Four Food-Based Fantasy Superpowers You'd Love to Have... And Three You Might Not

Flying and breathing underwater are just two abilities possessed by various characters populating the fictional universes we love. When you're saving humanity from weekly threats, having the amassed strength of twenty Teamsters in your pinkie, or reflexes that let you dodge your enemies at the speed of light is a handy conflict resolution tool. Not all characters are blessed equally, though. For every single-bound leaper of tall buildings, there are busloads of supers whose endowments seem crafted to leave us scratching our heads. Factor into this that many command powers that revolve around manipulating food and drink to their advantage, andyou get the following roster of consumables-themed heroes and villains. Having most of these powers doesn't sound half bad, but some of them seem more like punishments than gifts. On the side of "Superpowers most desirable", we have the following:
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  • Kung Food from Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir (animated series)

  • Culinary Mind Control

  • On a visit to Paris to compete in a televised cooking contest called The Greatest Chef in the World, renowned Chinese chef Wang Cheng, has his most famous dish deliberately sabotaged by a jealous panel judge. Cheng is the uncle of series protagonist Marinette Dupain-Cheng who, together with her classmate and not-so-secret crush Adrien Agreste, defend Paris as their respective masked alter-egos of Ladybug and Cat Noir. Humiliated by his public failure, Chef Cheng succumbs to the influences of the heroic duo's archvillian, Hawk Moth. The career baddie transforms the chef into Kung Food, a vengeance-seeking villain with the power to mentally enslave anyone who tastes his ruined soup.
  • Tony Chu from Chew (graphic novel series)

  • Food Empathy

  • This column could easily have been composed entirely of characters from the universe of the "Chew" graphic novels series written by John Laymon and Rob Guillory, though chief protagonist Tony Chu feels most deserving of a nod here. Tony is a detective for the Philly P.D. (later, for the FDA) in a world where fowl meat consumption is outlawed following a devastating bird flu outbreak that kills 23 million Americans. Tony is also a "cibopath," meaning he receives psychic impressions from whatever food he eats. When it's your job to untangle mysteries and deduce criminal motives from crime scene clues, the advantages of such power are obvious. Having to consume questionable items from said crime scenes—including corpses, if necessary—in order to track down perps might seem less than glamorous, but it's all in a day's work when you're a super cop.
  • Hikifune Kirio from Bleach (manga/anime series)

  • Food Augmentation

  • Master chef and shinigami ("God of Death", "Soul Reaper") Hikifune Kirio's culinary skill is unmatched. Not only can she fashion astounding dishes from the most modest of ingredients, Kirio can also infuse the food she prepares with her Reiatsu (generally translated as "spiritual pressure," meaning the force exerted by the release of a shinigami's spiritual energy). In doing so, she imparts to the dish the ability to empower anyone who eats it, making them strong, fast, and durable beyond their wildest imaginings. Imagine every video game power-up ever created, then exponentially increase their combined rejuvenating properties, and you'll get the idea of the immense levels of power this character wields, as well as why wisdom would dictate remaining on her good side.
  • Frau Totenkinder from Fables (graphic novels series

  • Food Transmutation

  • This character's powers might not be solely food-based, though she bears inclusion here because her sorcery frequently draws upon food's power to entice. Frau Totenkinder is known to most other characters in the Fables series as simply "The Witch." In a world where fairy tale characters are real and exist in modern society, her moniker is well-earned. She is the witch whose transformed-into-candy residence nearly lured Hansel and Gretel to their doom. She is the hawker of poisoned apples who nearly dispatched Snow White. She is every child-murdering witch in every fairy tale ever told. Even her name—a pseudonym derived from the German words "tot" meaning "death" and "kinder" meaning children, to form the loose translation, "Mrs. Childkiller"— hints at what she's all about. And while that aspect of the character is disturbing in the most bone-chilling way, her ability to transform inanimate objects into food lures or conjure poisonous produce to undo one's enemies is perhaps not to be rejected out of hand.

    As for those powers that no rational person would want, it boggles the mind to imagine what it must take just for the following superbeings to want to get out of bed in the morning.
  • Johnny Gomorrah from X-Men (comic series)

  • Salt Transmutation

  • This character is one of a multitude of personality shards comprising the psyche of one David Charles Haller, son of X-Men founder Professor Charles Xavier. Going by the nickname "Legion", David is a being of frightening potential with regard to superpowers, for the sheer number of abilities he possesses. While each of the dozens of personas comprising Legion's core personality has its own distinct superpower, the one dubbed "Johnny Gomorrah" has the ability to transform inanimate objects as well as enemies into salt. Sure, this power might strike fear in the hearts of one's adversaries once word gets out about it, but unless once carries pocketfuls of French fries or carafes of bland soup everyplace they go, this ability's Old Testament flavor just tastes like a waste of sodium.
  • Wanze from One Piece (manga/anime series)

  • Ramen Noodle Manipulation

  • This eccentric "Ramen Kenpo" fighting expert is best-known for his ability to produce ramen noodles by mixing the ingredients in his mouth and shooting perfectly-formed noodles from his nose. While Wanze can utilize this skill for culinary purposes (much to the revulsion of other characters to witness it) he also can weaponize it by firing sharpened ramen noodles capable of piercing his enemies' flesh. Swallowing a large enough volume of flour enables him to produce enough ramen to fashion himself a suit of battle armor with both defensive and offensive combat capabilities. Whether such a being should be considered a good guy or bad guy matters not, since to this writer he will forever be a villain for his monumental crime of making ramen noodles briefly unpalatable.
  • Gin Genie from X-Statix (comic series)

  • Alcohol Manipulation

  • Rebecca "Beckah" Parker was a mutant in the Marvel comics universe who fought crime under a superhero pseudonym that one could argue boded ill from the start. As "Gin Genie", she was a member of openly fame-seeking superhero team, the X-Statix. Hers was the ability to generate seismic waves and ground tremors, a power that sounds awesome, except that the magnitude of the seismic activity hinged on how much alcohol was present in her blood. To put it simply, the drunker she got, the more powerful she became. In case you're wondering why every reference to this superhero is written in the past tense, it's because fairly early in her superhero career, she was killed by helicopter fire while on a mission to rescue a kidnapped boy band. (Yes, seriously.)

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