So one of the books I'm reading right now* is a Wolverine tie-in novel titled Violent Tendencies. And I'm not enjoying it, particularly, because there's not enough Wolverine in it, and as I was brushing my teeth this morning, I was trying to pin down why this and the Cable & Deadpool series, which I've been reading off and on over the past few days don't work for me the same way equally implausible manga do.
I think may be down to a difference in earnestness: for sure the Wolverine novel spends way too long explaining how it's possible for these new (throwaway) Weapon-X-type super-soldiers to work. The scene I just read features one named Blowtorch who just torched most of a mountainside while trying to catch Wolverine, and his handler explains in excruciatingly great detail to another viewpoint character how they grafted cow stomachs onto his lungs so that he had a great capacity for inhaling air, how he generated flammable gasses, how these structures in his throat provide the spark, how he has these bony spiky structures that shoot nitrogen to immediately douse the flames, and so on. All it did was explain to me how stupidly improbable that was. They would have been better off just saying "Dude, he breathes fire."
Rurouni Kenshin did much the same thing with a character, minus the extinguishing ability, just by saying "Yeah, he's got an oil-bag in his stomach with the nozzle in his mouth and he replaced his front teeth with flint to cause sparks but that doesn't really matter LET'S GET ON WITH THE BOOM."
Cable & Deadpool has Cable setting himself up as a Jesus figure, which ought to be howlingly hysterical, but it's not working even as a crack-filled thing for me, because ... I can't pin it down exactly. Somehow I'm not carried along with the crack** as much as I ought to be, and spend way too much time going "Er, so if Cable was in telepathic contact with everyone on the planet and they all agree they want him to bring peace, how come none of the world leaders and the characters we see in S.H.I.E.L.D. and the like agree?" and wondering about the logistics of his manufactured island paradise.
In Saiyuki, for example, it took me a very long time to start wondering about Sanzo's gold card, which assumes an advanced technological framework which isn't in evidence, and even though I can see the inconsistencies and holes in the worldbuilding, they're never enough to stop me from getting into the story. Perhaps because Minekura doesn't bother to explain them - I can accept the gold card as a running joke without thinking about the consequences that it really ought to have, but if she started throwing out some sort of handwavium about how there's a direct spiritual connection to the temple that's footing the bill (and occasionally getting angry at how much he spends) or whatever, then I'd be thrown out of the story.
It's not about the degree of overpowerdness, either: I'd throw any of the characters in Samurai Deeper Kyo up against Marvel characters, because they're all equally ridiculously overpowered. But SDK works better than Marvel for me on that level.
It may also be that Marvel, for the most part, pays lip-service to being science fiction, with the need for associated explanations in an attempt to fit into the world of physics and chemistry, while SDK just gleefully assumes it's all
magic spiritual power and gets on with the damn job of being entertaining.
Hrm. I don't really have any conclusions, just a bunch of disjointed thoughts at the moment.
* What? I never have fewer than five books going at once. XD
** Although I appreciate things like Deadpool not being hire-able by anyone (because they all think he tried to kill Cable BEFORE HE RESURRECTED AS A RAPIDLY-GROWING CHILD FROM AN ALTERNATE DIMENSION RAISED BY MR SINISTER AND THAT WAS ABOUT THE ONLY PART THAT WORKED ON THE PROPER LEVEL IT OUGHT FOR ME) so Cable's sneaking around and hiring Deadpool without him knowing it's Cable doing it so he can feel useful.