Real Superheroes of Dream Land (and Beyond)

People the world over idolize the likes of Superman and Captain America, but there’s another hero out there who really deserves the praise. And fear.

By Andrew Hsieh. Posted 08/02/2010 22:32 2 Comments     ShareThis

I watched Kick-Ass a few months ago, and to be fairly honest, the idea that any of the geeks in that film would want to be Kick-Ass– or really, any of the superheroes they idolized– evoked the kind of aisle-rolling (continuous aisle-rolling) hilarity normally reserved for old Super Mario Brothers Super Show episodes. This is the thing about superheroes: superheroes have amazing powers (possibly of intellect), and use them to beat up supervillains. This is cool. What isn’t quite as cool, though, is how superheroes often end up getting beaten up themselves. It’s pretty silly to assume that it rocks to be Batman when it actually really sucks to be Batman, 90% of the time.

Which begs some food for thought. Or, so it would, if a certain Star Warrior didn’t just swallow it all.

See, as Kirby: Right Back At Ya! so eloquently states in its opening theme song, “Kirby, Kirby, Kirby, he’s the one for me.” Unlike Batman or Superman, Kirby’s only power (or technological innovation) is often the fact that he doesn’t have one. And yet when that monstrous maw begins to open in a game of Super Smash Bros., everybody but Mr. Game & Watch runs the other way. (Mr. Game & Watch probably enjoys sharing culinary expertise with those who would enjoy it.) It’s even worse in the Kirby’s Dream Land games– those unfortunate enemies that get swallowed literally disappear, with no evidence of their ever existing except for the grotesque totem of their life now on Kirby’s head– or the shiny star that pops out of Kirby’s rear when he’s finally decided an enemy power is worthless after all. Kirby swallows ’em up, spits ’em out, and after all that, walks off happily, murder in his wake.

This, of course, causes an effect that many scientists call A Complete Lack of Mortal Enemies. Yes, King Dedede and Kirby have an amusingly antagonistic relationship, but that’s just it– it’s amusing. The most horrifying havoc the penguin-like King Dedede ever wreaked involved stripping Dream Landers of the ability to dream, and even that turned out to be an attempt to protect Dream Land from Nightmare. (Who, admittedly, looks like he should scare the pants off of anyone, except that all he really does is throw nightmares at people.) And when the bulk of Kirby’s rogues’ gallery finds no better way to inflict damage than to hope Kirby walks into their wriggling, helpless bodies (Waddle Dee, I’m looking at you), watching Kirby literally eat each and every defenseless enemy starts to look a lot like watching a serial killer gun down innocent civilians in a supermarket.

And, this ignores the fact that Kirby’s enemies often end up realizing how pointless they really are, and decide that joining Kirby would be better than being assimilated into the void. (Another episode of Kirby: Right Back At Ya! tells us it’s a scary place.) Sometimes they even pull a Bowser and decide racing Kirby along the galaxies’ most stellar locales would be a much better way to compete with him. (Especially since, that way, they stand a much lesser chance of digestion.) For a character who looks like a giant ambulatory marshmallow (with giant eyes), Kirby inspires as much fear as Batman– if not more.

Really, one has to wonder why those bespectacled lads in Kick-Ass read superhero comics instead of playing Kirby video games. “Completely digesting your opponents” just pounds “having to fight your opponent to a standstill over a period of twenty-eight issues, and then returning to the status quo”. Maybe it’s the difference in those noble superhero values people tout all the time. Superman refuses to kill his enemies; Kirby, as much as his appearance belies it, could not care less. The universe should thank their lucky stars Kirby doesn’t eat out more.

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