The Hero vs. the person?

RialVestroRialVestro Posts: 6,393 ✭✭✭
In John Green's recent video "I kind of hate Batman" he talks about how Batman isn't a good super hero but a lot of what he's saying is actually wrong and has more to do with Bruce Wayne as a person than Batman as a Super Hero, hence the title.

I don't think being a good person is necessarily required to be a good super hero. There are super heroes who are horrible people. Booster Gold for example does it for entirely selfish reasons. He could care less about the people he saves as long as he gets recognition as the hero who saved them. This kind of mentality would normally be a bad thing. There are people in real life like this who generally turn out to be the person who caused the crime or danger to happen in the first place. Like a fire fighter starting a fire specifically so he can put it out and save the people in the building he burned. True heroes don't seek recognition for their work. They should get it anyway because it's awesome but most of the time they go unnoticed. Booster Gold on the other hand is from the future so he uses his future knowledge of historical events to stop the crimes before they can even happen. This would normally be a good thing as he could be making the future a much better place except again, it's for entirely selfish reasons. Like he isn't going back in time to kill Hitler before he could start World War II because then no one would even know who Hitler was or about the horrible things he would of done had he lived. He can't get recognition for that. He specifically picks crimes he knows will make the news ensuring his own place in history. His entire goal is basically to build his reputation as a great super hero but he's really a horribly selfish person. This doesn't really diminish the good he does, he's still saving lives, no matter the motive, it's still a good deed. I don't think that makes him a bad super hero, just a bad person.

On the flip side, there can also be someone who wants to be a super hero for the right reasons, is essentially a good person, but is just really bad at actually doing anything heroic. This is going to turn to pizza but... Kick Ass. Essentially a good person, but totally sucks as a super hero. He's always needing to be saved by much better heroes like Hit Girl because he can't do anything. He's essentially just a kid in a Halloween costume playing super hero. He's as bad at being a hero as Butters/Doctor Colossal, is at being a villain... actually I take that back, Butters is way more threatening than Kick Ass is heroic. That's pretty sad.

So what other comic book characters can you think of who are great super heroes but horrible people or horrible super heroes but good people. Lets even extend this out the other way... Villains who are evil but aren't actually threatening or threatening villains who aren't necessarily evil.

Obviously Mr. Freeze could be considered for the second one. I mean the man only wants to save his wife's life. He's not a bad guy but he is one of the more threatening villains. Except in the Adam West series or TheBatman cartoon because in those versions he didn't have a wife and was just a common jewel thief. But I prefer the more interesting version of the character who isn't actually a bad guy.

On the flip side, there's Baby Doll who is evil but it's kind of hard to take her seriously as a villain when she looks like a little girl. Even her weapons are designed to portray her a sweet innocent child. She's actually about 30 years old but her growth was stunted giving her the appearance of a 5 year old. That doesn't mean she has to dress and act like she's 5 but she does. Not a nice lady, but she looks and acts like a cute innocent little girl... and you can pretty much just put her in time out. Being a horrible person does not mean she's one of the most threatening super villains.
Ni, peng, nee-wom! Ecky, ecky, ecky, pakang, zoom-ping! Baa weep grahna weep ninny bong!


  • EvanNEvanN Lockport, NYPosts: 14
    You're right of course, being a good person is in no way a requisite for being a good hero. I would go so far as to say that Bruce Wayne is a terrible person; what kind of man adopts a broken child, teaches him to fight, and lets them get beat to pieces on the regular? He doesn't just mentor them, but DRIVES them to the point of breaking themselves. There are several instances where the various Robins just get pushed too far, and they serve as evidence of Bruce Wayne not being that great of a person.That said, Batman is an amazing hero.
    Booster Gold was a good example of a good hero being a bad person as well, but what about examples of bad  people being bad heroes? There's an interesting comic series called The Boys, in which almost all of the heroes in the world are corrupt and careless with the lives of the people they're supposed to protect. The situation gets bad enough that a group of "villains" is formed to challenge them and try and keep them in check. This leads me to the question, what if the superheros are responsible for creating their own villains? It's been regularly said that the Joker doesn't exist without Batman, or any of the Gotham villains; if Batman is the actual source of Gotham's villains, is he even that good of a hero? How many buildings has Superman destroyed in his battles? How many people injured as collateral damage in those fights? It's rarely addressed in the comics, but can he even be called a hero if he causes just as much damage as the villains. This might be an even better example than Batman, because Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor, is actually just an exceptional human who doesn't wish to accept the idea of a superior being. All of his struggles and plans are just a way of advancing humanity's cause in the universe, and his "villainy" is inspired by Superman's very existence. Really, he's the ultimate humanist.
    That got a little far afield, I know, but to summarize what I think I was getting at, I guess my point was that maybe there are no real heroes or villains; there are only people, reacting to each other, and everyone is at least a little bit of a villain.
  • RialVestroRialVestro Posts: 6,393 ✭✭✭
    On the subject of the many Robin's I would like to point out that Batman never actually wanted a side kick. They all had to beg him to mentor them and threatened to become crime fighters with or without his help. Basically, if he wasn't mentoring them they'd get their respective asses kicked even MORE.

    In regards to the villains not existing without Batman... This is actually questionable. In a real life sense the villains are literally created as threats to their respective hero counterparts. In story however depending on which version of the characters you're looking at, some times the villain's origin has nothing to do with the existence of Batman. Take the Joker for example. Until his origin was written showing that his skin condition was actually caused by Batman he didn't really need Batman to exist. That's actually one reason why I prefer Jack Nicholson's Joker to Heath Leadger's because a Joker with no history just isn't an interesting character. Why does he fight Batman at all? Why does he dress like a clown? Without that origin story he really has no sense of motivation, he just is because a writer made him. It would take a long time to go threw his entire rouges gallery but lets just say unless Batman had some kind of connection to the villain as part of their origin, they could theoretically still exist weather or not Batman did. A lot of them were already criminals before they became super villains so they could still exist just as normal gangsters rather than freaks. Jack Napier for example, without Batman he wouldn't be the Joker but he would still be a criminal.

    On the Superman destroying large portions of the city. Technically speaking he has little to no control over where a battle is going to take place. He always tries to move the battle away from populated areas whenever possible. A villain wouldn't really be much of a villain if they didn't put people's lives in danger and then Superman wouldn't need to battle them in the first place.
    Ni, peng, nee-wom! Ecky, ecky, ecky, pakang, zoom-ping! Baa weep grahna weep ninny bong!
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