It's the never-ending whinge of superheroes everywhere - just a normal life! Who needs superpowers when a nine-to-five job and a cooked dinner in front of the telly would do?
Hands up if you've ever wished you were a superhero. It can't just be me, can it? Imagine being able to turn yourself invisible, or fly, or have super-strength; imagine being recognised and celebrated everywhere you go, with the warm glow of having saved the world twice before breakfast to kickstart your every day. Sure, sometimes those pesky supervillains would get a bit irritating, and it would kind of suck that your loved ones would constantly be in danger, but even so, surely being a superhero is better than, like, not being a superhero?
Because I'm fed up of their whining, I'm determined to show that most superheroes are actually better off with their super lives. (Incidentally, did you know that if you Google "I just want a normal life" you'll get about seventeen thousand results and the overriding impression that "normal" probably isn't what it's cracked up to be? Well, you know now.)
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
What would she do? If you take away her superpowers, Buffy was just a normal blonde cheerleader who only wanted to "graduate from high school, go to Europe, marry Christian Slater and die." Chances are, she'd probably achieve the graduating, travelling and dying bit, but Christian Slater? Unlikely.
Better or worse? If Buffy never became the Slayer, her parents probably still would have divorced, her mother still would've died, and she still wouldn't be any good at algebra. At least being the Slayer gave her a sense of purpose.
What would he do? As hard as his writers seem to have tried to make us forget, Spider-Man was supposed to be a good student. Specifically, a good scientist. So if that radioactive spider didn't get its teeth into him, he probably would have pursued that, and have cured cancer or something by now. Whether he would have managed to hook MJ without his superhero alter-ego is debatable, but at least if he did, he'd be able to pay more attention to her...
Better or worse? In some ways, Spider-Man might actually be better off. But he'd be a darned sight less cool, and wouldn't be able to get away with being anywhere near as cocky as he is.
What would she do? Heroes's split personality girl wasn't having the best time of it, was she? Without her super-strong alter-ego, she might well be dead by now. It's difficult to say, though, because without Jessica to take over for her, would Niki have found herself in such dire straits?
Better or worse? Um, I don't know.
What would he do? Well, Bruce Banner would carry on his merry way, being a mild-mannered super-intelligent scientist with no outlet for his much-repressed anger. Until, one day, some teenager got his drive-thru order wrong and he throttled them to death. And then got sent to prison.
Better or worse? You still wouldn't like him when he's angry.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
What would they do? Um, swim around in the sewers amid human excrement and litter.
Better or worse? WORSE, EWW, LOTS WORSE.
What would he do? Don't be daft. Superman's an alien; he can't have a normal human life, that's just silly.
Other heroes for your consideration: Batman (he doesn't have any superpowers anyway); Ant-Man (shut up, Hank Pym); Reed Richards (... SHUT UP, REED RICHARDS); Rogue (ughhhh); the Silver Surfer (aww, he'd be living happily in Zenn-La... or... in Galactus's belly...)
In conclusion: I still want superpowers.