Tuesday, May 16, 2006

His arch-nemesis: Nine-Year-Old Girls with Scissors

What the hell?Is there any superhero more useless than Doll Man?

I remember reading a couple of Doll Man stories as a kid, and I didn't understand his point then, either. What are his powers? Can he stop being doll-sized? Does his name inspire fear in criminals, or just hysterical laughter? How much tension does it take to suspend that much disbelief?

Can someone explain to me the point of Doll Man?

9 comments:

Chuck T. said...

There's an old issue of Power of the Atom, where Atom explains in graphic detail how his seemingly useless powers could seriously mess a guy up. Changing his mass to pull the bad guy's arms off, causing a stroke, expanding inside his brain and scattering it on the walls...
What does this have to do with Doll Man? I dunno, man, Doll Man sucks.

Daniel said...

IWASTAP should be one of those acronyms that we fans love to use. Perhaps I'll patent it. In this case, it stands for "It Was A Simpler Time and Place", and it's the answer to your question.

At least, some combination of that and the likelihood that the men who created those comics really didn't understand why some characters caught on and some didn't, and so pitched anything and everything they had just to see if anyone bought it. For every Spirit there must also be a Bouncer.

Ragnell said...

I know! When a monster is rampaging, and he needs to distract it, he can flash it with his boobs and...

No, wait, that wouldn't work for him either.

joncormier said...

Yeah, this may have been one of those hey wall, meet ideas, say a guy who shrinks to the size of a doll. Could that be useful? Sure, let's say you locked your keys in your car and the window is only opened a bit but you can't get your arm through. Yeah. Well he could shrink and get them for you. And not just cars, this could also be planes, trains and boats as well.

Okay, what do we call him?

Scott said...

See, I come at this from a different perspective - that of RPGs. What you find out from these is that if the character has any reasonable attacks (and Doll Man, being one of the many shrinking characters in comics who mysteriously retains a full-sized man's strength even when tiny, is surely able to hit as hard as midrange scrappers like Mr. Scarlet or the Red Bee), being tiny confers a *huge* advantage in two ways -

1) You're very hard to spot if you're trying to be sneaky, as in getting into the bad guys' hideout to jump on them from ambush, and

2) In most systems, you're very hard to hit, especially if you can hop around with that full-sized strength.

And then there's the times when only you can reach inside the casing of the ticking bomb, as noted by Minute (that's long u there) Man in that cinematic classic The Specials. Or climb inside your buddy to do emergency surgery on a blood clot...

Tom Foss said...

qrxerDoes he retain his full-size strength then? I guess that's something. The strength of a full-sized man compressed into a fist the size of a Q-tip is a good deal of pressure for a small space; I can imagine it causing some pretty significant damage.

Jason said...

Yes, Doll Man retain's his normal full sized strength when shrunk down to his 6" height. At minimum, this seems to let him jump pretty well, despite his small size. And to sock folks in the jaw pretty hard.

It's like people who think Bouncing Boy isn't that impressive... but if you see the Justice League Unlimited episode with him in it, you quickly realize the power of a 300 lb man slamming into you at high speed.

Tom Foss said...

I've got a soft spot in my heart for Bouncing Boy. Never will you hear me speak ill of a man who, even in the 30th century, gained his powers through absentmindedness and thirst.

Scott said...

Doll Man retained his full strength, but not I believe his full mass. The Atom, with his ability to manipulate size and mass independently, was fond of tricks like *jumping on your head* with his full 180 lb weight, with all the force concentrated on two miniaturized heels... surely a smaller surface area than the top two knuckles some karate styles teach you to punch with, and a good deal more momentum than any normal punch.

In short, the Atom was lucky none of his brawls ever ended up in broken necks or impromptu trepanation on the part of his foes - unless some did and he miniaturized the remains, knowing that unlike him they would explode/disintegrate after a while...