It’s safe to assume that we’ve all seen the Cyberpunk trailer by now, our special boy Keanu shows up with a fancy robot arm and tells us to wake the fuck up. Beautiful. Now this got the Respawning group chat talking, normally that chat is full of dark humour or Luke telling everyone what’s good or bad then changing his mind on the fly, but after that trailer there was one particular conversation that stuck with me. We got talking about prosthetic limbs, see not long after that reveal I was down at my local gym and witnessed a man with a carbon fibre leg throwing around more weight than I can with my ordinary hooman legs, I brought this point up and we talked at length about whether having a replacement limb is a hindrance or plus.
Obviously science says it’s a negative as nothing is ever quite as good as the real thing but it still got my mind racing about the differently abled in pop culture. Missing limbs or cybernetic upgrades are common place in sci-fi and oddly enough even in fantasy (Beserk and Full Metal Alcamist being two examples) so I decided I’d throw together a little piece on these heroes and side characters who didn’t let injurys, disabilities or any other handicap get them down!
Starting off, we’re not going to open with a cybernetic warrior of badassery. We start with Blue Ranger Billy. Billy is introduced in the latest movie as being kind hearted and keen on having friends but also being incredibly tech savvy and having a flair for the over dramatic. Early on, before even getting hold of a Morpher, Billy tells his new friend and future red ranger Jason that he’s “on the spectrum” suddenly his behaviour and certain obsessions towards technology and stories becomes clear. Billy has autism. During the film Billy goes on to be the hardest working Ranger candidate and even the first to activate his powers. While the rest of the teenagers argue over being unable to transform or learn fast enough, Billy steps up and shouts them all down proving that while his disorder has held him back socially before it’s done nothing to dampen his spirit and drive to do what’s right. By the conclusion of the film Billy has a whole host of new friends and an entire damn spaceship to look around and nurse his love for fancy technology!
Anyone who’s played the latest few entries in the Deus Ex series will be familiar with Adam Jensen and his catchphrase “I never asked for this” and no… He didn’t I guess. After an attack on the facility he works as security chief for, Adam and his stylish trench coat are ruined. Some emergency surgery and engineering work later and hair gel enthusiast Adam has a plethora of cybernetic upgrades. Amongst said parts are carbon fibre arms and legs, remote hacking computer system in his brain and rather stylish sunglasses literally built into his face. Using his new abilities, Adam goes on to uncover an international conspiring involving, and hold on to your hats, the fucking illuminati. A few walls punched through and people stabbed with his elbow swords and Adam saves the day! Sure he never asked for it but I mean come on Adam, can’t argue with the results lad!
In what would become one of the most harrowing moments of my young life, during the events of Sly Cooper 2: Band of Thieves, clever clogs turtle Bentley has his legs crushed in the beak of a gigantic robot hate owl… Yes you read that correctly, FUCKING CRUSHED! I’ve seen horror films with less horrific injuries in them. Anywho after this incident Bentley doesn’t shy away from the action and instead uses his brains to throw together some parts and make himself a pretty awesome and gadget laden wheelchair so he can keep providing his suave chum Sly all the tech support he needs. As a kid that event scared the crap out of me but it was pretty inspiring to see Bentley keep moving forward and not dwell on what he lost! He still has his mind and his undiminished loyalty to his friends and you can be damn sure that he’s going to do all he can to keep helping with or without the use of his legs.
Imp, half man, little beast. Tyrion is probably the most insulted man in the history of pop culture. Hated by his own family besides his brother, vilified by almost the entire nation for crimes he both did and didn’t commit and having had to kill both the woman he loved and his, admittedly asshole, father. Tyrion somehow still keeps on trucking and pushes boundaries that even a man with Dwarfism in the real modern world would struggle with. Starting off as seemingly just another rich noble with no really positive characteristics it’s soon made clear that the youngest Lannister sibling is potentially the smartest man in the series, particularly when it comes to the all important politics of the nation. During a conversation with fellow outcast Jon Snow, Tyrion makes it clear that during his childhood he spent most of his time reading and making sure that he was going to be the smartest man in any given room! All this book learnin’ has served him well too since come the end of the series Tyrion is the hand of the King AND actually still alive, which is more than can be said for most people in Westeros.
Every superhero needs someone who knows their secret identity and keeps them morally grounded. Batman has Alfred, Ironman has Pepper Potts and magical champion Shazam has his foster brother – Freddy. In both the comics and this years film, Freddy is shown to have a hero obsession and drive to do good in spite of his own limitations with his handicapped leg leaving him using crutches. During the film Freddy gives an impassioned speech to Shazam after the young hero misuses his powers, during the speech it’s clear that while Freddy is jealous of those without disabilities he is still able to channel that into doing as much good as possible which in most cases seems to be caring for and loving his close knit foster family. Come the climax of the film Shazam empowers each of his siblings including Freddy to help him battle the 7 deadly sins. Freddy immediately uses his new power of flight and takes to the skies fighting the sins with all the classic superhero tropes he can think of. Most tellingly though is the brief scene of Super powered Freddy still taking time from the fight to swoop in and recuse two of his school bullies demonstrating that while he wishes he wasn’t stuck using his crutch he’s not let it effect his personality and will always be a hero inside!
And there you have it, if you ever needed some inspiration to keep going in the face of adversity there it is. Sure life can take things away from you but that’s no reason to stop moving forward! If you’re thinking too that this is all well and good but these people are all fictional then sure I agree but all you need to do is take a look outside and see all the people with disabilities who don’t stop living life to the fullest regardless! Just look at the paraolympians or even the people you seen on the street, I mean come on that guy in the gym come in with a missing leg and puts me to shame!Become a Patron!