Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Superheroes of Science

I was bored, it was my first attempt at making a team of superheroes and I wanted to do it the way Carl Sagan would have wanted. Well, not quite (there's a section in the brilliant collection The Demon-Haunted World where he talks about his ideas for science-based popular entertainment, but you should just read the whole book), but the idea of the powers being related to actual science rather than endless dilutions of Marvel Universe physics is sort of there. I wasn't actually sure whether I was going to write full length comics about them (almost certainly not) or try to do a newspaper format webcomic as an exercise in ongoing storytelling and maintaining weekly update schedules (and you can read about how well that went here).

Either way, these guys aren't going anywhere - except for the Atom Twins (Nathalie and Nathan Atom, neĆ© Skee), who I dusted off when I had to create some powered characters for a proper superhero project, which is itself proceeding fitfully at best.

Superheroes of Science Super Team Go!


Can manipulate mathematics - thus ought to be a god except for the fact that the maths that define/explain the universe are fundamental and un-changeable. (Also, contemplating the large number of equations in any given situation and trying to find the one place where a change in variable might give the team the upper hand usually takes too long and results in a headache. Mathra! prefers the dark - because Mathra! usually has a migraine.) Constant and unyielding, although can sometimes prove introspective and indecipherable. Able to perform complex and thorough statistical analyses with consummate ease, thus providing a perfect defence against number waving pseudo-scientists and water-memory homeotards. Also, looks a little bit like Mothra.

Nathan/Natalie Skee:

First-Division monozygotic twins with powers to see, understand and control matter at the molecular down to the subatomic and energy level. Also have control over atomic forces (gravity, electromagnetism etc.). Individual specialisms as follows - Nathan interested mainly in forces and subatomic particles; Natalie interested in molecular and atomic interactions. Constantly bickering on such topics as 'chemists are just specialised, atomic Physicists'/'Physicists are boring pricks who don't know how to have a good time'. First manifestation of power occurred when Natalie manufactured a chemical trigger that stripped out her Y chromosome and replaced it with her mother's other X chromosome from a cell in the uterine wall. She was a single cell when she did this.


Created by/Pet of Nathan and Natalie Skee. Artificially intelligent bee swarm utilising hive-mind theories augmented with quantum computing technologies - each bee's brain has been evolved to have organo-quantum computing capabilities while high-level processing function is achieved through distributed processing across swarm members by means of pheromone and movement based data transfer. Remarkably high clock speeds can be achieved in this manner, although function noticeably impaired in low/zero light situations. BioGenesis-X is the biologist of the team, with a firm grasp of natural processes in both the short (i.e. living) and the long (i.e. evolutionary) term. The bees are able to manufacture specific pheromones and toxins to create desired natural effect on living creatures. Personality often shifts as new pseudo-neural pathways and distribution patterns occur with the death and replacement of individual swarm members.

The Ethnograf:

Covert operations specialist, The Ethnograf excels at constructing information about a target group through deep immersion and observation, providing he can obtain ethical clearance first. Operational flexibility combined with the fact that he often doesn't know the question that is to be asked until the study is months underway enable the generation of surprising information about discrete groups. the Ethnograf's one weakness is a tendency toward over examination of his own feelings in relation to the missions he undertakes.


Expert on describing and evaluating human behaviour and societal trends. Her power is proportionate to the amount of survey/discourse data she absorbs. when enough data from enough different sources has been absorbed Psycho-sys has been known to morph into Meta-mode. MetaPsycho-sys fires a really big gun. In this mode Pyscho-sys has the power to contextualise wild claims made by such Enemies of Reason as ITV News, BBC Breakfast and the Daily Mail. Pyscho-sys has been known to have fights with herself over whether or not her powers allow for successful and methodologically sound predictions on individual and group behaviour patterns.


  1. I love this idea - and having been to Uncaged Monkeys this week, I can think of a few thousand others who would read it too.
    I can only wonder where you got the inspiration for a character named Mathra!...

  2. You'd be surprised how hard it is to write actual stories involving them that don't revert to people punching each other in the face, or Captain Planet style moralising, is the thing...