Date: 2006-10-19 10:57 pm (UTC)
There's no problem with that... I'm not saying that anyones opinion of a stoic, upright, classical superhero as boring is wrong... played straight, it IS boring. But, when done right, there's always the conflict of trying to adhere to their self inflicted morality... which is why so many villians try to push them to the breaking point (IE The Joker, Lex Luthor, etc)... the ultimate defeat for such a hero would be to force them to abandon their morality and lower themselves to the level of the people they fight... even if it means sacrificing their own lives for it.

The reason that Spider-Man is a more interesting hero than Superman (that's been my opinion for a long time) was the struggle he endures in being Spider-Man... for Superman, he has no real choice... it's how he was raised, and it's so deeply ingrained in him that he cannot change. Look at what Peter Parker did when he first got his powers... he did what any normal human being would do, and used them for self-gratification. He had no desire to help anyone but Peter Parker. Now, it's not that he wasn't raised right... he didn't turn on his classmates or immediately turn to crime... but given that he had such a horrible school life and a complete inability to socialize with people, he gave absolutely no thought to helping anyone... because no one had ever helped him. Spider-Man's morality, like Batman's, was forged by a deeply traumatic event. He watched his Uncle die because of his apathy, and that guilt was further galvanized by Uncle Ben's almost accusitory last words... which have almost become a curse for Peter Parker, more than an inspiring motto: "With great power comes great responsibility." Spider-Man saves lives, stops crime, and puts his life on the line as self-punishment for the one wrong deed he ever did, and is cursed with being forever responsible for everything that happens around him that is within his great power to stop... but he also has to adhere to the impossible moral standards of a superhero, for fear of cheapening his imposed torture by taking the easy way out.

I agree that a hero that doesn't struggle with his morality is boring... if there is no self-conflict, then that character isn't interesting. The fault lies with creators that don't push or tempt their stoic heroes, and challenge their dedication to upholding such an impossible moral high ground (which really just came about thanks to the comics code, which wouldn't allow creators to show death).

If I can recommend a book you should try, being that you're getting into DC comics featuring female leads, and are interested in the theme of blurry superhero morality, you should read Andreyko's MANHUNTER, which is about a DA in Los Angelos that steals a bunch of confescated supervillian technology to hunt down and murder supervillians that escape prosecution through legal manuevering, only to herself become hunted as a criminal by the JLA. DC only collected the first six in a TPB, but the rest of this sadly overlooked series should be easily available. I'm was incredibly impressed with the first storyarc, and still hold out hope they'll put out more TPB's.
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