Beyoncé Shows Superheroes How It's Done

A fanfic Twitter account that imagines the performer has actual powers brilliantly parodies the masculine superhero complex, and her perfect hair.

Mason Poole/AP

Beyoncé is a superhero. Back in 2008, she revealed her alter ego, Sasha Fierce, whose powers included the ability to wear a Marvel-worthy motorcycle corset. In a more recent adventure, "Beyoncé's phone is dying and she can't find her power cable. She blows into her iPhone's charge port and her battery spikes from 3% to 110%."

Admittedly, that incident is not canon. It's part of the parody Twitter account @BEYONCEFANFIC started last February by fashion blogger Spencer Niemetz. Still, even if it is fanfic, it is fanfic that reveals a deeper truth: that Beyoncé is a perfect being sent to transform our drab everyday existence with her awesomeness.

Whether she's telling Jay Z how much edible gold to put in the eel casserole, teleporting herself into Law & Order SVU to help the detectives solve the crime, or failing to film an ice-bucket challenge because the water doesn't want to discommode her, Beyoncé's perfection is an uber-natural force. She is Buddha with flawless skin, Jesus with good shoes, God herself changing Perrier to wine. I'm sure that when @BEYONCEFANFIC gets around to imagining its heroine in The Avengers, the movie will end up no longer than a tweet. "Beyoncé hands Loki perfect lip gloss for his complexion; he abandons inter-dimensional invasion."

@BEYONCEFANFIC is in part a parody of Beyoncé herself; it's poking fun at her polished image of obsessive, anal perfection (literally in tweets like, "Before leaving for a weekend trip with Kelly and Michelle, Beyoncé sets a daily alarm that will remind her to go pretend to poop.") Part of the humor is in the fact that Beyoncé uses her vast powers not for stereotypically manly consequential world-saving feats, but for trivial small-bore stereotypically feminine crises. She travels in time not to thwart the mutant dangers of future past, but to download iOS 9; she summons wind not to defeat the bad guys, but to dry her Kurt Geiger pumps. Omnipotence for Beyoncé means donning the ideal (Freakum) dress; it's empowerment as fashion accessory.

@BEYONCEFANFIC isn't just a parody of Beyoncé though; it's a parody of superheroes as well. If Beyoncé focuses on the perfect shoes and the perfect nails, that's not a sign that she's misusing her superpowers; it's an indication that she's got higher priorities than the steroidal clashes of muscle-bound goons. After all, you've got to get dressed every day, but how often do you have to fight a super-villain? If you really had superpowers, wouldn't you use them to do what Beyoncé does—teleport your kid back into her stroller when she escapes; turn the foolish humans to stone when they try to yank your wig? With great power comes great opportunity to make the trivial irritations and difficulties of existence go away. It's a given of the superhero genre that getting superpowers increases your angst, but @BEYONCEFANFIC sees that for the clumsy narrative contrivance it is. Being God means never having a bad hair day.

Superhero parodies are a longstanding, entirely accepted part of the superhero genre, from early Superman goofs like Captain Marvel on through the Adam West Batman (which gets a direct shout out in the Twitter feed). The Twitter feed is high camp, not least because it takes steroetypically masculine dreams of superpowered fisticuffs and suggests that any superhero worth her salt would use, not her fists, but the transformative power of her glamour. "Jay-Z introduces Beyoncé to Grand Theft Auto V. Within an hour, all of the characters have left their lives of crime and formed a charity." That could almost come out of the original William Marston/Harry Peter Wonder Woman comics, where the Amazons would re-educate villains and teach them the virtue of submission and goodness. Just as Marston thought he could create a better, more effective superhero without all the "blood-curdling masculinity,” so @BEYONCEFANFIC is in the business, not of undermining superheroes, but of building a better, more perfect, more relevant superhero.

That's a task Beyoncé works at herself, at least on occasion. One of the myriad identities she adopts in her 2013 self-titled album is that of superhero-as-revolutionary. The video for "Superpower” shows Beyoncé striding through a bombed-out LA landscape in grunge chic, complete with ski-mask, torn stockings, neon green shorts, high heels, and a hint of underboob. She's joined by Frank Ocean with giant glasses and boa; a range of multiracial scraggly high-fashion rebels; and other assorted Beyoncé-affiliated celebrities (Kelly, Michelle, Jay Z). Images of them all walking together are interspersed with scenes of property damage, culminating in a confrontation with riot-gear clad police. Somewhere along the line Beyoncé changes into camouflage fatigues.

The video itself is fairly preposterous; Beyoncé as Marxist insurgent streetfighter may be even funnier than the @BEYONCEFANFIC tweets. But she sells the chorus, going deep into her range over the psychedelically slow doo-wop backing to answer Ocean's "a superpower" by replying "a subtle power." The world will be saved not by ostentatious force bolts but by the nuanced application of eyeliner and the sublimated oomph of sex. The revolution will not merely be televised, but will be glam.

Superman in his underwear defeats evil with his super-strength; Beyoncé in her underwear defeats evil with her super-fabulousness. Either way, the nakedness of the fantasy is a bit embarrassing for everyone involved. But then, if you're going to be all staid and respectable, why bother with fantasy, or fandom, at all? Maybe the ultimate Beyoncé fanfic would be, "Beyoncé waves her hand, everyone on earth becomes Beyoncé. World saved. Especially Michelle Williams."