Quick, answer this question: what is the one best superpower to have? How many times have you been asked that? If you haven't been asked or had this come up in conversation, I'm sure it's something you've at least thought about when reading comic books. A quick common answer might be invisibility. That way you could walk into banks or spy on the opposite sex (both would be very bad and an abuse of the power, of course).
There's been debate over what is the best superpower. If you look, you could probably find a few different threads around discussing it. It's one of the biggest components in the battle threads.
Let's set some parameters. Let's say you're about to be given the opportunity to become a superhero in a comic book world. You will be granted one, and only one, superpower. We're going to rule out godly powers because that's just too cheap. What would be the best one to have to fight and vanquish evil?
== TEASER ==
Super-strengthWho wouldn't want to be super-strong? Imagine if you had the power to punch the lights out of any villain that came your way. It wouldn't matter if the villain had a shield or armor. It'd be like punching a wet paper bag. But would it be the best power to have if you could only have one? Would strength help if your opponent could fly? Hulk is able to take giant leaps but would that be enough to chase after your enemy? What if there was more than one and they split up? Strength may not always be the answer.
If I could fly, I could get to the office in time. Traffic jams and rush hour would be a thing of the past. Let's keep in mind we're talking about fighting super-villains. Is there any hero that can only fly? Falcon sort of fits that bill but he also has the ability to see through the eyes of other birds in the area. You could fly around your enemy but if they were really fast or strong, they might be able to take you out when you swooped in to apprehend them.
Super-speedMoving at super-speed would easily allow you to capture your enemies, right? Isn't that the Flash's main schtick? I'd say not really. I won't go into the time traveling ability the Flashes have had before and I'm not sure if all speedsters would be able to vibrate through objects. What would a speedster do against a villain with a forcefield? What if they could turn invisible? With super-speed, you could probably run and get help from another nearby hero if you needed to. But that'd be like going to get your older brother to fight your battles for you. You could run out and try to get a gadget that could help. Speed would be cool since you could avoid their punches but might not be enough against some opponents.
Time ManipulationIf you could control time, wouldn't life be really easy for a hero? You don't really see many heroes that can stop or travel through time. Is it because it would make things too easy. If you could stop time, you could stroll around or even build a barricade around the villain. We all know that messing with time can get super messy. Look what happened when Marty McFly went back in time. He had to make out with his mom. That's just wrong. Messing with the concept of time seems to be asking for trouble. Stopping or manipulating it too much could create a paradox or even break the timestream. That wouldn't look too good on your superhero resume´.
We could probably sit here all day and list every single superpower. Look at how many we have listed here on Comic Vine. Other high contenders would include invulnerability (good for defense but on its own, not much of an offensive power), immortailty (again, not much good if you don't have other powers or skills), invisibility (besides sneaking into the girls' locker room, you could sneak up and knock out your opponents, provided they don't have sensors or forcefields), telepathy (you could defeat someone with just thoughts as long as they didn't have a Magneto or Juggernaut helmet) or shapeshifting (you could try to trick your enemy but would you be able to apprehend them?). What about super-fighting skills? That's sort of Batman's superpower, right? Not really. He's got brains that allow him to out-think his opponents.
That leads me to my choice for best single superpower to have. I'll admit I'm a little hesitant to committing to just one. I honestly don't think I've ever really answered this question before. Maybe I've managed to avoid it or it was never specified that you could only have one. There may be ways around this but my choice would be:
Super-intellectWhat if you were super-smart? What if you could outthink anyone? You would be able to think of a solution to any problem that comes up. If you were faced against a villain, if you had a chance to observe their abilities in the past, you should be able to come up with a plan or invent some gizmo that could defeat them. Isn't what MacGyver basically did? He wasn't even super-smart. I'd say he was just really smart. Look at how many times the Fantastic Four have won because of Reed's fast thinking. Spider-Man's been using his noggin a lot more lately. You can even say it's Batman's ability to make plans against others that allows him to defeat everyone.
Without over-analyzing every single power, that's the one I'm going to stick with. Now it's time to let the debate begin. If you could have only one superpower to fight super-villains, what would you choose?