"What can you do with a character who responds to everything by either punching it or deploying Bat Anti-thing Spray. . . then punching it?"
Lex Luthor: What makes you think you can kill Superman when you can't even handle a mere mortal in a Halloween costume?
Protex: Batman! He's only a man!
Superman: The most dangerous man on Earth.
— JLA, "New World Order"
"I do it because there's nothing more powerful than an ordinary person."
"I do it because there's no such thing as an ordinary person."
—Batman (journal entry), Dectective Comics #27 Special Edition (Free Barnes & Noble promo issue), August 2014
[The Punisher] holds his own against all sorts of organized crime and powerful mutant villains and isn't even a real superhero - he's just some dude with enough guns to single-handedly outfit a revolution in a third-world country who has spent the better part of his lifetime cultivating a sense of revenge the likes of which makes the Count of Monte Cristo look like an inflatable inner-tube shaped like a purple bunny sailing down the River of Eternal Happiness.
The great thing about Han [Solo] is that he's just a regular guy with no superpowers, and he somehow manages to hold his own in a galaxy filled with giant monsters, crazy technology and angry motherfuckers with lightsabers who can move objects with their minds and set people on fire just by thinking about it. People are getting Force Choked the fuck out all over the place, entire planets are being blown up by giant universe-killing space stations, Luke is doing backflips in his sleep while bench-pressing Yoda, and in the middle of all this futuristic ridiculous space-insanity is Han Solo, who has little more to offer than piloting skills and a pistol, and he's taking care of business, saving Jedi Luke's hide from certain death, and generally just making everyone around him his bitches.''
Bun-bun: Oh sure, it's really easy to be "tough" when you're totally invulnerable. Sounds more like a petty *beep*hole to me.
Lodoze: Is that so?
Bun-bun: Finally, some service around here! Get me a refill on this stuff, ugly! And try not to stare at it, you'll scare all the booze out of it!
— Sluggy Freelance, "GOFOTRON Champion of the Cosmos"
Super powers do NOT a hero make!
Bull Dog: Oh dear, no power? So how do you fight any bloomin' crime then?
Ace the Bat-Hound: I throw things.
Mammoth Mutt: You throw things, huh?
Krypto the Superdog: Hey, h-he doesn't just throw things! He, uh, he throws them... really well!
— Krypto the Superdog, "Bat Hound Meets the Dog Stars"
I'll have you know that I've taken out half a dozen villains with more power than you before I showed up to work today. Do you know how I, a lowly human, can do that while the rest of you fly around this city like you're gods? I can take you down because I'm just that much better than you. Take away your powers and you're nothing. Nothing! I win because I want it more than you. I win because I will never give up.
— Marshall Brass, City of Villains
Hyde: You cannot avoid me for long! You are just an ordinary man... but I am Hyde! Hyde!
Captain America: Well, then here's an interesting lesson for you... Never underestimate the ordinary man!
She has no inherent understanding of superscience, no connections to alternate dimensions, no blessings of Abrahamaic deities. She's not a time traveler, nor an android, nor an extraterrestrial, nor a demon. She doesn't control the weather, nor suddenly appear in your dreams, nor shapeshift into different forms, nor pull weapons out of thin air. She's just a human - a perfectly normal human woman with expertises and limitations consistent with known phenomenon. And that's exactly what makes her so damned intimidating!
— CDR Colby Burns, NOAA liaison to the SCP Foundation
I survived the Battle of Yavin. I survived the Battle of Hoth. Hell - just a couple of weeks ago I blew up the Death Star during the Battle of Endor. The reason I'm still breathing when a lot of other good Rebel pilots aren't? Maybe it's because I'm better. Or maybe I'm just lucky.
At the end of the day, though he's been ferried through Space Hell on a ship that's four thousand years old to his destination, though he deployed from high orbit with a grav chute, though he is one of ten million men raised from his homeworld to fight a war he barely understands, though he has been given a weapon that fires miniature suns and might annihilate him when he fires it because no-one knows how it works anymore, though his company is supported by tractor-tanks that run on anything you can burn, though he wages war against a devouring hivemind or space demons...
...a Guardsman is a man, just like you, though he grew up in another culture. He has no millennia-old genetic engineering, no prophetic leader, no miracles of faith. He has his lasgun, his orders, and his fellow soldiers.
And he will hold the line.
— Anonymous, on Warhammer 40,000's Imperial Guard
Needless to say, the beast was stunned.
Whip-crack went his Whoopy tail,
And the beast was done.
He asked us: "(snort) Be you angels?"
And we said, "Nay. We are but men." ROCK!!
— Tenacious D, "Tribute"
All through your flying life, you may have to face the fact that pilots who use the Force will be able to react more quickly, aim more accurately, get the better starfighters, get the greater fame. But those of us who can't use the Force - well, when we manage to make it to the top of our profession, we can look the Jedi in the eye and remind ourselves that we got there without any crutches.
— Wedge Antilles to his daughter Syal, Legacy of the Force
This is not some agent provocateur or highly trained assassin we are discussing. Gordon Freeman is a theoretical physicist who had hardly earned the distinction of his Ph.D. at the time of the Black Mesa Incident. I have good reason to believe that in the intervening years, he was in a state that precluded further development of covert skills. The man you have consistently failed to slow, let alone capture, is by all standards simply that - an ordinary man.
— Dr. Wallace Breen, Half-Life 2
Y'know, ever since I was a kid, I always wondered what I'd do with super powers. 'Course, if you think about it, do you really need 'em? Like, we ordinary folk seem to get along fine without 'em. I guess if you forget your keys and had to break a door.
I can't fly, but I can kick your ass.
— Kick-Ass, and the film's tagline
But, I can't sense spirits or see through girls' swimsuits or move a 10-yen coin in my sleep...
Fortune favors the mortal man.
— Shinsei, Legend of the Five Rings
She's still close enough to human that we can just about appreciate how insanely good she is.
— Chisame Hasegawa on Ku Fei, Mahou Sensei Negima!
Martian Manhunter: You really should be resting. I know this must be hard for you, feeling vulnerable. You're the only one of us without special powers, but you don't need to prove yourself. You're a valued member of this team, and we're only trying to-
Batman: I'm taking the shuttle. Unless you want to try and stop me.
Martian Manhunter: (beat) No. (moves out of the way)
— Justice League
Mai: How do you expect to fight without your bending?
Edgeworth: This gun was found on the crime scene. Furthermore, the victim died of a gunshot wound to the chest. From the evidence, it can be concluded that the victim was shot. With the gun.
This is Poyo. Poyo was exposed to a near lethal amount of radiation as an egg during the first stages of a government experiment to create mutant super soldiers, trained in exotic martial arts by Tibetan kung fu fightin' monks, and given strange bio-enhancements during a rash of farm animal abductions by extra-terrestrials.
Nah, just kidding. None of that shit is true. Poyo is just really, really badass.
Sherlock Holmes: No, Edward. You got it backwards. I am a human. You are just a vampire.
It may be old school, but it gets the job done.
— Adam Park, the only Ranger present without superpowers as a civilian, Power Rangers Operation Overdrive
What’s special about warriors?
We have no unfathomable arcane energies at our fingertips, no demons enslaved to our will, no spirits or gods smiling upon us. We don’t hide in shadows until we can cripple a victim with poison, or shoot our enemies while running from a safe distance. There is no great light or darkness suffusing our limbs to empower our blades, no bestial transformations to make us stronger. We’re ordinary men and women with nothing but some armor and a weapon going for us against beings with all the power of the cosmos at their beck and call. We’re not special, not in any way, shape, or form. Against the powers that shape the universe, we are mere specks of dust.
And they’re scared as hell of us because we fight them anyway.
— Player post on the World of Warcraft forums.
There is no such thing as "just a human".
—Math, Grrl Power
And the glorified bricklayer picks up the spare."