The Greatest Hero!

The Greatest Hero!

The Greatest Hero!

0 comments 📅07 October 2016, 10:34

Is there a hero that’s greater than all the rest? We all have our own opinions about who’s the greatest hero. I’m not going to talk about who the coolest is, or the strongest, or the best (cough *Superman*). I’m going to talk about who is the greatest. With so many superheroes to choose from it’s hard to choose just one. Let’s start by asking a question:

What is greatness?

There are obviously plenty of simple definitions; a quick Google search shows the definition as considerably above the normal or average. The problem with applying that to superheroes is they’re already well above average. So what do we measure them on? To truly understand greatness we have to stop thinking about just their powers, there’s much more to heroes than that. Let’s look at three things that make a hero great.

 

Power:

I know I know, I said stop thinking about power but it does play a part. Let’s take a look at some of the most powerful:

3.) The Flash

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Yes you read that right, Flash. “Oh but he just runs fast.” Oh how wrong you are. While speed is definitely the Flash’s power he doesn’t just run fast. He reads, thinks, and even talks fast. It’s really weird seeing speedsters talk to each other; check out this clip from Young Justice season 2 courtesy of gjedi86: https://youtu.be/7TC5vCyny_U . The speed of Flash’s thoughts render him immune to telepathy, his thoughts are so fast telepaths can’t keep up. When you add all these things up he really does become a powerhouse. Plus he runs at the speed of light, So he does a mile in 5.3 microseconds. (While some of us can’t even break the 8 minute mark)

2.) Superman

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My favorite of course but since this list is as unbiased as I can make it he’s 2nd. With all the powers he has Superman is no stranger to the word overpowered, and that’s okay with me. Super strength, freeze breath, heat vision, super hearing, x-ray vision, super breath, super speed, flight, invulnerability and don’t forget those things he throws from his chest in the second movie. These things and the fact his powers come from Earth’s yellow sun make Superman a force to be reckoned with.

1.) Silver Surfer & Dr. Manhattan

Though it pains me to do this I have to put them both here. They’re both fairly equal in power and I didn’t want you to think I was snubbing Marvel.

a. Silver Surfer

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The reason he’s tied for #1 is because of his ridiculous amount of powers (and you thought Superman was overpowered?); super strength, endurance, super senses, not to mention the fact that he can absorb and manipulate the universe’s ambient energy. Wait, there’s more. He can navigate through interstellar space and hyperspace which he enters after exceeding the speed of light. Sustain himself by converting matter into energy which means he doesn’t require food, water, air, or sleep. Cast illusions, and project energy creating, among other things, bolts and black holes, yup BLACK HOLES. He also creates portals, and let’s not get started on his board. I’m just going to stop here because there’s simply too much to list.

b. Dr. Manhattan

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In the dictionary when you look up overpowered there’s a picture of this guy next to it. Seriously look at this list; Omnipotence, Omnipresence, Omniscience, Omnificence, Omnilock, Omnifarious, Omnikinetic, Omni-Negation, Omni-Slayer, Omni-Senses, Omni-Perception, Omni-Counter, Omni-Magic, Omni-Fabrication, Omniverse Destruction, Omnicompetence, Omnicide, Omni-Replication, Omni-Linguism, Omni-Element Manipulation.

If you’re wondering what omni means it means all. All knowing, all perceiving, speaks all tongues, and a few words I’m pretty sure were made up just for him.The worst part is these aren’t even all his powers.

There’s also: absolute intelligence, strength, speed, endurance, stamina, memory, balance, senses, adaptation, athleticism, attack, beauty, charisma, combat, defense, leap, perception, regeneration, resurrection, indomitable will, infinite life energy, self-sustenance, invulnerability/flawless indestructibility, agility, flexibility, dexterity, versatility, immutability, immortality, immunity. Not to mention: extrasensory and visual powers, self-levitation, reactive adaptation/evolution, force-field creation, projection of destructive energy, ability to reverse entropy, intangibility/phasing, cross-dimensional awareness, psionic blast, dimensional travel, precognition, disintegration, ecological empathy, no need for air, water, food or sleep. They really should have just given him one power: the power to have whatever power you can think of, then we wouldn’t have to list so many.

Honorable mentions:

Martian Manhunter, Adam Warlock, Captain Marvel (the original, the one Marvel stole the name from), Doctor Strange, Nova and Thor.

I didn’t add these guys for the sake of brevity but that doesn’t mean they’re not still ridiculously powerful. Some of the honorable mentions might even be more powerful than the ones I actually wrote about but again brevity.

Morality:

I’m not going to start talking about what’s moral or immoral. In my honest opinion morality is relevant, what might be morally acceptable to me might not be so for you. So how do you gauge morality when it can be different for everyone? You gauge it based on that individual hero’s sense of morality. It sounds a bit weird I know but hear me out, how often do people break their own moral code? Well fairly often in real life and more so in comics.

Batman is a good example of that. He’s gone back and forth between being okay with violently murdering criminals and not doing it. That’s not to say that Batman doesn’t usually stick to his code. The thing is morality is relevant, so certain events can change someone’s moral code. Anyways let’s take a look at a few of the heroes who usually stick to their moral code:

3.) Captain America

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Now I know what you’re saying: “he’s killed tons of people; he fought in WWII for goodness sake.” However killing doesn’t make you immoral just like not killing doesn’t automatically make you morally sound. The thing is Captain America really only kills when it’s necessary, and with the Nazis all wanting your head it’s pretty necessary to kill as many of them as you can. Also he always fights for the little guy, it’s  for freedom and hates bullies.

2.) Spider-Man

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Do I really need to explain this one? Other than Superman Spider-Man is the biggest Boy Scout in comics. The list of people he’s killed is rather small compared to just about anyone else in comics. Not only does he rarely kill but it’s usually an accident, or a result of some poor choices. Even when he’s meant to kill someone he’s been remorseful and regretful. When Spider-Man killed Modular Man in Marvel Team-Up #90 using Killer Shrike’s electrical gauntlet, seemingly destroying him, Spider-Man’s own words were: “We may have destroyed a man, Beast! I know it was necessary and we didn’t have a choice, but I don’t have to like it!”

1.) Superman

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I know you saw this coming and I apologize; but let’s be real he’s called the big blue boy scout for a reason. Superman has been known to kill people but it’s been rare and usually in alternate storylines. He usually only kills when it’s necessary and he always regrets it. There’s plenty of reasons why I put him at number one on this list, but him being my favorite isn’t one of them; on the contrary he’s my favorite because I can put him on this list without the need to justify it.

A few more honorable mentions: Batman, Daredevil, and The Punisher. I want to say again morality is not something we can gauge for someone else, everyone’s is different. I feel the need to reiterate these are not necessarily the most morally acceptable heroes for everyone, they’re just heroes that truly stick to their morals.

Influence:

A hero isn’t a hero unless he makes a difference. Whether it be in the real world or the comic book world; you aren’t a hero until you’ve changed things for the better. Let’s take a look at some of the most influential and heroic heroes.

3.) Batman

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One of the most time tested heroes and one of the most heroic. From creating the Justice League and saving the world countless times, to helping the fight for freedom in WWII; Batman is, well he’s Batman, and that’s why he deserves to be on this list.

2.) The Hulk

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Not only is he powerful and well known just about everywhere the Hulk is an extremely influential hero. So influential that in a 1965 Esquire magazine survey he was listed as revolutionary icon, right up there with Che Guevara and Malcolm X.

1.) Spider-Man

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Another hero mentioned in the 1965 Esquire survey, it’s hard to put your finger on what makes Spider-Man so amazing; the superpowers, the backstory, the famous: “With great power comes great responsibility”.  The truth is there’s no one thing, it’s all of these things combined that have made Spider-Man such an influential character.

Honorable mentions: Superman, Captain Marvel (again the original), pretty much anyone on the X-Men, Green Arrow and Green Lantern.

Alright so who’s the winner?

.

..

Creating suspense:

….

SUPERMAN!!!

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I’m only kidding; the thing is there really can’t be a universally “greatest” superhero. Not to mention we didn’t really touch base on EVERYTHING that’s needed to be a great hero. There’s other factors to be considered such as: the things that might make them not so great, what their specific strengths are, not to mention general badassness. We must also keep in mind that different people will have different definitions of what greatness is, and that’s the beauty of comics; there’s something for everyone.

Joe Rodriguez
Joe Rodriguez

Just your average nerd. Big on comic books, movies, videogames and TV shows.

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