Power Mimicry = Power Gimmickry


Over the years, the big two have introduced near-omnipotent characters that have tended to be flat or have had very limited useful life.   Conceptually, the ability to duplicate multiple powers of multiple heroes simultaneously is great in principle, but it never delivers on its promise.   DC introduced us to Duplicate Boy, a 30 Century teen from the planet Lallor who could duplicate any power at will.   As he and his compatriots are manipulated into battling the Legion of Super-Heroes, he develops a crush on Shrinking Violet.   DC’s limited panels depicting his abilities include the following:

 DB is better than this. . .

Duplicate Boy effortlessly duplicates Shrinking Violet’s size manipulation powers will simultaneously copying Superboy’s heat vision to scare away a forest creature.   Seriously, this is the best you’ve got?   I know he lacks both experience and imagination, but you expect more from a character with this ability.   He should have been able to duplicate Chemical King’s ability to alter chemical reactions to negate the efficacy of the serum Mon-El drank to cure his vulnerability to lead while simultaneously using White Witch’s magic to deal with Superboy while continuing to copy the rest of Mon-El’s abilities to defend himself against counters from the rest of the Legion.   I know, too much, too fast, hence his appearance in a scant 28 issues.   

Marvel is guilty of the same.   In X-Factor Annual #1, we are introduced to Dr. Wolfgang Heinrich a.k.a. Doppelganger, who can take on the appearance and powers of any mutant.   He parries Iceman’s every offensive, only to succumb to a collapsing floor that could not bear the weight of the iceberg he created.   Again, is this as good as it gets?   Iceman cites experience with his power as the key to victory.   Personally, I think it’s just another cop out.

 Doppelganger could have been so right. . .

Marvel hasn’t stopped with Doppelganger, lest we fail to consider Mimic.   He has permanently copied the abilities of the First Five.   Now we have a character with the strength and agility of Beast that can control cold, fire optic blasts at will, fly at great speeds, and utilize telekinetic and telepathic abilities at will and the best he can do is become a bit player in Dark X-Men?   Copying these powers is actually understating his ability – he can control Cyclops’ optic blasts and exhibits greater control over other powers he has copied as well.   Marvel has also opted not to opine on his limitations (i.e. duration of power use, numbers of powers at once).   Given these circumstances, he should hold a prominent place in the Marvel Universe (be it good or evil).   If Mimic has greater control over his copied powers, why doesn’t he copy the Scarlet Witch’s abilities and use the phrase “ No More Mutants” to depower individuals?

 It's a shame, the way they mess around with my boy Mimic. . .

Power-mimicry has one ally – Rogue.   I believe she succeeds where the others have failed or have been poorly utilized since her character has been flawed historically.   From her introduction, she has been depicted as incapable of human contact as she cannot control her powers – evidenced by the permanent absorption of Ms. Marvel’s abilities.   She bears not only the burden of this lack of control; she also absorbs the memories and personality attributes of those she touches – at times resulting in an mentally unstable character that makes for compelling reading.

 Sage has altered her abilities - she can manifest any power absorbed - ever. . .

Should characters like Duplicate Boy and Mimic be better utilized?



As a longtime Legion of Superheroes fan, I've dealt with my share of useless superpowers (not to single out anyone, Matter-Eater Lad, Bouncing Boy, or one-time candidate Antennae Lad).  Not everyone can be Superman, but even he has had his share of lesser known super powers.  Aside from super-ventriloquism and other powers highlighted in G-Man's Off My Mind, what other inane and useless super powers have you encountered in your readings?  What totally useless super powers can you come up with?

 Sweet chin music or just a case of the munchies?

Riddle Me This, Riddle Me That - Vintage Riddler Riddles

Straight from the camp classic Adam West/Burt Ward 1960s Batman. . .
Can you smell what the Riddler's got cookin'?

What does a turkey do when he flies upside down?   He gobbles up
What weighs six ounces, sits in a tree, and is very dangerous?   A sparrow with a machine gun
What has yellow skin and writes?   A ballpoint banana
What people are always in a hurry?   Russians
What goes up white and comes down yellow and white?   An egg
How do you divide seventeen apples among sixteen people?   Make applesauce
Why is an orange like a bell?   Because they both must be peeled
There are three men in a boat with four cigarettes but no matches. How do they manage to smoke?   They throw one cigarette overboard and made the boat a cigarette lighter
What is it that no man wants to have but no man wants to lose?   A lawsuit
When is the time of a clock like the whistle of a train?   When it's two to two
What has neither flesh, bone, nor nail yet has 4 fingers and a thumb?   A Glove
Why is a quarrel like a bargain? (Molly)   It takes two to make it
What kind of pins are used in soup?   Terrapins
What is Joan of Arc made of?   Maid of Orleans
How many sides has a circle?   Two, inside and outside
Which president wears the largest hat?   The one with the biggest head.
Has Anybody seen my friend Kirsch? Kirsch Who? Gesundheit   (joke)
Did you hear about Greta Garbo? She dreamed one night she sprinkled six boxes of grass seed in her hair and woke up moaning "I vant to be a lawn"   (joke)
When's a donkey spelled with one letter? (Robin)   When it's "U"
When is a person like a piece of wood?   When he's a ruler
What room can no one enter?   Mushroom
What is the beginning of eternity, the end of time and space, the beginning of every end and the end of every race?   The Letter E (no answer given on show)
How much dirt is in a hole 3 acres square and 200 feet deep?   None, because it's a hole
What won't run long without winding?   a river
Why is a woman in love like a welder?   They both carry a torch (solved next episode)
What is it that's always coming but never arrives?   Tomorrow
What squeals louder than a caught rat? (Batman)   Several caught rats
How do you stop a dog from barking in July? (Joker's moll)   Shoot him in June
What is black & white and red all over?   Book
What has branches and leaves and no bark?   Library
The more you take away, the larger it grows. What is it?   A hole
What has 4 legs, runs day and night, but never gets anywhere?   The Famous Lion Fountains at the museum
What are more mink skins used for than anything else? (Joker)   to hold minks together
Did you hear what the maid said when the duchess asked if she'd given the goldfish fresh water that morning? (Joker)   No your highness, he hasn't yet used what he had yesterday
Did you hear about the kid who wanted to sell his dog for $50,000? (Joker)   He got his price, traded it for 2 $25,000 cats but you can't make a deal like that for the Maharaja because we've got enough cat's already
Why is a musician's bandstand like an oven?   Because that's where he makes his bread
How do you make a dishonest shortcake   Lieberry shortcake (corrupted version of 'library')
What do you find in a kitchen cabinet that is not alive?   Deadpans
When is a new car considered to be seedy?   When it's a lemon
When is a bonnet not a bonnet?   When it becomes a young woman
When does a Boy Wonder rhyme with bubble?   When he's double
Why is a bear like a fallen tree?   A bear lumbers and a fallen tree becomes lumber
Why is silk like grass?   You measure both by the yard
When is a man a stupid relative?   When he's a mannequin (a dummy)
Why was Flo Zigfield like a nearsighted man?   Because they both put on spectacles (Harold Lloyd)
What kind of men are always above board?   Chessmen
What kind of machine has ears?   A train, it has engineers
Why does a cowboy wear a tight belt?   To hold up his pants
Mr. Van Jones, why are you like a clock at midnight?   Because both of your hands are going straight up, right now
What's black & white and full of fuzz?   Squad Car
I know a bank where the wild time blows, inside out the puzzle goes   Points to Artemus Knab (bank backwards)
What letter is ne'er received in the alphabet?   The letter you put in the mailbox
How canst thou keep a rooster from crowing on Sabbath morn?   By killing him on a Saturday night?
PUZZLES (from secret writing)   points to the Puzzler's phone number
An aviator was carrying his clothes home from the cleaners when it began to rain. How didst he protect them?   He put them inside the hangers
(Clue is in a crossword puzzle in the Gotham City Herald)   a Basin Street Hotel Banquet, or a "Bank Wet" at the Gotham City Bank, it's flooded
When is a man drowned, but still not wet?   When he's trapped in quicksand
When is an eagle's nest blest best?   Nest Eggs; Anthony Aquila, the Latin American dictator
What is it that travels on all fours in the morning, on two legs at noon, and three at twilight?   Man
When is a floor like a puzzle?   (the floor under the duo breaks apart)
Why is an old collar button like an old pile of burning automobile tires? (Batman)   Because they both choke! (Robin)
When is a Jet Stream like a Daffodil?   (unanswered)
What do many boats, shovels, laundries, whistles, and hot showers have in common?   steam
When is the top of a mountain like a saving's account?   when it peaks one's interest
When does a painter use a trigger instead of a brush?   when he's a stickup artist
Who rules the ring, no prince, king or raja; look for a clue on the walls of Kafaja   Riddler wants to control the prizefighting ring
If we had our choice of laps to sit on, which would we choose?   Kid Gulliver's temporary lapse of memory
What have the following in common - hemming, basting, pearling, and tagging?   needlework
What's most alluring when it's lowest or highest; when it's in the air or in a hole; when it's served you yet you can't touch it?   an enchanting ace (introduction to Siren)
What's looser that a thread, a fish, flying ribbons?   A woman's tongue
What do bells, curtains, twins and hair have in common?   bells ring out, curtains ring down, twins are perfect ringers, hair comes in ringlets
Any aggressor should beware his successor   rhymes with Mushy Nebuchadnezzer
What are the chilliest 12 inches in the world?   cold feet
What suit of cards lays eggs?   one that's chicken hearted (calling Batman a coward)
What eats crow, yells uncle, and tosses sponges?   a loser
When is a prizefight like a beautiful lady?   when it's a knockout
What do you throw away that keeps returning?   a boomerang
You can just hear Frank Gorshin's signature cackle in the background can't you? His portrayal of the character took the Riddler from minor enemy to major foe in the pages of all the Batman titles.  Some of the riddles above are a bit kitsch, but certainly entertaining.  Your thoughts?
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