Opinions

Superhero showdown

SUPERHEROES ARE LIKE colours, ice cream flavours, and bands—we all have a favourite. Whether it’s because they’re relatable, mysterious, the most powerful, or just the best damn superhero out there, there’s something about a cape-wearing good guy (or girl) saving the day that gets us every time. With the explosion of Comic-Con, countless superhero action movies, and comic book memorabilia, it’s no secret we’re all obsessed with a good adventure story. So, we’ve decided to battle it out and find out once and for all which superhero is the best. Pitting the good guys against each other, with some villains thrown into the mix, the Fulcrum takes a look at our favourite action stars.

I <3 Lara Croft

She’s athletic; she’s smart; she can leap a 50-foot gap and grab onto a tiny ledge without a single hair falling out of place. Oh, and she’s hot.

I first fell in love with Ms. Croft in her most pixilated form—that’s right, back in the days of Tomb Raider Chronicles, when Lara’s curvy figure was admittedly a little fuzzy around the edges, and her boobs looked a little… pointy. But don’t judge a book by its cover, right? After countless hours glued to my computer screen, I soon discovered the vast and varied talents this foxy femme was capable of. She could traverse a Roman empire in what could only be described as a slow sprint without getting winded, swan dive with perfect form and a rip entry every time, and wile the answers out of villains with her cunning and trademark catlike side-glance. Who wouldn’t hand over the artifact or drop their Uzi when faced with such a formidable female?

Over the years, Lara and I have grown together. She can now ride motorcycles, swim with sharks, and do all sorts of other things that make her even cooler than she once was… which was pretty damn cool. Plus, she’s a girl, and the male-dominated career field of superhero needs more of those!

Lara Croft may not be able to fly, save children from falling boulders, or scale a high-rise building, but who needs that when you have a fly body, sexy British accent, and skills so smoking those tombs practically raid themselves?

 —Julia Fabian

 Catwoman

Move over, Batman—there’s a new superhero in town. Catwoman, the classy cat burglar who always seems to have more than nine lives, is always my first choice when it comes to superheroes. Although more befitting of the title of antihero than star of the show, this villain-turned-good-girl has more mad skills than Batman or any other DC Comics personality, making her the best-ever superhero.

Going by the name Selina Kyle when out of costume, Catwoman’s story is compelling. Choosing a life of good after having been a thief and prostitute, Kyle demonstrates that anyone can overcome obstacles and still land on their feet. And unlike some other superheroes, Kyle doesn’t rely on mysterious gifts bestowed upon her through some freak accident. Instead, she takes up martial arts and relies on her street smarts and intelligence to get by. She shows that she’s just a regular person who’s ready to do good in Gotham City. At first she’s a little more than a nuisance to Batman, and at times plays the villain, but ultimately Catwoman joins forces with the light.

This cool cat is stronger and more down-to-earth than any other male or female superhero, and she doesn’t need nine lives to prove it. One is more than enough—but a woman always comes prepared.

—Sofia Hashi

 Green Arrow: the biggest bad-ass

I will admit, I have a mild obsession with superheroes with bow and arrows. Robin Hood, Hawkeye, Speedy, Huntress—they are all amazingly awesome. How cool is it when you see a superhero shoot down a bad guy with an arrow with the same precision as someone using a gun? The bow and arrow is an ancient weapon, but there are a number of deep and brooding modern heroes who happen to be skilled archers.

The best of this sharp-shooting bunch is without a doubt Green Arrow. How can you not love him? Born as a rich boy, he makes it his mission to fight the crime and social injustice plaguing his city. He becomes a grittier version of Robin Hood—doing what is right, but sometimes not in the best way.

Green Arrow is the best superhero because he has no true superpower, yet manages to be incredibly accurate with his shot; this means he can be any ordinary person—even you! His wide variety of trick arrows and his kick-ass costume make him even more awesome!

With the new TV series Arrow focusing on his birth as a hero, and reimagining Green Arrow’s backstory, being a fan of our favourite hero in green is only going to get cooler.

—Andrew Ikeman

 Robin 

I’m not a superhero connoisseur by any means, but I did grow up watching the original Batman TV series. While everyone else was busy idolizing the show’s main character, I was always more partial to his trusty sidekick: Robin.

Robin is the prototypical best friend that we should all aspire to be. He may not be as big and strong as his Gotham-saving counterpart, but he did everything a friend could be expected to do, short of helping Batman pick his outfits in the morning. He was one of the most dependable sidekicks ever! Except for in the 1997 series reboot film Batman & Robin when he fell in love with Alicia Silverstone against George Clooney’s wishes and then drove his motorcycle off a city bridge during a drag race against gangsters. But we all get one, right?

There are two lessons we should take from Robin’s example. First, it’s important to be there for your friends whenever they need you. Second, wearing astonishingly skimpy tights is acceptable when you’re out doing the public good.

—Darren Sharp

Hellboy

The best superheroes aren’t heroes. The superhero genre suffers from its own sense of invincibility. Sure, Superman kicked the bucket during his rumble with doomsday, but the continual cycle of demise and resurrection so prevalent in mainstream comic books renders many superfolk thin as cardboard.

Therefore, I nominate Hellboy, the half-man half-demon brainchild of Mike Mignola, as the best “superhero.” This character exists in a surreal, modern world that is plagued by supernatural forces. Here, Mignola has done his research and weaves a rich tapestry of human mythology from art and literature. At the centre of all this sits Hellboy, the brooding anti-hero who saves humanity one exorcism at a time with the help of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Surrounding Hellboy is a quirky cast of characters including an ectoplasmic man and a homunculus named Roger. The comics aren’t just an action show either; much of the story includes philosophical dialogues combined with beautiful artwork, painting a darker and richer atmosphere than what is seen in most comics.

For those looking for a superhero with substance, class, and a stone fist of brute force, look no further than Hellboy. Oh, and literary critics love Hellboy too; writer Joyce Carol Oates commented “In the ruins of the American empire, what more appropriate figure of salvation/damnation [exists] than Mike Mignola’s Hellboy?”

—Mathias MacPhee