Friday, August 04, 2006

The Best Superhero

Update: Did you get here by googling The Best Superhero? I posted this way way back when and didn't know the controversy it would generate -- but don't let that stop you from weighing in, as all the others have done. See the end of the post for more.

This is a real bone of contention in our house, I have to tell you. The Boy is a Batman fanatic. Nobody else will do. He's watched all the Batman movies, even the boring re-run with Christian Bale (and, seriously, Batman's origin is among the most boring of all of them. How often do we have to watch that again), he has a Batman poster on his wall, he just went to Six Flags Great America and came home with a Batman hat and a Batman shirt for Twin A, you see my point.

In a different corner is Sweetie, who loves Spiderman, and hopefully it is Spiderman she loves and not Tobey Maguire. (Because how could I compete?) Sweetie is not a superhero person, or a comics person, per se but Spiderman gets her, so much so that she threatened divorce if we were late for the premiere of Spiderman 2. I do not think she was joking.

Then there's me, and my encyclopedic knowledge of superheroes that people who limit themselves to movie and TV do not ever get. That's because I grew up reading comic books, and, boy, did I read them. And the more obscure the superheroes, the better I liked 'em. Blue Devil? Loved it. Firestorm? Thought he was great. Ambush Bug? Had the entire series. I collected volumes of the Legion of Superheroes, (and thank you, Wikipedians, for concentrating on comic book history.) I even knew some of the more obscure members of the Justice League of America after it was no longer the original Justice League. (Steel? Come on, he sucked.)

But I loved even the lame superheroes, like Aquaman, whose miniseries was underrated (James Cameron, take note!) And I liked the weird ones, like Wildfire (whose potential was never really explored.)

So I believe that I am uniquely qualified to weigh in on the Best Superhero. And I have to tell you, it's not Superman. What's so great about Superman? First of all, there's no suspense. He can't be hurt -- barring Kryptonite, which given that Superman is supposed to get his powers from the sun, makes no sense as his Achilles' heel, and which the other superheroes should have long ago rounded up and thrown into a star somewhere-- and his powers make no sense. Turn lakes to ice by blowing on them? X-ray vision? Heat vision? Okay, if I give you X-ray vision because his eyes are so strong they can see in different spectra, fine, but how can he shoot beams out of his eyes? And why not cold vision, then? (Oh, right, because his breath is super-cold but apparently not enough to freeze Lois Lane's face when he kisses her.) And does he have to eat? He's invulnerable and can fly in space without oxygen, so why eat? I don't like Superman.

And, sorry to The Boy and the Batgeeks, but Batman sucks. Yeah, mystery, yeah, haunted past, yeah, yeah, yeah, but he's just a rich guy with improbable gadgets. He's not a superhero, he's a well-equipped CIA agent. Hero, maybe, but SUPERhero? Not by a long shot. Plus, that boring origin story.

And we've come full circle, because despite my love of the obscure and weird and underrated superheroes out there, the correct answer was in front of our faces all along, and Sweetie got it right.

Spiderman is the best hero ever.

Superpowers that make sense? Yep. Weaknesses to add suspense? He got beat up by his own suit! Sympathetic background story that explains why he fights crime? He let his uncle's killer go while he counted his money. How sympathetic is that? You'd spend your nights brooding while hanging upside down from a web, too.

But Spidey's got more going for him. He was the first modern superhero, and by modern I mean: hates his job. He doesn't want to be a superhero anymore than you and I want to go into the office everyday. He doesn't get the benefits from it and has to try to make ends meet and get the girl anyway, and all he'd really like to do is spend his time making out with Mary Jane (I might be a little out-of-date on the comics that I haven't kept up with) and studying science and taking pictures. But he has to keep getting captured by the Beyonder, or fighting Doc Ock, or (once) meeting up with Superman to go into space to fight Lex Luthor (a great crossover!) and then, when that's all done, he comes home to find he's facing eviction.

Spidey has cool powers, a cool backstory, the best villains, and a real life outside of the webslinging. He's clearly the Best Superhero.


Other nominations:


Ultimate Spidey


Dr. Manhattan

The Hulk.

The Hulk, Juggernaut, Doomsday, Thor, Superman, Yoda.

Spider-Man. (That one was mine!)

Captain Carrot
(Me, again!)

Batman, again.

And, if you like Supervillains, you can check out these articles:


The Three Best Supervillains Who Deservedly Just Kept Coming Back And Should Keep Doing So.

The Best Worst Villain Ever,
a five-part series:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five


When Saoirse died in the plane crash, she had no idea that her life was just beginning. Now, she's running around her afterlife trying to find a way home... or to keep William Howard Taft from finding his way home.
Read the After, a thrilling novel published online at 5 Pages.


Anonymous said...

Batman sucks? Improbable gadgets? What's more improbable than an alien coming to earth from another planet, possessing all these superpowers, and oh by the way, he just happens to look EXACTLY like we do. Like THAT'S not improbable. Superman? Yeah right!

Batman's the only one on the list who actually COULD exist in real life. A rich guy with the money to buy the gadgets needed to defeat the bad guys. Good luck finding a guy who turns into a giant green monster when he gets angry, or someone who has the powers of a spider because he got bitten by one...haha. Get real! THAT'S improbable.

Batman's THE MAN! He defeats the bad guys without all the powers others possess, and that makes him the best of 'em all.

The Trouble With Roy said...

The Boy actually agrees with you. But here's my question: why hide your identity? Unless...

YOU are the Batman!

Anonymous said...

I do agree, Old batman is my favourite, but he isnt SUPER, like punisher, hes the man but not super. (punisher is the ducks nuts though)

BUT, spiderman is a pussy. Seriously. Im fairly sure i could beat him in a fight.

IMO there is no "best" superhero, as theyre all good at different things.

Anonymous said...

The Hulk is by far the best superhero ever!!! He blows spiderman out the water!!!

Anonymous said...

Dude that guy is right he is the bet ever he kicks ass hole off bitches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

dude hulk is the best the top six superheros are!!!!!!!!!!

1: The Hulk

2: Juggernaut

3: Doomsday

4: Mighty Thor

5: superman

6: Yoda

Anonymous said...

Batman is a superhero despite his not having super-powers. His resourcefulness, insight, and years of rigorous training make up for the absence of any other special abilities.

Physically, he is at the peak of human ability in dozens of areas, notably martial arts, acrobatics, strength, and escape artistry. Intellectually, he is just as peerless; Batman is one of the world's greatest scientists, criminologists, and tacticians, as well as a master of disguise. He is regarded as one of the DC Universe's greatest detectives. Rather than simply out-fighting his opponents, Batman often uses cunning and planning to outwit them.

As far as gadgets, yes he has them but that just barely scratches the surface of Batman's heroism. (yes I know he is not a real person)

Anonymous said...

Batman sucks! It's because he could exsist in real life! It makes him boring. We want fantasy superheroes, not real superheroes.

Colin said...

gotta be Batman, his stories are much more interesting,and he had the best TV showever(BTAS)

matt said...

Thor is the best. he has a great background story and he cant be beat, because he is as skilled in hand to hand combat as batmat or Cap, as strong as hulk, powerful as Silver Surfer and with the magic of Dr. Strange and has the mystery and fantasy that every real comic fan desires in a good story. His level of power increases and decreases by the writer but nevertheless no matter who writes him, it’s hard to beat him because he is the ultimate weapon and the strongest of the Gods besides Odin.

Dre'd Up said...

You guys are all out of your mind. Spider-Man, preferably Ultimate Spidey, can beat anyone on that list of yours probably except Thor or Doomsday, for one thing he has that they don't. Spidey Sense, plus the combined power of his super agility. In the Ultimate Universe, the Green Goblin really is a Green, Firebreathing, Torch, Goblin. He's big like the Hulk, except there is fire surrounding him. Spider-Man defeated him because of his Agility and Spidey Sense.

Ps... He's also the best trash talker. Look it up, he is. That's why is is gangster. He trash talked Doc Ock when he was falling off something and said "I can jump, Doc. AND THEN JUMP AGAIN."

Anonymous said...

u guys r all wrong its all about the siliver surfer he was raw he was'nt some faget from space born with his powers and he didnt get them by some gay spider bite. and unlike most he had no choice in becoming all powerfull he could eat planets for gods sake and most importantly who wouldnt want the power cosmic

Anonymous said...

You all are crazy, 450 pounds of demented, satanic, vengeful, animorphous, necroplasm: SPAWN!!!!!
He uses An axe, chains and spikes with a mind of their own, and an arsenal of dark magical powers, yet not unlimited, he can't be defeated, except by holy weapons, and in divine areas (which makes sense). And, he's dead, he has the most background ever (Thor sux)

Steven Lee Freeman said...

By the definition you used to rate this guy I would have to say the Flash is the best(plus i love him)he's not to overrated, plus it was a chemical spill (at least for Allen)and to me thats about as probable as a spider bite. But why say any superhero is the Best. First off you need to split it into cattegorys (as in Marvel and DC) then you might just say the Justice League is the best, due to the ability that as a team there preety amesom

Anonymous said...

I would have to say that my personal best superheroes would have to be Wolverine or Batman. I always like the dark loner of the superhero team. But every superhero is good, I think that everyone's favorite superhero is based on the one they can relate to and they one they would like to be.

Rogue Mutt said...

I remember watching the History Channel or A&E thing on Superman and the frozen breath thing was pretty much the only scientifically plausible power. A lot of Spidey's would be plausible except the shooting web balls thing, but if you used a retro virus to do it like they say then I doubt your Spidey would end up looking like Tobey Maguire.

Anonymous said...

I agree and disagree. Spiderman clearly has the best story outside of a costume. His web powers are also very cool. But no villains can compare to batman villains. not even one tiny bit. Many of Spiderman villains are animal based and not psychologically interesting. exceptions are kraven and the green goblin. Batman- Mr. Freeze, joker, two-face, poison ivy, scarecrow, the riddler, etc. just watch btas. All these villains can be case studies in psychology, not to mention they're less fruity than villains like the vulture and electro. also when some commentors here say that certain heroes with immense strength are the best, come on. anyone could create a character and bestow it with godly powers and bloody weapons and shit. creating deep characters and villains is the most important. don't even mention superman and his immortality (although he is the best american icon). Batman is the best, for sure. Spiderman second.

Nobreham said...

spiderman's Backstory: He was bitten by a Spider.
I would have to say Batman. Spawn is more demented and too high on vengeance. Spidey is a good acrobatist and he is smart and has spidey sense but he is too easily outsmarted and has too many weaknesses and a weak body. Dr.Manhatten... The Hulk is too big an relies too much on strength and is about as dumb as a jockstrap. Thor relies too much on his hammer and strength Yoda would be nothing without his lightsaber. Juggernaut isnt that hard to deal with nor is doomsday. Batman is equaled out in all statistics including Strength, Intelligence, Acrobatics, And Gadgets Plus he takes on some of the weirdest and most powerful villians in the world including Joker who could make a superweapon out of A Stick and Bottle Cap. so in my opinion batman is the best.

Anonymous said...

I have to tell you Superman is not my favorite superhero that would be Spider-man or Batman. However, I have to agree he is the best. He was the first. He was also one of the only superhero that would have made it back then. The censorship in America was much harsher than what it is today; it would have been incredibly hard to introduce some of the great characters that we all love today. The people of America needed a hero, but not one that was going to corrupt society, someone they could instead look up to. In addition, everyone knows who Superman is. If someone where to paint Spider-mans spider on a wall how many people would recognize it? The same with Batman if they just chose the bat without the yellow circle. Now lets say they painted Superman’s S on a wall. Every person in America is going to recognize it for what it is. Another thing Superman is not the best because of his powers or anything like that he is the best because of what he stands for. Hope. Superman was a symbol of hope for America. More so, I believe than even Captain America himself (and trust me it really hurt to say that). Superman has been the perfect hero for more than 70 years. One more thing if I -a 15 year old girl that loves comics so much that she reads the comics, the books, watches the movies, TV shows, and collects all the action figures because she loves all these heroes so much- can't convince you then no one can. I even wrote an Essay on this topic for school because it is what I believe. No one can change my mind. Superman is the best!

Anonymous said...

Spiderman can't even get to work on time! How is he the best!

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