Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Power Trip 4 - Technopathy

Oops! Missed out a power then, easy to do as little Micah's abilities don't manifest until late in the series but nonetheless he is there in episode one with his mother and thus deserves a mention. A bit like Hiro, Micah is also keen on comic books and superheroes and while taking a different slant on it to Hiro he does see a purpose and a place for his gifts and the gifts of his family, wanting to become a hero like those he's read about, though he quickly discovers things aren't so simple.

Micah is a technopath, which means he can "talk" to all forms of technology and get them to do what he wants, from getting cable TV simply by touching the set, getting money from an ATM without hacking or entering a card and even rigging an election. He has a command ofver all sorts of electronic devices and can interact with even analog devices such as streetlamps as opposed to hacking through wireless and internet signals, which is another power altogether.

As a natural power it is, in one sense, useless. Had it manifested a century or two ago it would have had no effect whatsoever and the "hero" would have been as common as you or I. I don't mind it being in the show, but such abilities manifesting through "evolution" make little sense, it pretty much needs design to give a power that specific. Another example would be Peter Pettreli's power, which seems to anticipate the arrival of other superheroes, but I'll get onto that later. I guess this is filling in for my usual God slot as there are no technopaths in the Bible, but powers such as these seem to require a designing hand which Heroes has tried to fill in with it's somewhat confused concept of destiny.

Micah is not the first technopath in popular fiction however and there are others who get the power from other, perhaps more believable sources. My personal favourite is The Great Machine, from the comic series Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan. In that series contact with an alien artifact has left Mitchell Hundred deformed and with the ability to speak to any piece of technology, from aeroplanes to air-conditioners. However in the comic book he has left that life behind and has revealed his identity to the world and cunningly bagged himself the job of Mayor of New York, where he feels he could do far more good than he did as a hero. but being mayor isn't easy, especially when you have a past that worries people and is also keen on coming back to haunt you. I'd definitely recommend this series to older teens and above - it has a share of gore and language so I wouldn't pass it on to younger folks. And with that nice little plug over, back to the post!

And that's pretty much it actually, technopathy is a fairly new, but not entirely original power, but I think the Heroes team have executed it well and chosen wisely in giving it to the kid as opposed to a combat power.

Sam if you know of other Heroes do share - I hope this colour scheme suits ya


Samuel Li said...

You missed out Forge (X-Men)
Tut Tut.

A figleaf of your imagination said...

Hey - that's your job sammy boy, you're the Marvel Ultimates guy - feel free to supplement my post should you so desire, but I'll stick to The Great Machine as he really is a great character in one of the best new comic series' around.

Hope the layout suits your eyes.