Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Top 10 Fictional Characters That Have "Super Stretching"

“Super stretching”, also known as “stretchy powers”, is the superpower that allows the body to be extremely elastic, flexible, and malleable.  Those who have this power possess the ability to extend, stretch, expand, contract, flatten, deform, and contort the body into extreme forms and shapes as if it’s made of rubber.  They can also be hard to wound since their physical composition can be so dense because of its rubbery, malleable properties.        

10.) NECRO

Necro is one of the lesser known Street Fighter characters but is among those characters with interesting backstories (play the game, or look it up).  Necro has the ability to generate electricity (like Blanka) and stretch his limbs into extraordinary lengths (like the number 9 in this list).  He makes use of his flexible and eclectic rubbery limbs to grapple his opponents, which he would then shock.  He also has a cybernetic computer in his brain which gives him superhuman fighting abilities.     


Dhalsim is one Street Fighter’s most popular characters.  He is an Indian yogi who possesses powers that fit the typecast.  He has the ability to breathe out fire, levitate, and teleport.  But he is more well-known with his ability to elongate and deform his limbs into forms that is physically impossible for a normal human being.


Just like everything about the Venture Bros. series, Professor Impossible serves as a fantastic parody of a pop culture property, and in this character’s case, the source material is Mr. Fantastic.  Just like Mr. Fantastic, Richard Impossible is a super genius that possesses “super stretching” powers after a freak accident involving his family (which also mirrors the Fantastic Four).  Through the series’ run, Prof. Impossible started out as a respected scientist, became a depressed and pitiable drunk, and eventually become a super villain.  It is also worth noting that in early seasons, the character is voiced by the awesome Stephen Colbert.  


As a member of the so-called “Great Lake Avengers”, a team of silly but enjoyable D-list superheroes, Flatman seems to serve as a parody of Mr. Fantastic as well.  Like Mr. Fantastic, he also is somewhat a scientific genius, which is possibly a mere act in his part, since there were several times that the “scientific genius” identity he projects was made questionable.  As a mutant, he possess the ability to stretch himself into great lengths, just like Mr. Fantastic; the only difference being is that his body’s default form is being flat, hence, the name.      


Jake is the main character Finn’s constant companion in Adventure Time.  Jake is a magical dog that can talk and has “stretchy powers”, which allows him to transform the mass, form, and dimensions of every part of his body as he wills.  Not only can Jake deform and stretch himself into extreme and specific shapes, but he can also re-arrange his internal organs.  Examples of the extent of his powers are moving his blood and internal organs into his left thumb (“Evicted!” episode), enlarging his liver 51 times a dog his size (“Jake vs. Me-Mow” episode), and his stomach involuntarily forming a fist and punching him to wake him up to eat (“Power Animal” episode).   There are several other delightfully strange instances Jake’s power proved to be invaluable in his adventures with Finn (you got to watch the awesome show or read the awesome comics).    


Helen Parr a.k.a. Elastigirl is the wife of the super strong Mr. Incredible and the mother of the Parr/Incredible household.  I think she’s the only female character I’ve encountered that has “super stretching” powers.  This super power seems inappropriate for a lady, but Elastigirl managed to showcase the awesome application of this power (the notable forms she took was that of a boat and a parachute) in a dignified manner.  She is also an expert in hand-to-hand combat, which when combined with her elastic powers, makes her an unpredictable and dangerous fighter. 


As hinted by his superhero name, the Elongated Man can elongate his limbs and body to extraordinary lengths.  He can also change the form of his body and body parts into different shapes and sizes.  Besides his “super stretching” abilities, he is also a professional detective and is considered second only to Batman in terms of deductive prowess.   An interesting para byproduct of his powers, tied in with his detective background, is a rubbery “nose twitch” – his nose twitches when he “smells” a clue to a mystery or if something is “not right.”


Among all characters with “super stretching” abilities, Plastic Man is arguably the most durable and most powerful of all.  It might not seem so and people tend to underestimate him since he continually makes use of his power to clown around.  His stretching powers are the most extensive among all characters with such powers (possibly only rivaled by Jake).  He is also nigh invulnerable and implied to be immortal.  As a former thief, Plastic Man has the skill set of the trade, which comes invaluable in his crime fighting.  Moreover, because of his past as a criminal, he knows how to think like a criminal, thus by replicating their mindset he is able to think steps ahead of them and be an efficient sleuth.  Plastic Man is actually pretty smart, but again, due to his slapstick nature, others tend to underestimate him.     


The leader and founder of the Fantastic Four, Reed Richards a.k.a. Mister Fantastic, is one of the most popular, if not the most popular, characters that possess “super stretching” powers.  He has all the abilities you would expect from someone with such power.  And, for many, he is even considered the definite example of the archetype.

However, Mister Fantastic’s “super stretching” powers are actually just secondary to what makes him a fascinating character and a very important member of Marvel’s superhero community.  His primary asset or “power” is being a super genius.   Indeed, he once claimed that his stretching powers are expendable compared to his intellect.  He has great mastery in probably every field of science and is an extremely brilliant scientist, inventor, and engineer.  He is considered by many as the smartest man in the world (or, at least, in the Marvel Universe).   He is, understandably, cold due to his scientific and methodical nature.  But, unlike other genius archetypes, he is capable of relating to his peers, family, and friends, and developing healthy relationships with them. 


“Straw Hat” Luffy is the main protagonist of the awesome One Piece series. He is the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates, a delightful ensemble of fascinating characters, whose travels are anchored on Luffy’s dream of becoming the Pirate King.  As a captain – despite his occasional display of naivety – his positive traits like tenacity, dedication, sincerity, and loyalty easily earned him the respect and devotion of his crew.        

Luffy gained rubber physiology after eating the Gum-Gum Fruit.  Hence, Luffy is able to stretch his body at will as if it’s rubber.  He utilizes the elasticity of his body by accelerating his punches, kicks, head butts, palm strikes, and other physical attacks as if they were shot from a sling shot.  He can also enlarge parts of his body, e.g. his fist or his foot, to magnify the damage he can deliver.  Moreover, because of his rubber physiology, Luffy is invulnerable to electric-type attacks.  Over the course of the series, Luffy would continually develop more techniques to maximize the use of his rubber powers.  If you are following One Piece, then you will surely agree with me that there has been no application of the “super stretching” power in fiction that has been as badass as Luffy’s.  

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