Make mine Marvel

Edward Leonard

What’s the meaning of life? Did some superior being beyond fathoming create us? Or are we just a product of chance? These are some of the great questions, but beyond a doubt, the greatest question of our day is, “Marvel, or DC?”

It’s no easy question. While DC was around a few years earlier, they have both been supplying entertaining and intellectually stimulating stories to generations of Americans.

There’s something romantic about the notion of a superhero — a man, to all appearances ordinary, who leads a secret life fighting crime with supernatural powers bestowed upon him and him alone. It’s alluring. It’s mysterious. It’s awesome.

But who is better? While it’s true DC has given us some of the most iconic superheroes of all time, such as Superman and Batman, Marvel is clearly the superior force in shaping the comic book world.

The question, “Who makes a better superhero?” comes down to a simple factor: humanity. Marvel’s superheroes are simply more identifiable. Wolverine is constantly struggling both with his lack of memory and his latent bestial nature — bringing to mind Freud’s “id.” Iron Man’s human pilot, modeled after Howard Hughes, has a well-publicized train-wreck of a personal life to rival Britney Spears.

And let’s not forget about Spider-Man. Here is the ultimately human superhero. Every day Peter Parker struggles with the tension between his desire to lead a normal life and the responsibility, as Spider-Man, to the world. The Spider-Man saga has put Parker through everything from fathering a stillborn child to a deal with the devil to save the life of his aunt.

Meanwhile, in the DC universe, the most human character is the multi-billionaire, super-genius, strongly driven Batman. Other than him we have Superman, the ultimate boy scout, goody two-shoes, incorruptible model for everyone else, whose secret identity can be hidden with no more than a pair of glasses. Hardly a guy you’d meet on the street.

And that’s to say nothing of the powers given to these respective superheroes. While superman may be the most overpowered superhero in history — with the exceptions of Dr. Manhattan and Martian Manhunter, both DC —, we also are graced with the truly amazing Wonder Woman, with her super strength — how original — and an invisible jet. Then there’s Green Lantern, whose power is the shinyness of his ring, and Flash, who can, wait for it, run really really fast. Holy lack of excitement, Batman!

Speaking of, let’s compare two equivalent characters: Batman and Iron Man. They’re both billionaire playboys with a knack for engineering. Batman is known as “the world’s greatest detective,” and is incredibly resourceful and clever, while Tony Stark pretty much just shoots things and makes jokes. Granted, Batman takes the first-glance judgment, but let’s look closer.

Both of them have ultra-advanced, top of the line equipment for just about everything. Batman’s Batwing and Batmobile are really cool, if rather unoriginally named, but Tony Stark’s suit pretty much takes the cake. It’s an engineer’s wet dream. Batarangs have pretty much nothing on the repulsor rays.

Okay, so Iron Man’s suit is better — but what about the Batcave? That was pretty cool. But so is Stark Tower. Real estate is about location, location, location, and as billion-dollar bachelor pad/secret hideouts go, an architectural wonder of a skyscraper next to Columbus circle in Manhattan is a pretty good spot — I’d wager probably even better than a cave, the always uplifting Gotham city.

We then arrive at sidekicks. Robin vs. War Machine. I’ll let you hash that one out for yourself.

So there you have it — Iron Man pretty much has this one, and so does Marvel, so next time you’ve got a hankering to go out and get yourself some comics, take a stop by the marvel section, and let’s face it, you’ve hit the jackpot, tiger.