Is there a superhuman character that while not necessarily selfish or evil, just feels no compulsion to use their powers for the greater good? They don’t break laws or feel they are above the law, they just don’t feel obligated to enforce it in a hero’s role. And do any of them use their powers fairly consistently (not like Clark Kent occasionally speed typing a story at the last minute) just for routine tasks like housecleaning and commuting to their non-hero jobs?
Does Samantha Stephens in Bewitched count?
The Incredible Hulk has vast powers, is utterly unstoppable, and is a completely unguided missile, if ya know what I mean.
Eminem: ‘if I could only use these powers for good, I wouldn’t, not even if I could.’
There was an old coke commercial where the mom’s a superhero, but she forgot to buy soda, so she flies to the store and buys it, and she flies home, and then uses her super icy breath to make her kids soda cold as they walk in the door.
In ‘The Incredibles’, didn’t the mom use her powers for housework? Maybe not…
Most of Marvel’s mutants just want to be left alone. Well…wanted.
Marvel and DC both have a number of superhumans who sell their abilities as bodyguards, stuntmen, mercenaries and the like, but don’t have any particular desire to work for the good of humanity unless they get payed for it. (Ignoring assassins, superpowered cops and supersoldiers, who are a different class.)
Marvel’s New Universe, many of the Paranormals - particularly DP7 and Psiforce - mostly just tried to keep people from capturing and exploiting them.
I remember that the Marvel character Dazzler at first had no desire to be anything but a singer/dancer. She used her power of converting sound into light as part of her stage act. She ended up getting dragged into various escapades against her will.
IIRC, Paladin is only **almost ** a superhero; he on occasion foils a crime, but only because he’s using his super-strength to earn an honest paycheck as a bodyguard.
And then there’s the staff at She-Hulk’s law office: a shapeshifter who uses his powers to play process server, a speedster who does courier work, and so on.
The closest I can remember was Major Bummer
These are exactly what I was looking for. I was just thinking if I had powers if I would feel like being a hero or not. I think I might just use them to make my work easier and stuff. But I probably would be guilted into hero work.
Blue Trinity started out as a trio of Soviet speedsters, but emigrated to the US and became The Kapitalist Kouriers. This lasted until their speed cut out when one of them was running up a building. Splat.
Check out some of the Astro City comics for some metahumans who aren’t… Well… Superheroes. And some fantastic storylines.
In Rising Stars by J. Michael Strazcynski, several of the “Specials” had super-powers that didn’t facilitate becoming superheroes (or villains, for that matter). Paula Ramirez had the most beautiful voice in the world, and staged insanely popular concerts for the insanely wealthy to raise money for various good causes. Chandra had the power to appear to everyone as the perfect woman, no matter what each individual thought that should entail, but I forgot exactly what she did with that ability. One guy had the power to communicate with the dead, but he went into seclusion and edged into madness because he couldn’t escape ghosts trying to talk with him. JMS had several other ironic displays of super powers in that series.
The supporting cast and background characters in Alan Moore’s TOP TEN; i.e., the minor criminals, prostitutes, lawyers, pizza delivery people, drunken gods, drunken club ravers, gladiatorial contestants, switchboard operators, discriminated robots and bartenders.
I remember one of the Rising Stars had a virtually worthless form of invulnerability. His skin as well as his gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts were shielded by a thin imprenetrable force field that blocked all physical force so effectively that he could barely feel anything. And he ended up getting murdered by being tied to a chair and having his mouth and nose covered with duct tape.
Spiderman, prior to Uncle Ben’s murder, is the classic example.
Dr Manhattan, in Watchman, grew increasingly isolated from human society over the years and began acting like he didn’t care if bad things happened.
Several of the superpowered people in the Wild Cards series decided to either ignore their powers or use them for something other than fighting crime.
Come to think of it, in “Watchmen”, pretty much all of the superheroes are mere mortals: Rorschach has the skills of a professional thief and a knack for interrogation tactics, Ozymandias is a top athlete with an incredibly high IQ, and so on. Apart from Doctor Manhattan, who works entirely for the government, the only genuine superhuman on the planet is Robert Deschaines: a celebrity psychic who, yes, really does have amazing mental powers, but leaves the crimefighting to guys like Nite Owl – because, well, Nite Owl went through police training, and learned how to box, and spent a lot of time at the gym when he wasn’t at the pistol range; Deschaines is just a guy who can perform stage magic inhumanly well.
2 examples from the mentioned Wild Cards series : “Fat Man”, who after a very short stint heroing gave it up and ran a restaurant; and an unnamed man who’s power is the ability to eat anything, and uses it to save on food bills.
From an old Spider Man comic, a big, macho construction worker who was bitten by an irradiated rabbit and gained rabbit powers - and wanted nothing to do with them.
A major chunk of the population of David Weber’s 5th Imperium ( eventually, all ), where many millions of people are “bioenhanced” into superhuman capabilities; most of whom are just otherwise normal people. They use their “powers” all the time; downloading data into their minds, picking up a whole bed without dissassembling it and carrying it off, tweaking their adrenaline levels, setting up a personal force field to repel rain; that sort of thing.
And let’s face it, If I could lift a city bus and bullets bounced off me, how exactly would I fight crime? Walk around in a bad part of town and hope a mugger jumps me? I’d have to go to the police or the FBI academy and learn how to actually enforce laws. Physical capabilities don’t factor in as much as training, experience and brains.
Unless you’re satisfied with being a one-man SWAT team.
Or a One Man Army Corp.
That reminds me of several that should have come to mind. >_<
In the Legion of Superheroes, several members are of races with inherant powers, and, save for the Legionnaires themselves, and the science police (and, occasionally, in times of war, one assumes), they don’t use them for crimefighting/heroics.
Most Braalians use their magnetic powers for mining, refining and working metals, and playing Magnoball. (And weilding weapons, but that’s mostly a criminal act.)
Imskian shrinking, the Bismolian ability to eat anything, Durlan shape-shifting, and in some continuities, Carggite splitting, are survival traits, at their core, but somewhat useful for other things, sometimes - Imskians are good with micro-electronics, and there is at least one (no longer in canon) example of a Durlan actress (saves on makeup!).
Titanian telepathy, and Bgztlian phasing are more or less neutral traits. While Titanians are valued by the SP for obvious reasons, few actually do it - although at the end of the post-ZH continuity, Titan became the hub of a massive telepathically based communication system.
Daxamites and Kryptonians only have powers off-planet. Most of the ones who’ve ventured from their homes have become superheroes or supervillains.