The trope of the horribly wrong

horribly wrong

A nerdy science student is bitten by a radioactive spider. A scientist rescues a kid from a nuclear bomb test site but is irradiated by the explosion. A family tests a spaceship and flies through a gamma-ray cloud.

Scientists try something and it goes horribly wrong. It’s the quintessential superhero origin story. And supervillains, too, come to think.


“What could go wrong?”

“Didn’t I just say? That kid in Brooklyn who didn’t go to the hospital after the radioactive spider bit him. The scientist in New Mexico. That poor family. They’re all dead. If you try this one yourself without more tests or certainty, you get to join them.”

“I’m certain about this.”

“And I’m certain you’ll kill yourself. You want to gamble your life on whose hypothesis is sounder?”

“Hmmm. Maybe you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right. One of us has to be the grownup in the room.”

“That means, you know, that one of us has to be the curious child.”

“No, it doesn’t. What are you doing?”

“Can’t you see? I’m jumping —”