As this Avengers thingy comes up, it gets me thinking idly of comic book superheroes. I never bought a comic book, and probably never will. But I did watch the DCAU, and several superhero movies, and I have read the histories of various characters online. So I decided to make a list of my favorites.
1) Shazam/Captain Marvel -- I've always liked the Golden Age heroes better than the gritty modern-day versions. Sure, the new age of grim and violent comics for teenagers have its merits, but it detracts from what superheroes are supposed to be. As far as I can see, the only four who retain this for the most part are Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and Captain Marvel. Nonetheless, Captain Marvel, (or rather now, Shazam) has become my favorite largely because he is almost a personification of 1940's superhero comic book characters. He's a kid who shouts "SHAZAM!" and gains the wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles, and speed of Mercury and as an added bonus, instantly grows up. If Spider-Man was an interesting hero as a teenage webslinger, the simple concept of Billy Batson spending his time after school as Shazam is even more attention-grabbing. But what I like most about Earth's Mightiest Mortal is that while people continually try to adapt Superman to be darker (which you can't really do with the character without ruining him), Captain Marvel has remained the boyish magical counterpart to Superman. Unfortunately, the reinterpretation of Billy Batson after that New 52 reboot thingy seems to be trying to do the same with the new hero, Shazam.
2) Spider-Man -- Before watching Spider-Man
and Spider-Man 2
, I had never really seen any superhero entertainment outside of the Batman animated series, which I didn't understand at the time. As a result, Superman and Batman were my favorites. But after watching those movies on TV at my aunt's house, Spider-Man was automatically my favorite until I rewatched the DCAU years later. Spider-Man actually isn't all that interesting of a hero, when you look at it. Put him next to Superman, Wonder Woman, the Hulk, and Thor, and you see why Spider-Man sticks to saving NYC rather than the world, Peter Parker and his struggles with being Spider-Man is what makes the webslinger interesting. Spider-Man 3
was a big letdown though. Hoping The Amazing Spider-Man
proves to follow the original two rather than the finale.
3/4) Batman/Superman -- In this case, it depends on what you're looking at. If it's the DCAU or cinema, Batman is my 3rd place choice, but anywhere else, the Man of Tomorrow takes that spot, primarily because the comic book Batman is just too
dark for my tastes. Everything is gruesome and hopeless, while in the DCAU, there's a healthy balance added. DCAU Batman does find some levity, and is still pure hero rather than sitting on the line between hero and antihero. (Primarily because of his no-killing rule. The gruesome villains don't help either.) Superman, on the other hand, is still fighting for truth, justice, and the American way at all times, and while that makes him somewhat bland in comparison, I find it somewhat refreshing when you've got so many like Batman and Wolverine. (One way you could make Superman darker is to play him in a similar way to his behavior pre-Cadmus in Justice League Unlimited
, making him lean more towards the un-American way, but for American motives without him realizing it.)
5) Captain America -- This is easy. Cap is essentially a young Uncle Sam, with peak human abilities and a shield. One thing I do find odd about him is how Jack Kirby always drew him sorta' hunchbacked. Nonetheless, Captain America is my favorite Avenger, and coincidentally, I liked his movie best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well.
As a side note, though I like DC better, one thing I like about Marvel are the titles. Not just Spider-Man, The
. Not just The Hulk
. Then there's also The Invincible Iron Man, The Uncanny X-Men
, and The Mighty Thor
. Speaking of which, why is Captain America just plain ol' Captain America