by Julia Buckley
My sons inform me that this will be an epic summer at the movie theatre: a host of great superhero movies is on its way. Thor, Captain America, The Green Lantern, and X-Men First Class have all released their exhilarating trailers, and my boys (including my husband, who grew up reading Marvel comic books) are very excited.
I'm excited in my own way, but I know that I can never really be a part of the distinct club to which the men in my family belong. I learned this a couple of summers ago, when we all went to see TRANSFORMERS, the blockbuster about alien robots from outer space. Normally this would be a testosterone-only sort of event, but Mom had no other plans, and frankly I thought the movie looked fun. It was. I really enjoyed it, which must have won me some points with the guys.
However, on the way home things took a surprising turn. We were chatting about the Transformers and how indestructible they were. My son Ian asked, "What if the Terminator had to fight a Transformer?"
"Oh, the Transformer would win," I said. The men nodded their agreement. This was a given. We had all seen, hadn't we, how the Transformers could take on the U.S. Military and make it look like a bunch of boys with toy guns.
Then we said the same thing about the Transformers versus various powerful icons. My husband then posed a philosophical problem. "What I'm wondering," he said thoughtfully, "is how the Transformers would fare in a battle with the Hulk."
I laughed, remembering the might of the Transformer named Optimus Prime. "Well, duh. The Transformer would win," I said.
There was an eerie silence as three disillusioned males looked at me. My estrogen was showing. "Are you crazy?" asked my spouse.
I stuttered. "Well--uh--I mean--the Hulk isn't made of metal or anything. The Transformers are ten times his size and they have all those guns and knives and things."
My son shook his head. "Mom, you just don't understand the Hulk. I mean, anything the Transformers did would just make him angrier." The men all muttered their approval of this argument.
"But he has no weapons, and anger can inhibit judgment," I offered.
They shook their heads some more. They were exchanging "do you believe this?" looks among themselves. Finally my husband summed it up for the boys. "Mom would have to know more about the Hulk to make this decision, guys."
And with that final assessment, I knew I was out of the club. Sure, I could pretend to have opinions now and then, but my superhero knowledge has become suspect, and I have made the grave error of underestimating The Incredible Hulk, which simply isn't done in Superhero Circles. So I've learned my lesson.
Meanwhile, I'll be hunting for a club with less stringent membership rules.