Top 5 Lamest Food-Themed (Super?) Heroes and Villains
Eating Our Words' own creation, The Brussels Sprout, is not included in this list, obviously because he's awesome.
Photo illustration by John Seaborn Gray
Surely you've heard of Galactus. He's the arch-enemy of the Fantastic Four, and he happens to be a floating giant with a permanent deadpan grimace and an enormous appetite. How enormous? He eats planets. Despite several attempts, he's never managed to eat Earth, so we're not really sure how he goes about it. Does he wander the planet eating each individual thing one at a time? Does he have some kind of contraption that harnesses the Power Cosmic to simplify this gargantuan task? Maybe a big ol' barbecue?
However he does it, the idea of a villain who could devour us all simply because he's hungry is pretty impressive. Not all food-related superheroes and supervillains are as impressive, though. In fact, most of them are pretty stupid. Here are the five worst.
Is he... covered in soup? In his underwear? God, gross. Just gross.
1. The Blob Frederick Dukes, like many early Marvel villains, is an ex-carny, having enjoyed life as a sideshow freak for quite some time before heading down the path of evil. His superpower is that he's just massively, massively fat. Unreasonably huge. The Blob is so fat, he has his own gravitational field, which makes it impossible to move him against his will. It's food-related because he remains one of only a few supervillains whose power exists thanks to the fact that he eats his feelings.
Every time he goes up against the X-Men, he'll heave himself up into the air and come down on Wolverine or Colossus or some other nigh-indestructible X-Man, and keep them incapacitated for most of the battle. Sounds like a pretty good strategy, so why is he so lame? Well, for one thing, he never lands on anyone he could destroy permanently. His power is being a crushingly enormous tub of shit, and he wastes it sitting on unkillable heroes until someone remembers that his head is normal-sized and punches him in the face. Would it be all that difficult for The Blob to come down on, say, a Dazzler or a Cypher or a Gambit or some other non-invulnerable hero whom he would instantly convert into a costumed puddle of gumbo? Apparently so. As far as we know, the Blob has only directly killed one hero, the Wasp. And he did so by exercising the one ability that absolutely everyone else has: he ate her. Stupid.
2. Matter Eater Lad Matter Eater Lad popped up in DC's Legion of Super-Heroes, perhaps history's greatest depository of worthless superheroes. Although among the ranks of such hard-hitters as Triplicate Girl, Bouncing Boy, and Shrinking Violet, Matter Eater Lad managed to stand out as the dumbest. His story: He's an alien from the planet Bismoll (seriously), who, like most alien superheroes designed in 1963, looks like Clark Gable. Bismoll, it seems, became victim to microbes which rendered all of its food inedible, so what did the Bismollians do? "Evolve a natural immunity to the microbes," you said? No no no, that's far too sane. What they evolved was the ability to eat absolutely anything. Yup, Matter Eater Lad is the first superhero we know of to land on Earth bringing with him all the powers of the common billy goat.
Matter Eater Lad also has a ridiculously high metabolism, so he can eat an incredible amount of anything; once, he escaped from a grain silo by eating every last grain in it. You'd think once he'd eaten the grain level down to around his knees, he could have just waded out, but no, turns out Matter Eater Lad is also a bit of a showoff. Imagine how much it would suck to share a headquarters with Matter Eater Lad. Not only does he clean out the fridge, he eats the damn fridge. You'd have to keep a huge stockpile of sticks and rocks on hand or else he'd start eating the house. "I'm sorry! I need it to live!" he would whine, and every day Superboy would get just a little closer to putting a sonic fist straight through the Lad's bottomless gut.
"Hi there, kids! Eat delicious, wholesome Jell-O™ Brand products, and always remember to show your enemies no mercy!"
3. Jell-O™ Man Imperviousness is a hallmark of the superhero. Superman's kryptonian skin cannot be pierced by anything save a kryptonite bullet; Collossus turns into organic steel; and even heroes like Spider Man and Captain America who aren't invincible are still significantly tougher than any regular human. What, then, is the single worst material you can think of to make a superhero out of? Jell-O™ gelatin dessert has to be pretty close to the top of that list, next to water or feathers.
Jell-O™ Man and his dog / sidekick, Wobbly, were the result of a lab experiment to create a 3-D holographic logo on a box of Jell-O™. Naturally, a nearby robotic lab assistant, jealous that he couldn't eat Jell-O™, sabotaged the experiment and escaped from the lab, determined to steal all of the Jell-O™ in the world so that no one else could have any, either. "You'll settle for off-brand gelatin and like it, assholes!" Luckily, that very same act of sabotage resulted in the holographic box label coming to life in the form of letters made out of Jell-O™. Really. Wobbly the dog is the J, and Jell-O™ Man is the E, L, L, and O. He tracks down the evil robot, detaches his own head (the "O"), and hurls it at his metallic foe. Now, we're aware that a certain level of suspension of disbelief is called for before even picking up a comic called Jell-O™ Man and Wobbly, but come on. By all rights, Jell-O™ Man's head should splatter ineffectually against the robot's hardened metal exterior and bring to a close the most hilariously brief superhero career in history, but no. Crazily, Jell-O™ Man's head destroys the robot, a sentient being capable of feeling. Wow. So not only is Jell-O™ Man a horrendous advertisement for Jell-O™ - demonstrating that the traditionally soft dessert can in fact shatter metal (and presumably teeth) with its might - he ends his origin story by killing his arch-enemy in cold blood.
What do Superman, Batman, Spider Man, Daredevil, and Charles Xavier have in common? They're all heroes with strict "we never kill" policies, but apparently Jell-O™ Man straight doesn't give a fuck. Oh, he also buries another one of his enemies in a pile of disembodied, chattering heads. Damn. You know, if we could have sold the character's movie rights to Ralph Bakshi, we could have had a drugged-out, balls-crazy masterpiece.
I'll never forgive you for discontinuing the Mustard Pretzel flavor, Combo Man. Never.
4. Combo Man Another example of a corporate mascot in comic book form, Combo Man is what we in the nerd community call a "broken" character. This is a character who is so much more powerful than the other characters that he can never really be challenged and is never really at risk. This is why superheroes have weaknesses. It would really suck if every time Superman got brainwashed by Brainiac into punching over buildings, Batman couldn't show up with his kryptonite knuckles and knock him flat on his farmboy ass. Well, Combo Man doesn't have a vulnerability to kryptonite. As far as we can tell, he has no vulnerabilities whatsoever, because he's comprised of about twenty of Marvel Comics' most powerful superheroes and supervillains.
Shoots webs like Spider Man? Check. Shoots eye beams like Cyclops? Check. Can fly like Iron Man, light himself on fire like the Human Torch, and punch through a small planet like the Hulk? Check, check, and check. Combo Man isn't lame because he sucks, like every other superhero on this list. He's lame because he renders all the good superheroes completely unnecessary. Why in the hell would anyone be afraid of Doctor Octopus, and therefore require a Spider Man, when Combo Man could instantly murder either of them in about a thousand different ways? Oh, and Combo Man would, in fact, kill them; one of the heroes integrated into him is the Punisher. Jesus. These corporate mascots don't fuck around. We assume Combo Man only lasted one issue because that's all the time he needed to rid the Earth of absolutely every super-menace conceivable.
5. Egg Fu Egg Fu is a reminder that you don't put too much pressure on comic book writers. If they ask for a little more time, give it to them, because otherwise you're going to wind up with something profoundly insane.
Any kind of origin story for Egg Fu would have been mind-shatteringly retarded, so the writers of his debut skipped over it completely and just dropped him right into Wonder Woman's reality as an egg the size of a house who whips people with his Fu Manchu mustache, works as a spy for the Chinese, and embodies all of the tasteful racial attributes you'd expect in the portrayal of a foreign Communist spy created in 1965. Yes, with his powers of racism and utter, utter madness, Egg Fu actually managed to kill Wonder Woman. Of course, this was back in the day when Wonder Woman's possession of a vagina rendered her a helpless buffoon who had to be constantly rescued by Steve Trevor, a.k.a. Penis-Having Man, but Egg Fu managed to kill Steve, too!
True, Wonder Woman's mom Queen Hippolyta brought them both back to life by reanimating their exploded remains (yuck), but still: Egg Fu, a deplorably racist Chinese Humpty Dumpty with a power-stache, killed Wonder Woman, who should have been able to kill him just by flicking an earring at him. He's an egg! We killed three eggs for breakfast this morning and we're not even a flying Amazon warrior! What in the hell kind of person would ever buy a Wonder Woman comic again after such a disgraceful loss? Oh, right... bondage fetishists. We forgot about those guys.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Houston dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.