Bats, Caps, and Elemental Metals

There’s a tendency to make comparisons between Marvel and DC, from the very broad, “One is better than the other, let me tell you why…” to the very specific, “One has fewer, if any, multidimensional female characters than the other…” Prompts like lead to discussions that are meant to have more than one possible outcome or correct “side.” But, like most discussions in and outside of the geek community, there is always a right answer; it doesn’t matter that there is nothing empirically provable about any such debate, only one nerd will be left standing. All we have is textual evidence as support. For instance, when I say that DC is the better of the two major comic book distributers, I can support and even prove my claim, but so can the opposing side in their assertion that Marvel is superior. And, though I’d have an easier time claiming that Marvel is blatantly sexist in its depictions of stupid, amoral, and “nearly naked” women, I’d still have some opposition that would be just as valid.

I have my favorites, certainly the second one of my examples is in my top 5 of discussions to have with other comic bookers (as you can see). But, I think one of my pet topics is the comparison of Superman and Batman to Captain America and Iron Man. The reason for this is because too many people are wrong and they need to be educated as to their failure and how to redeem themselves.  Here’s how the comparison usually goes: Superman and Captain America are equivalents of each other, and Batman and Iron Man are equivalents of each other.

(Know what I love? An image that cites itself.)

Now, I get why this is done so often. Superman and Captain America came around at about the same time and their both altruistic American icons. And, Batman and Iron Man are both rich as diamond studded crap. There’s also that thing about neither having superpowers and such. Whatever.

But, let’s go deeper and a further into continuity, beyond origins and daddy issues. Consider this, Batman and Captain America have more in common with one another, as do Superman and Iron Man. Here’s why:

Batman and Captain America have time and again gone to the mats for the ideals of freedom. This is most evident for Captain America in Civil War and pretty much whenever you see Batman, really, especially when he’s in collaboration with the JLA (Justice League of America). The ideals of freedom that they represent are:

  • Everyone has the right to act as they will, but they must be held accountable for said actions
  • Protect the innocent.
  • Adhere to the “Big Picture;” the work will be difficult, but the outcome will be worth it, though it must be maintained through continued struggle.

Now, dear old Supes and Iron Man are alike for their shared premise, “The Ends Justify the Means.” I like Superman, there’s a great deal to be said for a guy who started all this cape-wearing adventuring, and I’ve come around to not hating Iron Man as much as I used to (I can thank both Civil War, all its tie-ins, as well as Robert Downey, Jr.). They’re both, down deep, sweet and well-meaning men. But, the idea that they must be constantly ratified in all their actions indicates a problem.


Take a close look at that picture, even if you haven’t read Civil War, it’s difficult to separate all the subtle background bits (the shadow on the flag, the copious amount of lights on in the windows, the actual angle that Iron Pants there is standing in) from the notion that there is a possible dystopia about to commence.

I have to go now, but I would love to have a back and forth about all of this, so please comment. If you don’t wanna, feel free to enjoy the below articles, especially the Hostess Ads, those are kinda cool.


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