Legal Advice for Superheroes

Law and the Multiverse is a blog by attorneys James Daily and Ryan Davidson. It examines, from a realistic perspective, the legal ramifications of life depicted in superhero comics books. They go into great detail, citing specific cases and statutes.

For example, some superheroes such as Black Alice can absorb the powers of others. Would doing so expose her to liability?

One immediate consequence of viewing superpowers as property is that power-drainers like Rogue, Scrambler, or Leech may be liable for the tort of conversion and the crime of theft (or common law robbery, if you prefer) in addition to the tort and crime of battery for which they were likely already liable. This would only apply to unjustified uses of the ability, of course. Use of such powers against a willing subject or out of self-defense, defense of others, or necessity would still be justified.

But the consequences don’t stop there. If Superman uses the power of a blue sun to bestow superpowers on another person, is that a taxable asset transfer? Who would want to try to collect?

If two superheroes marry, share a power, then later divorce, could one be forced to give up the power during the division of assets? Does it matter who had the power originally? Even though the shared power may be a non-rival good, one of the two superheroes may still have a claim to exclusivity. Perhaps the power is a trademark ability of one character, or maybe they signed a superhero pre-nuptial agreement that determined the disposition of any shared abilities.


Link via Comics Alliance | Image: DC Comics

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Well, yeah, if Lex Luthor finally took over the planet I'm sure this would be exactly what would happen: only if you're licensed by Luthor would the bureaucracy allow you to get away with actually using your powers.
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