Batman v. Superman

18 May

Whilst checking my e-mail at lunch, I saw that one of my friends had, as the LiveJournal email stated, “posted a new entry titled ‘Batman or Superman?’.” (The link doesn’t go to his LJ, because… well, why should it when there’s a non-LJ link to provide?)

I had such fun crafting my comment to GreyDuck’s entry (er, on LJ, backtracking on my own sentiment above) that I thought I’d share it over here:

Shows what a geek I am. I saw the title of the post in my Inbox and immediately said, “Batman” before I’d even read it. ;-)

This is my thing:

  • Superman: luckily crashed on a planet whose sun gives him extraordinary abilities.
  • Green Lantern: magic flashlight and ring.
  • Countless heroes: victims of radiation poisoning, receivers of lucky charms, magic devices, etc.

I’ve always favored the “self-empowered” superheroes.

  • Batman: As GreyDuck says, trained and honed and worked for it. Improved upon his nature-given intellect and physicality.
  • The Shadow: See above (after all, he was an inspiration for Bats), and put aside the radio-given mystical “mind-clouding” (which in and of itself he still had to study to achieve).
  • Spider-Man: I know, I know, radioactive spider bite. But I give ol’ Peter a bit of a pass because, unlike The Shadow and Batman with their access to massive fortunes (though one of them technically initially gained access by stealing it), he has to work for a living. Not to mention the fact that – film-rewritten origin stories aside – he invented the webshooters!

Basically, for me it comes down to the fact that any one of us could, conceivably, be a hero like Batman; it’s something to which we can realistically aspire. Again, you have to put aside the money issue, give up on the idea of having “all those wonderful toys”, but we could put in the work to gain that physicality, that knowledge, that skill – or at least become better versions of ourselves. We won’t be able to fly or see through walls, but we’ll have earned it. (Y’know, I think there’s a psychological metaphor in here somewhere…? *takes notes for future therapeutic use*)

Superman is too perfect. I like a bit of flaw in my heroes, a bit of ambiguity (Batman, Rorschach, V). They’re more human and definitely more interesting.

And let’s face it: if it came down to a fight between the Bats and Supes, you know Bruce is going to secrete a green rock somewhere on his person. ;-)

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4 Responses to “Batman v. Superman”

  1. Kristen 18 May 2010 at 18:15 #

    Hee. :) I immediately said Batman, too. Why? Much the same reasons, (although, Bruce Wayne is helped by having oodles of money,) and…he’s just more badass. While I tend to favor Marvel supes, (X-Men – ALWAYS,) DC wins this one. Batman walks the internal landscape of moral ambiguity, while ultimately fighting to serve his fellow citizens. I think most of us can relate to that. We want to do what’s right. Doing what is right can change depending on what angle it’s viewed from, (according to modern politics, anyway,) but we all *know* when our internal compass points to true north, don’t we? Also, Superman is kind of boring. ;)

  2. Simon 19 May 2010 at 03:47 #

    I think the problem with invulnerable heroes like Superman is the story has to introduce an artificial vulnerability to make any threat credible. With heroes like Batman, the vulnerability is innate (just well hidden), and the threat can be more subtle and interesting, making the story more interesting.

    • ButMadNNW 19 May 2010 at 07:33 #

      Excellent point, Simon. Same can be said about having villains who are too powerful. I believe it was Magneto whose powers the creators had to dilute because he was too unstoppable…

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