I think the last example of normal humans excelling in anything has to be space.  Few paranormals can exist without a space suit, and magic hardly works there.  The last true heroes on Earth exist above it, our Astronauts.

Now if only some corporation would get its head out of its ass and give one of them a tennis shoe endorsement...

An excerpt from The New Gods, written by Jonathan Cooke


PARANORMALS: There are many obvious origins for paranormals; struck by cosmics rays, exposure to experimental chemicals, etc.But what it comes down to is the majority of those who develop special powers or abilities are born with a special gene that triggers when exposed to a certain specific stimulus.A person whose gene would have activated when exposed to a certain level of radiation would not activate if dumped into a vat of chemicals, for example.At this time the decoding of this gene has only just begun and scientists believe it will be decades before they fully understand how it works.

Paranormals have all manner of powers, from super strength, flight and resilience to the ability to communicate with computers.Just when someone thinks all manner of paranormal abilities have been logged someone develops a new one or a new spin on an old one.

There is one class of paranormals whose gene spontaneously manifest at birth, during their childhood or at puberty.  Called mutants, these paranormals often exhibit obvious distinctive physical features that set them apart from normal people.  Some people feel that they may be the next step in homo sapiens evolution as their powers need no outside stimulus to activate.  While this may be true most people feel that there is little difference between them and other paranormals; they are equally dangerous, after all.

Not all paranormals have this gene.Seahawk, for example, has a symbiotic life form living in her system that grants her a host of super powers.

MAGIC: If you want a Physics professor to leave the room, then start talking about magic.The definition of magic varies from person to person, but the upswung is generally that magic is a source of power that cannot be effectively defined by conventional science.The fact is Magic cannot be effectively defined by more than 99 percent of the world at large.It has been discovered that the only people who can understand Magic let alone employ it are born with a specific series of mental conditions that allow them to see the world in a specific way.Often these mental conditions produce various forms of psychoses, hence a majority of magicians are considered to be unstable by public standards.At this time there are only three schools known throughout the entire world that openly teach the intricacies of magic. There are also other organizations that actively practice and study Magic; the Six Families, the Society of Sin, and the Temple of Blue Light are just some examples.

The easiest explanation magicians can give concerning the nature of magic is that it is a series of physical laws that co-exist with known physical laws, and that only certain people can take advantage of these other laws.Imagine playing a game of baseball and someone swings and gets a third strike.Now imagine that person is playing under his own special rules and he can never be struck out.Frustrating for the pitcher, isn’t it?

There are many different disciplines of Magic; Summoning, Alchemy, Enchantment, and Invocation are just some examples of the different fields.  Necromancy, the mastery of Death, is considered by all but the most evil people to be the most repulsive.

There are other people who are affected by magic who are not themselves sorcerers or possess these mental conditions in any way.Great Britain’s Lionheart seems to have been the recipient of some sort of enchantment that makes her a super hero.Studies at all three schools have shown that she is permanently affected, that the change has altered her “soul” and she can only be released when she dies.Still other heroes and villains employ “enchanted” objects that give them super powers.

Then there are supernatural beings such as vampires and werewolves.  The existence of these creatures has been documented through the centuries but it has only been in the past one hundred years that solid physical evidence and research has begun.  It is now believed that Vampirism and Lycanthropy are "Magical Genetic Conditions" that are passed down from generation to generation, much like Hemophilia, and that certain conditions trigger the latent genes (certain blood diseases, surviving another vampire's attack, extreme stress, etc.)  Usually the presence of this genes precludes the existence of the super gene.  So far there is only one exception to this rule: the Hobbes family (see Frostbite for details).

TECHNOLOGY: Ever since the aborted alien invasion of ‘67 Earth's technology has seen some startling changes.  Space science, Computer science, Metallurgy, Nuclear Physics, etc. have all seen revolutions in thought.  The situation is so startling that the world's governments had to initiate legislation to slow down the advance until the social ramifications could be sorted out.  For example, it was discovered through a few advances in electrical science, chemistry and Metallurgy how to produce an effective electric car as far back as '72.  The problem was that the advent of such a vehicle would seriously cripple major American oil companies and drive fuel prices through the roof, crippling our nation's economy.  However when OPEC initiated an oil crisis anyway in the mid-seventies the Federal government gave auto manufacturers the go-ahead to produce electric cars.  The result was the Japanese giving their auto makers similar leave.  As a result today more than 50% of all automobiles driven in the United States are electrical.  Gas prices are stable since OPEC found it had to lower oil prices to make a profit and was competing with American oil companies that found it could meet the lowered demand without them, and almost all third world countries still employ gasolene powered vehicles..  This is a benign example of the new technology.  Other forms, such as nano-technology, are still kept firmly under wraps.

The government has created a "three tier" system to control technology.  The first tier is public access technology, whatever you may be able to buy off the shelf and use in your day-to-day life.  The second tier is corporate technology, technology a company may use with the special permission of the Federal government.  The third tier is forbidden technology, such as nano-technology noted above.  This is technology that is still considered too dangerous for any one person or organization to employ so it is kept under wraps.  Corporate lobbies in Washington are constantly fighting with the Federal government over what can and should be released.

Many heroes and villains employ advanced technology; armored heroes wear advanced metals, plastics and ceramics, or use ultra-powerful boots or backpack rockets for flight.  Advanced micro-circuitry allows a full sensor suite to be mounted into a helmet.  Many "super villains" have attempted world-shattering plots such as earthquake machines, weather-altering satellites, huge mind control devices, etc.  These villains are the most feared for while some paranormals can be very destructive few if any can affect the world as effectively as Dr. Nod and his Gravity Beam, which was used in an attempt to pull the moon out of its orbit to collide with the Earth.  As a result any hero using advanced technology either needs a corporate or government sponsor, or must receive special dispensation from the Federal government to operate his equipment.

As with others sometimes there is a fine line between one class of hero and another.  Is Seahawk a "techno" because of her advanced symbiotes?  What if someone is a clone of another paranormal?  The classifications, as always, are never clear-cut.