ByTrent Tofte, writer at Creators.co
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Trent Tofte

Asperger's Syndrome: nobody likes to talk about it, but it is becoming more and more prevalent in today's society. I have it and I am not ashamed to admit it. But when I was watching the first Avengers film I couldn't help noticing that Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of Bruce Banner showed some of the classic Asperger's symptoms. This got me thinking: does Asperger's exist in the superhero world? It's only logical to assume that the answer is yes. That said, is it possible that there are even some superpowered individuals that are affected by it? My answer is, "Definitely". Don't be surprised if you recognize some of superheroism's best and brightest on this list of characters who may have Asperger's. Ready or not, here we go!

Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards)

Now at first glance it might seem like Mr. Fantastic would be an unlikely candidate to have Asperger's but let's review some of its major symptoms and then compare him to them. Difficulty with social interaction? Definitely something that can be said of Reed Richards. The man loves his alone time and has an extremely hard time reaching out when he is around people, especially those he cares about like Sue Storm. Restricted and repetitive interests and/or behavior? That's basically Mr. Fantastic in a nutshell. The man is constantly at work in his laboratory, and once he begins a project, he tends to remain oblivious to everything going on around him until he completes it. Another symptom of Asperger's that clearly demonstrates itself in Mr. Fantastic is an above-average vocabulary. Reed Richards often uses words that are so large and highfalutin that Thing and Human Torch have to ask him back up, slow down, and speak in terms they can understand.

The Hulk (Bruce Banner)

Just to clarify, do I believe that the Incredible Hulk has Asperger's? Absolutely not. Do I believe that his alter ego Bruce Banner does? I certainly do! While past incarnations of Bruce Banner (Edward Norton, Bill Bixby, Eric Bana, Lou Ferrigno), all hinted that he might have Asperger's, Mark Ruffalo's portrayal of the character all but clinched it. I've watched Avengers countless times, and every time, I'm continually struck by the fact that Bruce acts and reacts in exactly the way that I would in those situations. Obviously, that doesn't mean he's got Asperger's, but let's look at those symptoms again and see if we can't recognize them in the good Doctor Banner. Difficulty with social interaction? That's essentially Bruce Banner's defining trait. The guy tries to stay removed from human contact as much as possible. Restricted and repetitive interests and/or behavior? He's the world's foremost expert on gamma radiation for a reason. He's become almost obsessed by it. He spends virtually all of his free time studying it. Broader vocabulary than the average person? Well, if anyone remembers this...

'Nuff said.
'Nuff said.

Now I know what you're thinking. Does Tony Stark have Asperger's? Well, to put it simply, probably not. "But," you say, "He's so brilliant that he was fixing engines by age 6, building advanced robots in fifth grade, graduated as valedictorian from MIT by age 12 and had two earned Master's degrees by 19, so surely there's no way he's just that brilliant without having Asperger's!" Well, my response to that is quite simple: yes, it actually is possible. A person really can be brilliant and not have Asperger's. Statistically speaking, the majority of people with Asperger's are more intelligent than the average person, but you can still be a genius and not have Asperger's. Tony is just a normal, if super brilliant, guy. He's unquestionably a genius, but you also have to remember that he's only regarded as the fifth smartest person in the Marvel Universe with Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Doom, Hank Pym, and Bruce Banner above him. And speaking of Hank Pym...

Ant-Man might have it too

No, not Scott Lang. Y'know, this guy...

Yes, Henry Pym could very easily be said to have Asperger's. Antisocial tendencies, broad vocabulary, obsessive behavior... what about that combination doesn't sound like Doctor Pym? The guy is grumpy as all get out, has almost no patience, doesn't enjoy social occasions, talks like an encyclopedia, and has been obsessively working on the Ant-Man technology ever since his wife Janet went subatomic. Sounds pretty characteristic of Asperger's Syndrome to me! But you know who else might have it?

The Flash (Barry Allen)

Convinced yet?
Convinced yet?

Barry is about as socially awkward as a hippo at an elephant convention. Poor guy's just trying to recover from watching his mom get stabbed to death, watching his innocent dad go to jail for killing her, and figure out how getting struck by lightning gave him abs and the ability to run at Mach 3. But this dude has Asperger's written all over him! He's as socially awkward as they come, has a pretty large vocabulary, and did I mention that he spent pretty much the entire first season of his tv show obsessing over trying to keep his mom from dying? Sounds pretty characteristic of Asperger's if you ask my opinion. And lest you think that Asperger's only affects heroes...

There's evidence that Lex Luthor may have it too.

You can see it in the eyes.
You can see it in the eyes.

Yes, it's true. Surprising as it may be, Lex Luthor is a potential Asperger's candidate. While it is true that he has learned to adapt in social situations, when his temper flairs, Lex tends to show that he's actually been faking his good manners the whole time. And when Lex starts giving any kind of speech, be it a monologue or a presidential campaign speech, he can wax eloquent with the best of them. And don't even get me started on his obsessive behavior... the man has tried to murder Superman more times than I care to count. He studies kryptonite as if it holds the keys to solving every problem known to man. While Ben Gates from National Treasure might refer to such behavior as "passionate", any normal human being would regard such single-minded fixation as being obsessed.

Are there any other heroes or villains that you think may have Asperger's? If so, comment below!

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