BY SHANNON WILEY
There is a severe difference between being a hero as well as being “super”—as in cool or awesome—and being a superhero.
In order to be the latter, there has to be something extraordinary about the person, and that is meant in the most literal way: to be much more than an ordinary human.
Being rich and super good at karate just doesn’t cut it.
In this way, neither Iron Man nor The Green Arrow suffice, either.
For Iron Man—sorry, but having a super cool pacemaker just gives you an edge when you want to break the ice at parties. If you want to use your massive amounts of money to make your pacemaker into a super suit and save people’s lives, I love you and that is awesome, but you are still not a superhero.
Arrow was trained by insanely impressive people, just like Batman was with the League of Shadows, and I would totally trust either with my life especially because they have cool gizmos and gadgets to help them out, but my friend is really good at Tai Kwon Do, too, and I’d feel just as safe walking around with him at night.
Also, if these two are superheroes, is James Bond a superhero, too? Because they essentially do the same thing the same way.
If we change the meaning of superhero to mean someone impressive who saves people’s lives, then Batgirl (a.k.a. Oracle) should be on that list, as well, because she is super good with computers. Many of the lives saved by Batman can 100 percent be attributed to her figuring out some big problem. Without her intel, Batman’s “super skills” would have been worthless.
Superman and Spiderman, on the other hand, are completely different.
On his planet, Superman would not be a superhero because he is just like everyone else. However, being on Earth and having those capabilities that comes with being a Kryptonian makes him extraordinary. Pairing these abilities with his gallant acts, Superman is absolutely a superhero.
For Spiderman, although he was not born with his super-skills, he still is still extra-human; no one I know has ever climbed up a wall like a tarantula.
This trend continues with Wonder Woman who can fly, the Thing and the Hulk who similarly turn into a massive force of rock and muscle, the Invisible Woman (enough said), the Human Torch (again, self explanatory) and the Flash who can break the sound barrier with his speed. All of these incredible characters are far more than just people who had some special technology manufactured in order to fulfill some desperate act of charity.
Just like the discrepancy between superheroes and heroes that are super, the same goes for super-villains and villains that are simply insane.
For example, the Joker is scary as hell and I would avoid him at all costs, but besides that demonically genius mind and those nasty facial modifications, he is just like you and me.
The same is true for Dead Shot who is comparable to Annie Oakley, Two-Face who belongs in a support group to work out some of his issues and Lex Luther and Kingpin who are again just rich, strong and smart.
Ra’s al Ghul, on the other hand, is a super-villain because he is not only being deadly, but also immortal. Other villains who can classify themselves as “super-villains” include Magneto who is a mutant who can control metals, Doctor Octopus who is half man-half machine and Sandman who can turn himself into a sandstorm and is almost uncatchable.
Even Death Stroke can count as a super-villain because he underwent experimental treatment that made him extraordinarily strong and fast. This is especially true if we are talking about the CW’s Arrow version of Death Stroke, who is invincible due to his injections of Mirakuru.
Here’s the meat and potatoes: super means something when in conjunction with occupations like “hero” and “villain,” and we can’t just be throwing those terms around. If a helpful lifesaver is going to be classified as a superhero, or a criminal mastermind wants to be in the ranks with super-villains, they better damn well show us something more than their wits and their bank accounts.
So you better believe, Batman ain’t no superhero.
BY BJ DARDEN
Over this past week I heard something so offensive and inaccurate that I have decided to vent my frustrations through the power of American English.
Someone—hint, hint the author of the article to my left—had the gull and audacity to claim that Batman isn’t a superhero.
This isn’t the first time that this claim has been made, and certainly will not be the last, but, I thought it would be a good idea to address these claims.
While I am not very well versed in comic or superhero culture, I certainly do have a certain respect for the medium. I also do not allow my own ignorance to blind me, and I am sure anyone who is well versed in superhero culture will agree with me when I say that Batman is absolutely a superhero.
Some people say, “But he doesn’t have superpowers! He can’t be a superhero!”
Yes, they would be right that he does not have superpowers, he just has years upon years of intense martial arts training, as well as incredibly dense and astute detective skills. This isn’t your little brother’s karate class, it’s the League of Shadows.
You don’t just sign up and fill a waiver out to be a part of the League of Shadows. Batman had to find a rare flower, climb to a top of a mountain and then deliver said flower still intact.
After this he goes through months of intense training to master multiple forms of martial arts and heighten his senses. While this description tells how it happens in the movie “Batman Begins,” every iteration has some intense story like this.
There is easily a grocery list’s worth of things that makes Batman extraordinary, but at the end of the day, that’s not what makes him a superhero.
What makes Batman a superhero is that he is willing to save the day which is something so many people aren’t willing to do. The gadgets and hand to hand combat are cool, but they are nothing without the man inside the suit who wants to deliver justice.
Bruce Wayne is a billionaire; he doesn’t have to live in drainpipes of Gotham City if he doesn’t want to. He could just go and buy a nice loft in Austin, Texas or San Diego, California—literally anywhere but Gotham City.
However, he stays here because h is a superhero and it is his job to deliver justice and punishment in the city. Anyone in Wayne’s position would no way stay within 500 miles of that godforsaken city.
If you are a superhero, it doesn’t really matter what your powers are. What matters is that you use them for good and to help people.
Bruce Wayne uses his wealth and multiple forms of martial arts, to help others. Other superheroes like Iron Man, Robin and Black Widow just utilize their skills and abilities to do the same thing. The powers are a plus and all, but really it is the will to help people that makes you a super hero.
To go above and beyond that, Batman doesn’t kill people either, simply because he wants people to know he is a hero and not just a some vigilante.
To everyone who hates on Batman because he doesn’t have super powers. Understand, it’s not about the powers the person has, it’s about the person behind the mask.