Echolocation isn't just for bats anymore, folks. How cool are Daredevil's extra-sensory powers? Matt Murdock's "powers" on Daredevil are based on the real concept that when human beings lose one sense such as sight, others become enhanced. Is he the only vigilante with such realistic skills? To recap, the accident that blinded Matt Murdock as a child turned out to be somewhat of a blessing in disguise after a lot of time and training as he developed his other senses and used them to fight crime in Hell's Kitchen. Matt can sense fear, detect lies, and navigate unfamiliar surroundings with his other sense. Daredevil also has the ability to sense attractiveness in women somehow. At least, that's what Foggy Nelson thinks.
But Matt's not the only one whose powers were inspired by real life and no, I'm not talking about guys like Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, who rely on technology and cash money to fund their vigilante habits. While invisibility, phasing, flight, precognition and telekinesis may not yet be possible for mere mortals (even x-ray vision is only possible using a device), there are several superhuman abilities out there that have a basis in science just like Matt Murdock's.
This is a real condition that affects approximately one percent of the population. According to Science Daily, People with synesthesia cross senses — meaning they can associate colors with numbers or sounds. On the NBC show Heroes, the character Emma Coolidge had the ability to literally visualize sounds, which was enhanced by an ability to manipulate sound waves and draw people to her like a siren.
Obviously, empathy is a thing most people have. In supernaturally gifted individuals, empathy can mean a variety of things. Some folks, like Sylar on Heroes, can steal powers. Others can read, sense, and manipulate emotions, like Raven in DC Comics.
OK, so I already cheated, because this technically isn't science, but a term pulled from Chinese culture. Chi became an enhanced concept for the Marvel character Danny Rand, also known as Iron Fist , who incidentally will appear in his own Netflix series for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Chi is a life force or energy that martial artists harness through meditation and other methods. However, Danny Rand is able to project and manipulate his chi. He takes it to the next level (see: the totally made up level) just like Matt Murdock.
Maya "Echo" Lopez, another contemporary of Daredevil's, has the ability to duplicate skills that she has seen once. This is an enhanced version of someone who can memorize long passages or remember images after seeing them a single time.
The whole concept of the X-Men launches off of the scientific concept of genetic mutations, which do exist in nature. As Charles Xavier explains in X-Men: First Class, any variant in our genetic sequencing is a mutation that helps us diversify and evolve as a species. There may not be mermaids, but webbed toes and fingers are often found in humans. So, comic book characters just take that evolution a couple steps further.
Sure, in real life there aren't psychics and telepaths like Professor X, Psylocke, Superman, or even Sookie Stackhouse. But we sure can come close in real life using body language and emotional cues. Think about Sherlock Holmes, and Shawn on Psych. They aren't superheroes, but their observational skills make them seem like they are.
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