In most kitchen sink or sandbox worlds like Marvel and DC, the superhumans who got their powers from genetics (i.e. the X gene or DC's Meta gene) seem to be the ones that get the most attention from the government, society, and the story in general.

There are other types of superhumans, outside mutants. There are magic users like wizards, vampires, and werewolves. There are tech users like cyborgs, biotech users, and characters who just use gadgets. There are also the peak human characters. They are usually extremely talented at martial arts, or being good detectives, or scientists, etc.

Whenever a superhero story has some plotline where the government makes a law that requires all superheroes to register their powers, mutants are usually the only type of superhumans targeted by it. Magic users are ignored, peak humans are ignored, and tech users are ignored too.

In conclusion: would it be too much for a story to have a society or the government focus on all types of superhumans? Does it make more sense for mutants to get all the attention from the government or society in a kitchen sink superhero world?


1 Answer 1


If that's what you want to write, write it. But yes, I think it is too much.

The problem with writing fiction is you are typically introducing a concept like X-men, or Magic, or Vampires, or Zombies, and it is typically bad for the plot if you make things too diffuse.

The X-men have a specific gene that makes them distinct and separable, while "extreme humans" is a fuzzy concept and harder to devise a plot for.

The simplicity of just one type of extreme (just Vampires, or just Zombies, or just Witches) aids in making the story and conflict sharp. It is well-defined. You are X-Men or you are not, period.

These are all metaphor for tribal warfare, something we implicitly understand.

You are a vampire or you are not, but you can be converted from the "tribe of us" to the tribe of the enemy; as a willing traitor, or against your will.

You are a zombie or you are not, but you can be converted from the "tribe of us" to the tribe of the enemy, against your will.

The drama is the human emotional cost the audience feels for the lost from the good side, the traitors to the good side, and the elation of eliminating the bad side and punishing the traitors. The grief of having to put down the unwilling converts.

If you mix the story up with too many tribes; the audience becomes ambivalent. What camp am I in? Aren't the benevolent Sherlocks of the world in my camp? I don't want them rounded up!

Is the government the enemy? That doesn't make sense if they are taking the criminal X-men off the street, but are they also taking away and locking up my 160 IQ fifth grader that has never broken a law in her life?

Stories tend to focus on one kind of superhuman for fictional clarity. It is okay if the X-men contain good and bad X-men, that's good for drama. But if you include all possible types of "superhuman", you are by definition not focused, and your story becomes difficult for the audience to parse and relate to.

You don't have a lot of room in publishable stories (or executable screenplays). To win popular interest, they typically need to be relatively simple stories with a clear through-line. That is why novels or series with a lot of characters are difficult to turn into movies: There just isn't space in a 110 pages to do justice to more than a handful of characters.

Plots can be complex, with twists and surprises as we experience them, but they need to be pretty clear and simple in retrospect, after all the secrets are revealed. (Oh, if Jerry was a traitor from the start, I get it...)

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    Yes, I don't think anyone would claim the Marvel universe is a model of fictional clarity - they just took lots of characters and jumbled them together in different ways to create new stories and sell more comic books.
    – Stuart F
    May 20, 2022 at 22:57

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