green Lantern's energy. It can then fire this energy in destructive blasts." Yup. yup, it does.

4. Vibranium

It's the ladies choice.

5. Brainiac's Skull Ship

...okay this one might not actually be dirty.

Posted by NightFang

The Spidey-Mobile the only thin I have a problem with.

Posted by the_orange_crush

The spidey-mobile grinds my gears based on that list. Although, I did have the spidey-mobile remote controlled car.

Posted by AirDave817
Christian Bale in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight is the only one to make a cape functional. All other capes = major fail.  
Adam West in the 1960's Batman is the only one to make the Batcycle cool - because of the Robin-threatening detachable sidecar. He also made the Batcopter, Batboat and Bat-shark-repellant and Batusi cool. All other attempts = collossal fail. 
Since the Silver Age (or was it Golden Age?) Superman already had one Daily Planet staff member shrieking like a little girl, he decided to give Lois a signal watch. Unfortunately, he had re-fashioned his late father's watch into a signal device and it didn't match Lois' wardrobe. It did match Jimmy's bow-tie...and his eyes... 
The alternative to the Spider-Buggy was to give Spider-Man a cape...or an invisible jet... no thought was given to a Spider-cylce...      
Posted by Justize

Capes serve a purpose. It blocks Superman's bright red ass whenever he's turned around.

Posted by ElectricPrune

I know it's supposed to be all ha-ha funny and all. I get it. And everything you mentioned is kinda worthless. (although the Hex jet could have a lot of uses in the field, for example a portable medical bay)
But they are all exceptionally cool and I'd rather be a superhero with them than without them!

Posted by Serpent

If the Bat Motorbike was something like a scrambler, small light and able to manouver throguh sidestreets etc easy, I could understand.  
They made them illegal to ride on the roads here because they make it too easy for criminals to escape the police without air cover, and theres a police division that rides them because it makes catching fleeing suspects/criminals easier.  They serve a purpose.
That big bulky bike though, doesnt.

Posted by Son_of_Magnus

Batman's cape serves tons of purposes both defensive and offensive just some writers like to forget about that. Plus they look super cool and that is all that matters

Posted by Yung ANcient One

I. Capes: Bats uses his cape like a shield kinda... to protect himself from harm, yes... he can use that material on his costume... which he does... the costume is 2nd shield... and Cape is number one... or vice versa... and He also uses the cape to hide his moves... u kno... hide his body so tha villain doesnt kno what fist will he use to punch and etc...
II.Batcycle: If his Plane and car breaks down... the BAtcycle is the BAck Up ride...
III. Hex Jet: people get tired... it be really dumb to FLy across the fight some disaster and show up tired because u had to carry someone the entire time... and fly... 
IV. Signal Watch: yea i dunno what to say...
V. People get tired... Have u tried to swing threw NYC everyday... A man gets tired OK... Leave Spidey alone... Why don't u walk all the time?

Posted by Xion

I love capes, but i will agree on everything else lol

Posted by Dr. Maxwell

The Capes being a stupid accessory to the costume originally came from Watchmen, not The Incredibles, Dollar Bill gets his cape stuck in a revolving door while trying to stop a robbery and is killed.

Posted by Archetype
@inferiorego said:

"Hop on someone’s back who can fly and get to the bad guy that way  "

This reminded me of the Ambiguously Gay Duo lol.
Posted by Grim


im not with you on a couple of these. 
Capes: Guys likeBatman use them as diversions. When you jump down from a roof on a guy, he cant see your body. so your chances of not getting shot on the way down increase. And guys like Superman use them to protect other people. Standing between someone and their explosion is only half the save, as the flames still wrap around. But if their wrapped up, all the better. Lets also remember that most of the capes in comics are made of flame resistant materials. oh, and the capes slow  falls. we saw that (though it wasnt as good as it is in the more realistic cartoons) in Dark Knight.
Bat Cycle: the idea is that yes, it is more maneuverable. The batmobile can be easily hindered by slim alleys and corridors. With the Bat cycle, you can  go several places the car cannot, including roofs, stair cases, and buildings like malls and superstores. i dont think the Batmobile can traverse any of those areas with as much ease as a motorcycle.
Signal Watch: Jimmy and Lois both get into tons of trouble. I dont understand why Lois DOESN'T have one. Superman cant actually be everywhere or hear the whole world. he has to cut stuff out. And he also has to chose sometimes where he will be, as there are often several crimes going on at once, and he can only get to one or two. The signal watch symbolizes priority. Jimmy has proven time and time again that he can and will do everything he possible can to save lives and uphold the law. So when he uncovers something too big for him and calls, Superman comes, becuase Jimmy is one of those few people willing to stand up for his fellow man with no powers or weapons. he'sa good guy who will save lives till the day he dies, and as a result, he gets a direct line to the greatest backup in the world.
but yeah, spiderman shouldnt have a car, and i dont think every team can really afford a jet
Posted by Emperor Gonzo Noir

Superman's reaction to overuse of the 'signal-watch'

Edited by MysterioMaximus

The Spider-Mobile honest to god doesn't bother me. You have to actually read the issue in which it appeared, which I doubt many have, it's actually meant to be an intelligent satire of the oftentimes shamelessly questionable marketing superheroes can be exploited for. Peoples complains of it are taken entirely out of context. It was intended as a joke. So really it’s not so much meant to be taken literally, more like a jab at the sell-outs aspects of the industry. Spider-Man begrudgingly took it on, knowing it was absolutely absurd.   

Capes don’t bother me so much either. I mean sure…from a practical standing point they’re usually pretty damn hindering. But common…it’s not really supposed to be realistic. It’s all relative. When I’m reading about guys who can shoot laser beams out of their eyes and blind men that can jump off rooftops, capes I can buy. Plus they have actually tried to make them more reasonable, like Batman Begins and the memory-cloth cape.    

Posted by leokearon

 Who remembers the flying Batcave?
Posted by EdwardWindsor

some capes have theer uses sucha as the hoods and spawns most are pointless, i never understood while people who could fly would use a jet myself  eitehr, and the batcycle is lame why would you ever pick that over the btamobile unless it was out of petrol

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