Enhanced senses are part of what makes a superhero different from us ordinary humans – abilities like exceptional hearing and of course, an ability to view objects and distance in an extraordinary way. Also, physical talents like being able to run faster than Usain Bolt, fly through the air at will and having incredible physical strength. (Superman can stop a train in its tracks – literally.)
Laser Beam Eyesight
Remember Jack-Jack, the baby in The Incredibles? Villains are fooled by the infant’s cute looks but in fact Jack-Jack’s eyesight is truly incredible and one of his gifts. He can shoot laser beams out of his eyes – so is quite capable of looking out for himself when danger approaches.
No list of superheroes would be complete without the original and possibly the most powerful – Superman. Superman has a list of visual qualities that is literally quite staggering. He can see much further than ordinary human beings and as you’d expect, seeing in pitch black darkness is a given for him. Very usefully, he has both microscopic vision and telescopic vision, so rather like the best-ever but sadly non existent SLR camera lens, he can both zoom in on objects that may be hundreds of kilometres away and also see in incredible close-up, even down to the molecular structure of an object. Useful indeed. Rather more mundane in the world of superheroes, he also has X-ray vision, so can see inside objects and like Jack-Jack in the Incredibles has laser vision. His alter-ego Clark Kent of course wears glasses, which provides a good dramatic contrast to Superman’s super powers.
The X Factor Of The X Men
More recently, the Angel character in X-men has vision like an eagle. He can spot very small objects from a great distance away, pick out movement and pounce in an instant.
Spiderman is another character who benefits from having exceptional vision and usefully night vision. Again his alter ego, Peter Parker, wears glasses in daily life and only manages to cope without them when he becomes all-powerful Spiderman. (This glasses disguise is becoming a well-recognised plot device!)
Gifts Of The Natural World
It’s interesting that superheroes are given many qualities which animals in the natural world have developed to allow them to become more successful predators and/or escape their foes. For example the magnifying vision of a bird of prey. Although humans are considered the most intelligent species on Earth, we would obviously like to have some of the attributes of the creatures with whom we share our planet.
Charlotte writes for Direct Sight about sight and health.