If you've been following the news -- or late night talk show monologues -- lately, you've probably heard about the new policy put in place by the Transportation Security Administration, involving full-body X-Ray scans that can see under clothes and the equally controversial alternate option of an enhanced pat-down where screeners touch the breast and groin areas of fliers. While these methods would probably be useful in keeping costumed vigilantes from smuggling potentially dangerous anti-crime equipment onto commercial flights (see left), it has left a lot of travelers more worried about the privacy issues inherent in either getting unnecessarily groped or having compromising pictures leaked onto the Internet.

In other words, it's exactly like a real-life version of Facebook, but it also makes you miss your plane.

Like so many of the world's problems, it's one that would be easily solved if only we had a few of our favorite comic book super-heroes to handle this stuff for us. That's why today, I've picked out nine super-heroes that would be perfect to handle the new searches!


If you really want to get some efficiency into airport security checks, then the obvious choice for the super-hero TSA would be Matt Murdock, alias Daredevil, the Man Without Fear! After all, X-ray machines are completely unnecessary when you have a guy who can smell gunpowder from a concourse away, and you don't need to pat anyone down when you have someone who, as the panel above shows, is literally touching everything around him all the time with his mind.

Now you know why he was so happy back when he was teaming up with the Black Widow every month. And why he really hates being around the Kingpin.

Also, being blind goes a long way towards heading off accusations of racial profiling. That said, he comes with a whole host of problems that are pretty much dealbreakers, even before you get to the part where he's currently possessed by the actual Devil. You think delays are bad now? Wait 'til LaGuardia's getting attacked by ninjas every other week, and seriously? You guys would be finding stewardesses with playing cards, loose change, and other unlikely murder weapons sticking out of 'em pretty much everywhere.



Since most of the leeriness of the new policy seems to involve the new technique of front-hand pat-downs (which I believe is the diametric opposite of the Side-Hug), the solution, as is so often the case, seems to lie with the X-rays. So why not just go ahead and level the playing field by subjecting everyone to the same amount of concentrated radiation as soon as they walk into the airport?

Aside from the glaringly obvious reasons, I mean.

It's the perfect job for Hazmat, the plucky young carcinogenic member of Avengers Academy! And hey, she's even been trained for government service, although a good portion of that training came from a megalomaniacal madman who once dressed up in a Halloween costume to more effectively chuck blondes off bridges. But hey, the guy got results.

And should it be necessary, she's even capable of upping the radiation to give people that healthy glow right through their clothes! It might seem like a terrible idea, but trust us on this one: When it comes to radiation, the word "rad" is right there at the beginning.



If, however, you want the guy dishing out the X-rays to be a little more competent and slightly less likely to microwave this holiday season's travelers where they stand like six-foot hot pockets, I'd suggest going with Firestorm, the Nuclear Man. Not only can he control radiation, but he has the uncanny ability to see molecular structures, meaning that he'd actually be able to tell whether those six ounces you're trying to get on board are dangerous, or actually just shampoo.

Plus, with the power to transmute matter, he'd finally solve the problem of just what to do with all that contraband the TSA discovers. I've always assumed they put it in a room like the one at Springfield Elementary on the Simpsons ("A crossbow!"), but eventually you're going to run out of room, and really, wouldn't those six pounds of disposable lighters look better as a water feature?

Then again, getting a guy made from a teenage jock and a nerdy middle-aged divorcee to handle your screening isn't exactly going to cut down on the "random" hands-on searches of attractive women.



Maybe I'm going about things all wrong by trying to speed the process up. Maybe the best use of a super-human TSA would be to make things immeasurably worse, at least for a while, just to make people grateful when it was changed back to the way it used to be. Thus, the newest recruit, Darkseid.

Because seriously: You might think it's bad when you get pulled to the side and groped between the legs by an underpaid guy with a sketchy mustache, but when the alternative is an eight foot-tall rock-faced space god in a miniskirt and thigh-high patent leather space boots? You'll take the mustache any day of the week.


Because if you're going to do cavity searches, you might as well get a guy with experience.



At first it might seem like getting Plastic Man to do your searches is only going to result in the pat-downs getting creepier -- and with the added drawback of a constant noise like someone rubbing a balloon -- but with all the complaints, maybe the best option is to just not tell people when they're being searched.

Sure, there's the whole massive, unconscionable violation of privacy inherent in that sort of setup, but as a tradeoff, you get the surprise of having a guy who could be anything. The X-ray scanner? Actually Plastic Man. The moving walkway? Actually Plastic Man. The entire Cinnabon franchise on the concourse? Actually Plastic Man.



At this point, the official stance of the TSA is that the pat-downs are just plain necessary to detect contraband, so it looks like they're not really going to be going anywhere. It falls to me, then, to think of a way to make them a little more pleasant.

To that end, we go to Forearm, quite possibly The Rob Liefeld's greatest creation. See, he has four arms, so he'd be able to process you twice as fast. Because of his four arms.

Which is why he's called Forearm.

Yeah, you're right. It's probably best to just move on.



Airport security teams have been using dogs for years to sniff out drugs and other illicit items, so it's only logical -- well, what passes for logical in this article, anyway -- to upgrade to a better class of canine than your standard German Shepherd: Lockjaw, a dog with super-powers who lives on the moon.

Not only does he have a history of saving the world and a pretty intimidating presence, but he's easily one of the most laid-back characters in comics history, and that tuning fork on his head gives him the power to teleport. Chances are, if you run across Lockjaw while you're carrying something you don't necessarily want the officials to find out about, you can probably slip him a few Scooby Snacks to bypass the line entirely and get zapped to your destination without ever setting foot on a plane.

Be advised, though: Even Lockjaw's teleportation gets routed through O'Hare.



At the end of the day, the best way to go about things is going to be to get someone who both loves his job and knows his stuff. Thus, Tommy Monagahan, alias Hitman, a small-time Gotham City assassin who was kidnapped by evil alien space-bugs who gave him X-ray vision and the ability to read minds.

Yes, really.

The goofiness of his origin aside, those two powers make him absolutely perfect for picking out illegal substances from a crowd of travelers, and after 60 issues of blowing away evil super-humans for money using everything from a 9 millimeter pistol to a World War II era tank, I'm pretty sure he knows what to look for.

And hey, if you'd rather not have the creepy alien X-ray eyes of a hired killer checking out your stuff -- which, now that I write it down, is pretty understandable -- then don't worry. You can still opt for the pat-down; Tommy's got a friend to take care of that too: