I’ve been watching Batman Beyond again. For the fifth or six time, probably. I was a few months shy of my tenth birthday when Batman: The Animated Series began its run, and my ideal Gotham can only be seen through Bruce Timm-colored glasses. I will forever say “Raysch” al Ghul, I don’t care how much money Christopher Nolan has. Couple all that with my abiding appreciation of Will Friedle, and you’ve pretty much got my measure.
The second season of Batman Beyond starts with “Splicers,” one of my favorite episodes. It involves a charismatic nut-bar of a mad scientist who’s using cross-species genetics to give angsty youths access to an endless, lamp-heated buffet of animal traits. And to make Ice-T pretty again. Naturally, all this evolutionary potpourri-ing got me thinking about which precious critter DNA I’d like to wrap my nuclei around.
If money were a consideration, I guess I’d have to give myself some platypus powers—you know, venom, electrolocation, adorable beaver tail—to get the most bang for my buck. However, I’m hoping that by the time these upgrades are available, government subsidies will cover the lion’s share of the cost. Literally. Essence of Lion is so spendy.
Anyway, here’s where I’d start:
— The mammoth carcass that scientists discovered in Siberia last year allegedly contained liquid blood, despite the sub-freezing temperatures. Since then, mammoth mavens have been studying the possibility of cryoprotectant properties in mammoth blood. Ever since I read early reports of this blood, I’ve been excited. Adding +20 frost resistance to my blood would mean no longer having to walk around my super-chilled local Target wearing a hoodie in the middle of August, people staring at me like I’m some sort of pariah.
— Not for the super-human cuddliness, but for the amazing color changing. And bringing up my cuttlebone could be a great icebreaker.
— For the super-human cuddliness.
— Mongooses, or mongeese as they like to say at Merriam-Webster, don’t just hang their hats on their relatively large anal scent glands (because how could they?). No, their real real-dealness comes from the fact that they’re pretty much snake-proof! Their neuroreceptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine are shaped in such a way that neurotoxins from snake venom—maybe even from venom-borne hemotoxins—can’t attach themselves to the receptors. The venom just bounces harmlessly off of the mongooses’ armadillo-like brain armor. It’d be like being a honey badger, but without everyone thinking you’re a total D-bag.
— Armor for my non-brain bits.
— Not only can they survive by eating any ol’ garbage they find, but they can actually flourish by doing so. Sign me up!
— Despite this potentially being the pièce de résistance in my molecular menagerie, I’m not sure about it. Turritopsis dohrnii, the immortal jellyfish, has the incredible ability to revert to its polyp state, pretty much hitting the reset button on its life. But it’s that reset that’s the problem. Sure, immortality is cool on paper, but if I have to turn back into a wee bairn every time I cut one of my arms off, it might not be worth it. If I get to keep everything I’ve already learned, then maybe. Still, I really don’t want to have to not finish high school again. And I might not survive having to relearn that every single Red Hot Chili Peppers song sounds exactly the same, immortality or no.