Super Mensch

Look! Up in the sky! It’s Noah’s dove! It’s an El Al flight! No, it’s Mr. Mitzvah, who, in his secret identity as 51-year-old recording artist and philanthropist Sir Ivan (aka Ivan Wilzig), has joined 10 other would-be superheroes for the second season of the Sci Fi Channel’s “Who Wants To Be a Superhero?” As Mr. Mitzvah, Sir Ivan will compete for the chance to appear in a comic created by Stan Lee, and to have his character made into an action figure by Shocker Toys.

Lee is once again hosting and producing the hit show, which this season will take place in a fictional city — in the fashion of comic books — where the contestants will live full time as their heroic alter egos. Each week, the would-be superheroes, supervised by Lee, will face challenges based on courage, compassion, resourcefulness and other heroic qualities. They will even face villains in their bid to prove themselves. This season’s contestants include such diverse super people as Braid, a shape-shifter with prehensile hair; Ms. Limelight, a luscious blonde who takes on traits of famous action stars, and Hygena, who fights crime with a variety of super cleaning utensils.

Mr. Mitzvah’s powers are listed as night vision, ability to fly, super-strength and enhanced senses. But it’s his Star of David paddle, which he uses to deflect any attack (God originally gave the paddle to David after David defeated Goliath, and it was passed to Mr. Mitzvah, a direct descendant of David), that makes this hero kosher.

Throughout history, Jews have been intimately involved in comic books and superheroes; many famous characters and stories were drawn and written by Jews (including Spider-Man creator Lee), and many of the stories contain Jewish themes, even if the characters themselves are not overtly Jewish. Mr. Mitzvah, child of a Holocaust survivor, seems a natural choice to fight evil, so long as he can avoid his weakness: nonkosher foods. The season premieres July 26 on the Sci Fi Channel.

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