Superman or Batman?

Who would you want to be?

If you could be a superhero, who would you be?

David Peck

I ask this question since the wonderful movie “The Avengers” plays this weekend at the Hyart Theatre in Lovell.

I grew up reading Detective Comics comic books, loving Superman and Batman and all of the other characters. I wasn’t into Marvel Comics, which “The Avengers” is based on, but the franchise has nearly matched DC on the big screen with the Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and others. The latest movie is delightful, not because of its special effects but because of its pacing and strong screenplay. It’s lots of fun, with plenty of snappy lines like, “I have an army” followed by “We have a Hulk.”

When the movie’s arch villain Loki, half brother of the Norse god Thor, asks the Hulk to bow down and worship him, let’s just say that it doesn’t go very well for the fellow.

Detective Comics had many superheroes, some of whom had a variety of “powers” and others who had one specialized ability, which opens up the genre to satire, such as the humorous 1999 movie “Mystery Men” about a group of amateur superheroes who join forces to save the day. In the movie, the characters included Mr. Furious, whose only power was the ability to get really angry, the Blue Raja, who could throw forks, The Shoveler, who worked with, well, shovels, The Bowler, who could knock down foes with her father’s skull, and The Spleen, who was simply flatulent and stinky.

“Sky High” made fun of kids with “lesser powers” in a similar manner.

So who would you like to be? The Hulk seems to be kind of inconvenient. You have to be minding your own business one minute, then get provoked into an out-of-control beast that shreds all of your clothing as he grows and basically destroys everything in sight.

Nah.

Iron Man is certainly enticing. A billionaire playboy who gets to hang out with Gwyneth Paltrow, fly around the world and build all kinds of amazing suits. I could live with that.

Captain America seems to be a bit too stiff for my tastes, and I’m not really sure what his power is except that he is some kind of genetically perfect human who has a really cool shield.

Batman has a wonderful combination of scientific knowledge, wealth, fighting skills and a kind of dark side, a mystique that leaves you wondering if he is good or bad, unlike Adam West’s delightfully campy version from the 1960s.

Of course, everyone would love to be Superman or Supergirl, who can do just about anything, are invulnerable to injury, can fly and have powers like X-ray vision. But if you wanted just one special power, what would it be?

The Flash has super speed, which could be kind of fun, Wonder Woman has the lasso of truth, the Green Lantern has an amazing ring of power, and Aquaman can swim the oceans and control all of the sea life, which could come in handy for serious anglers.

There are dozens of superhero characters created with spinoffs like the Justice League of America, the Teen Titans and the Fantastic Four – you gotta love Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. There are also other series like X-Men, which have been successfully taken to film.

It’s hard for me to decide. As a teen, the thought of having X-ray vision was certainly enticing, for obvious reasons, and as a kid I wanted to have a true super power, not just be some kind of souped-up regular human being like Batman or Captain America. I’m not sure I’d like being some kind of mutant like the X-Men, either.

I want to be able to fly to other planets or zoom around at super speeds or something like that…or have something like a magic ring to allow me to do the same. (Green Lantern was one of my favorites). I wouldn’t want to just go around punching people.

But, of course, aside from my wife’s pre-school students, who in some cases truly believe they are a superhero, I’ll just have to settle for the character my wife probably figures I really am — Mr. Furious or The Spleen.

By David Peck

 

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