9 Superspeedsters (Who Are Buttholes)

Hey, uh

Ever noticed that there are a bunch of super speedster characters who are just total buttholes?

This isn’t a hard rule by any means – I don’t mean to say ‘characters who have super speed are all bastards.’ If nothing else, that’d be a pretty sweeping statement. It was something I noticed on City of Heroes that it was really common for people, when freed from existing canons, to make their own take on the super-speedster, seemed to pretty reliably make them, well, jerks.

At the time I thought this was just a byproduct of the somewhat insular reference pool of the community I was in. Like, the fact I couldn’t name in my entire RP circle, someone who had played a ‘Power Girl-type character’ but I could name multiple people who made anthropomorphic bats, and that the bats were all jerks, maybe painted to me that my environment was jerk-dense.

Thing is, when I went to revisit the topic, I found that it wasn’t that all speedsters are jerks… it’s that prominent speedsters were jerks. I did a quick sweep of a list of speed characters, and found that there was a pretty consistent trend that media that featured a speedster would often present that speedster as an asshole, and there was seemingly a stock episode in the 90s where a character would get super speed, be a total asshole with it, then abandon it, because they don’t want to be assholes. Because learning to not be an asshole with super speed is hard?

“But okay,” you may say, “Is this setting up a listicle,” and I thought about it.

I thought about it.

And then I did it.

Because look, this isn’t just superheroes, right?

9. Sonic the Hedgehog

The ur-example, Sonic was created as a character to helm a property that served literally no purpose but to sass around and be cool compared to the Mario Brothers’ safe. This is a character who for thirty years or so has been iterated on endlessly, but it seems that even though occasional attempts are made to make him kind, or charming, or sweet, he always comes back to being a smug butthole.

Check out Sonic Boom, he’s pretty great there, even though he is a smug butthole.

8. The Flash (Honorary)

This is a bit of a categorical choice, I know, but here’s the thing with the Flash. It’s not that The Flash is a butthole, but that almost all the surrounding media around him thinks he’s a butthole. There’s a lot of fanfiction, jokes, and even a memorable song and even in his own universe, he has a collection of villains who ask the question:

Hey.

What if the Flash was a butthole?

7. Bumblebee

In the Transformers Animated canon, Bumblebee definitionally knows he’s not the fastest thing around – one supervillain and one other transformer clearly outpace him, and that’s not counting the people who are actual jets. But still, somehow, despite being shown, multiple times, that he’s not the fastest, he keeps returning to the fiction that he is.

What a butthole.

6. Quicksilver

Quicksilver has been many things in his time, including creepily too close to his sister, thanks Ultimates universe, but one thing he has seemingly never been is someone nice. In almost every incarnation, this silver-haired speedster has been just one of the worst people to know, the kind of dude who just makes you grit your teeth and hope he’ll run out of self-aggrandising story soon. In Evolution, however, this got ramped through the roof, because it took that obnoxious smug superiority and tied it to being a teenager.

5. Rainbow Dash

“Oh no, don’t be mean to a pony!” I hear them cry. And then, I am mean to the pony, because I am not a coward.

Rainbow Dash, the recent incarnation from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is the group’s jock girlfriend, who wants to get onto the big jock team of all the best jocks, and that’s cool and all. The thing is, in most of the episodes, the instigating event is one of the pony’s basic personality traits resulted in them being a bit of a problem, or them encountering a problem that they were the best person to solve. There was even a problem with how one of the characters, Applejack, had a life that was so stable and she was so responsible that there was a potential problem with finding ways she could fit that structure.

Not Rainbow Dash. She could be relied upon to seek a way to make Being Self-Important About Being Fast the problem, and then blunder all the way through it.

4. Hermes

What, you think this is a new thing? There’s some idea here, about how super speed, at its root, gives you a kind of invulnerability and super strength and flexibility and the result of it is that eventually you find yourself presented with the way speed can do everything and you’re left finding a way to challenge the character and finally find yourself dealing with the way that if someone is a super speedster, then every problem should probably get solved by it. That means that the only reason things aren’t solved is that the super speedster doesn’t care to solve it, and when you see all the stuff that a super speedster could be solving you’re left with the conclusion that hey I guess there’s a lot of stuff the speedster doesn’t give a shit about.

Anyway, Hermes sucks. #JusticeForIo

3. The Road Runner

Yes, yes, here we are, here’s the reason this list exists. The Road Runner is such a jerk. Right? The entire premise of this recurrent narrative is that Wile E Coyote is hunting the Road Runner, who he categorically cannot catch, and sure, there’s something in the psychology of that, that’s interesting, but also the thing is, the road runner keeps mocking him.

The road runner is a creature that is incredibly safe and seemingly has full trickster god capacity to do things like run into paintings, and it uses this power to just abuse a coyote who is, as far as we know, just hungry.

2. Agent Smith

Oh sure we got to see this character punching walls and all, but notice how the thing that got the most exciting and specific visual flair in this entire universe was speed? The way that the unnatural, flickering, twitching at high speed is treated as a sign this character has taken over the body. Agent Smith is extremely fast, can make millions of punches, and that’s neat in that it’s like a way of metaphorising a denial of service attack.

But also, he’s such an asshole. Remember that time he got pissy at his daughter for dating a human?

1. Dash from the Incredibles

Look, you can go to bat for The Incredibles, if you want. It’s a superhero story that I once liked, and at least in its own way had a good solid structure to it. But the things it cares about are superheroics that are ashamed of superheroics and it’s all pinned in by this weaselly little snort who gets mad at having to respect the people around him, because his parents don’t give him good reasons for perceiving other people as mattering.

And he’s the guy who delivers one of the most overused decontextualised quotes in the whole movie.

Argh!

 

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