I was originally going to call this “Why DC sucks.”
Any time there are two “reigning champions” of anything, there is a certain level of tension between their loyal followers simply because one of them “has to be better.”
This eternal plight to determine who reigns supreme in any given category is constantly manifested throughout our “pop-culture” with rivalries like Microsoft Vs. Sony, Kirk Vs. Picard, Apple Vs. all other inferior products, Bourne Vs. Bond, etc.
However, dominating the conversation of novice-level comic book lovers is the battle between what I call the “Comic Superpowers” (the pun was not intended, but you’re welcome to laugh at it if you so please.) Marvel and DC.
DC heroes seem to choose their fate whereas with Marvel’s heroes, fate chooses them.
Like Batman. Batman is mindblowingly cool. I doubt that’s ever been disputed, but if it has, it was probably because of this: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_XcFdwH4T64I/TKQykJF6dRI/AAAAAAAADaw/eaBKTWL3Bsc/s1600/robin_batman1966.jpg (I love Robins facial expression.)
Granted, Bruce Wayne had no choice in the murder of his parents. But there were a million and one paths that he might of gone down after that fateful night, such as going into foster-care or being turned over to child services. Instead, he swore a vow to avenge his parents and “clean Gotham City.” He traveled the world to acquire the skills needed to fulfill that promise, mastering every fighting style and learning from the worlds greatest detectives, eventually emerging as the Dark Knight. But he chose that path.
Now personally, I’ve always seen Batmans Marvel-counterpart as Wolverine, probably because they both claim the title of being the ultimate badass in their respective universes.
See, Wolverine was born a mutant. He had bone-claws long before adamantium was fused to his skeleton. Add that to an incredible self-healing ability and the fact that he’s always pissed off (which I think is a super power in and of itself) and boom. You’ve got yourself a Canadian death machine.
His story is actually quite tragic. As a child, Wolverine, AKA Logan, kills the man that murdered his father, but in actuality the man he killed WAS his father, he’s thrown out by his mother who commits suicide, his grandfather sends him away with his childhood companion, Rose, who he accidentally kills with his claws. He lives with wolves until being persuaded to rejoin civilization among the Blackfoot indians. He takes a lover who is murdered by another Blackfoot, then joins the Canadian military, fighting in both world wars, and then joins Team X.
While serving under Team X, he’s brainwashed. He eventually manages to break free of mind control, but then he’s kidnapped by Weapon X, tortured, experimented on and infused with adamantium. Eventually he escapes and join the X-men, and you think “yay, he found a place to belong!” But no. The Canadian government actually sent Wolverine to kill Xavier, and Xavier brainwashed him and forced him to join the X-men.
Later, a group called the Red Right Hand manages to send Wolverine to hell. Yeah.
He meets his father and is possessed, but he does manage to bust out. So, he’s breaks outta hell and you think, “Okay, maybe now things will go well?” Nope. Because of his possession, he becomes erratically violent, and his only “friends,” the X-Men, decide that Logan would rather die than hurt innocent people. So he’s trying to fend off the freaking X-Men while fighting the literal demons inside of him. Eventually he’s successful. So, he goes to kill the RRH, right? I mean, they sent him to HELL! Don’t tell me you wouldn’t be just as pissed. BUT! When he finds them, they’ve all committed suicide. Then, he finds the note they left him explaining that they were all his illegitimate children. Yeah. So don’t have sex or you’ll get sent to hell.
I mean, how do you even walk away from that? Batman gets to switch back to Bruce Wayne, spend lots of money, and party it up in Wayne manner, whereas Wolverine just becomes an alcoholic. Batman chose his fate. Wolverines fate chose him.
DC just seems flat. Like Superman. I love Superman because of the Kryptonian aspect. I love kal-el, red kryptonite, and the alien side to his story. But the fact that he’s nearly invincible is a bit of a turn-off, while at the same time kind of awesome. So it’s sort of a love-hate relationship. But Superman chose to BE Superman. He chose to be the guardian of mankind. No, he didn’t choose to be sent to earth, but he didn’t have to stay there.
With Superman, you always know whats about to happen. He’ll use his laser eyes or he’ll “run really fast and stop all the bullets” or whatever. But he’ll win because he’s essentially unbeatable. And as a side note, why is it that Superman is fast enough to make the earth spin around backwards and REVERSE time, but he couldn’t stop both missiles? Seriously, bad planning. And in his free-time he’s a mild-mannered reporter named Peter Parker. I mean uh, Clark Kent.
To counter, let’s bring up the Hulk. The INCREDIBLE Hulk.
First off, I LOVE BRUCE BANNER. I love his broken, fractured personality. He was a scientist, developing a “gamma bomb” when he was exposed to extreme amounts of gamma radiation that should have killed him, but instead turns into the Hulk, a relentlessly brutal green monster fueled by pure rage. He smashes tanks and buildings and causes millions of tax-payers dollars in damages. He goes to and from his hulk-state, making him a real-life Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He remains emotionally distant from life at hand to avoid “going green,” avoiding any real and meaningful relationships because he knows he’ll only end up hurting them. And not in the Tao Cruz “I’m only gonna break break yo heart” kinda way.
As a child he watched his father physically abuse his mother, leaving him in a constant state of fear, anger, and fear of anger. He didn’t choose to become the hulk. It was the result of an accident while saving a teenage boy. So he lives his life a fugitive, while slowly declining into criminal insanity and fighting an internal battle to maintain control of the “other guy.” Imagine living with two people inside of the same body.
Character wise, I give the Marvel the winning vote, but when it comes to handling business and knowing how to run the universe, DC is definitely the winner.
DC actually pioneered the concept of a shared universe. Marvel used this same concept but not until later. DC’s characters are spread out all over America and the world, whereas a large number of Marvels characters are based in New York City. DC tends to stick with a more realistic earth, whereas Marvel varies widely.
But the thing about Marvel is that it goes so deep. There is level upon level upon level of “higher power” whereas DC seems to flirt with the idea, but things are rarely defined. DC also has more instances of retconning, the latest of which being “The New 52.”
While Marvels characters tend to be darker, and centered around tragedy and lifechanging misfortune, DC’s heroes are much more grand. I mean, the Justice League has their own space station. The Avengers have… what? An Airship? Okay Flash Gordon…
DC also has these intricate ways of explaining the powers it’s heroes maintain. For instance, the Speedsters.
At first glance, the Flash seems so boring. He runs really fast. Big whoop. But whyyyy does he run fast? It’s an extra-dimensional energy source called the “Speed Force” which allows the “speedsters” (yeah, names a little lame. But whatever) with the ability to run faster than the speed of light, allowing them to go so far as to travel through time. As patriotic as the DC heroes are, The Flash kinda seems like a jerk for not killing Hitler. But DC heroes tend to abstain from killing.
Overall, DC and Marvel really do complement eachother. They present diverse heroes from all walks of life dawning the mask and cape to fight for justice. They even crossover at times. But I do think a mortal kombat style Marvel Vs. DC game would sell like a billion copies.
Both universes have their pro’s and con’s, but if a winner had to be chosen, I only have one thing to say to the DC fans: Aquaman.
Childhood is like a long walk up a short hill. As we reach the top we see an edge and realize we’re being led toward. At the point of adulthood we are thrown from the edge and told that we better learn to fly. We swear we aren’t ready, but in life you rarely are.
So some learn to fly before they hit the ground. They enjoy being on top. Others don’t. They hit the ground and stay there. And a few catch a ledge on the way down. Hanging in the balance they dream of the sky but fear what lies at the bottom. Their fate is to live between two fates, wanting to change, but never making it that far.
So that’s it then. I guess I’d better learn to fly.