Is it just me, or do the DC Universe heroes seem like better people than the Marvel?

Discussion in 'DC Comics' started by SpandexFan, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. SpandexFan Registered

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2003
    Messages:
    496
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think that's one reason why I always come back to the DC universe. The Marvel universe continues to get darker and darker, and while DC heroes certainly have their own moral struggles, such as in Identity Crisis, it seems like they always know where that line is, and when they have crossed it.

    Batman, through all his trust and paranoia issues, always seem to know where that line is. I would compare him to the most popular vigilante in the Marvel universe, the Punisher, who seems to cross that line more and more in each newer version. I know Punisher was never designed as a devout good guy, but I enjoy reading about a vigilante who knows where that line is and tries not to cross it.

    Speaking of "that line" again, I would compare Identity Crisis to Civil War. The DC heroes knew what they had done, that it was wrong, and there was a good faith effort to seek redemption, not an outright rebellion between heroes. In Marvel, they enthusiastically cross that line in Civil War, become 1984 pupils, and seek to punish those who don't. Maybe it's more realistic to today's times, but sometimes I want to involve myself in a fictional story where I feel the good guys are still the good guys.

    Heck, the only Marvel hero left who is Superman-esque in his ideals is Captain America, and they friggin killed him for it. :oldrazz:

    (Just a disclaimer, this is not a knock on Marvel fanboys, I read both publication's titles with equal zeal and enjoy many titles from both, I just enjoy how DC still seems to stick to the ol' superhero mythology.)

    ~~ waits for someone to bring up Wonder Woman snapping Maxwell Lord's neck ~~
     
  2. TheCorpulent1 SHAZAM!

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    Messages:
    155,268
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think both sets of characters are becoming more morally gray.

    On Marvel's side, everyone defaulted to not willfully killing their opponents, unless they were intentionally anti-heroic like the Punisher or Wolverine. Now we've got Spider-Man threatening to kill people left and right, Iron Fist actually killing people left and right, Cyclops starting a black ops/wetwork squad with X-Force, Iron Man tacitly supporting lethal force against unregistered superhumans, etc.

    On DC's side, Mr. Terrific is apparently okay with casualties as one of the heads of Checkmate, Nightwing was willing to sacrifice an entire village and said nothing when his teammates apparently killed enemy soldiers in Outsiders, Connor Hawke--a monk--chose to kill his opponent in Dragon's Blood while admitting to himself that he could probably come up with a better way, etc.

    Hell, on DC's side they even had Batgirl kill and never show any remorse for it, even after her head was cleared of Deathstroke's drugs. Matter of fact, her first act upon returning to her (ostensibly) normal personality was to try and kill Deathstroke himself, even though it literally goes against everything we've ever seen Batgirl do past her very first kill as a child under David Cain's tutelage.

    I don't think a lessening of morals or greater support for lethal force is more endemic to one of the big two than the other. Comics are darker and involve more homicide straight across the board, from what I've seen.
     
  3. elswick1979 Ned Mark 4 life!

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2005
    Messages:
    59
    Likes Received:
    0
    The comics business has changed. 40+ years ago it was aimed at children, hence the nice guy approach to the writing style, i.e. single issue stories, colorful villians, everything being laid out for the reader, etc. The 1970's come along and the averange reader age goes up 13-15 years olds now reading, the stories take a more mature scope. The 1980's come along, and the averange reader is a young adult, comics are now sold in shops just not on newstands or the local drug store. The stories take more of a flavor of PG-13/Soft Rated R movies. This remains the way the feeling through the 90's, but readers want deeper stories, the multi-issue story arc becomes commonplace. The present day we have readers of all ages reading, and several different types of comics are out there. The core Marvel and DC lines are there for 14-79 year olds, then you got your Vertigo, Max, Image, Wildstorm, etc for your 18+ crowd, the you got Johnny DC, Marvel Adventures, CN books for the kids. The characters have become more mature. Characters from both sides have become darker, Superman-prime tortures and kills so does the Punisher, S.H.I.E.L.D. uses lethal force but so does The Green Latern core, Dr. Light is a rapist, and Aunt May took a bullet to the head, Iron Fist kills hydra agents, the Amazon's kill Washington DC residents, little kids in Stamford died, Kanas got Nuked, So when you peel back the layers both DC and Marvel are darker in tone then 10 years ago even.
     
  4. Aristotle Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    6,272
    Likes Received:
    0
    Undoubtedly, both DC and Marvel are darker in tone. One could probably even make a case that there is no more or less violence and moral gray in Marvel than there is in DC.

    But here's the difference, and here's what I think is making SpandexFan, and quite a few others I know of, think the way he's thinking: in the DCU, this moral gray, this leaning towards homicide and darkness and unheroic heroes is seen as a bad thing. It's seen as something the heroes want to move away from. After the events of the past two years or so (comic time, so about the past four years plus the year in 52) before OYL have shown them what is wrong with their universe and what needs to be fixed. The Justice Society has made "better good guys" part of its renewed mission.

    The Marvel Universe? Nah, there's nothin' wrong with it. Two of their most popular characters, Punisher and Wolverine, are KNOWN for being lethal. And yeah, is that Spider-Man I see making deals with the devil, even though he has TONS of other options (first and foremost just learning to accept a loved one's death)?

    It's not that only one of the Big Two has fallen prey to this. It's just that DC seems to be slowly trying to reject it. Marvel is just wallowing deeper and deeper in the muck. So naturally, as always, that's why they'll continue to sell better.
     
  5. BrianWilly Disciple of Whedon

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    13,498
    Likes Received:
    0
    It's sort of an unfair question because the Marvel universe is kind of a dystopia right now, and intentionally so. With sht like the Initiative and WWH going on, of course it looks like all the heroes suck and make stupid decisions, and you wouldn't be wrong. Especially compared to DC which is going through a rather tame period.

    But is it really the heroes' fault? Or is it because the circumstances of the world are different? I mean, you say that Civil War is comparable to Identity Crisis, and yet in Identity Crisis the public wasn't calling any of the heroes terrorists and the government didn't demand subserviance from the Justice League; quite the opposite occurred, if you think about it. The heroes received support from their world. They were given much leeway by the government. Of course it's much easier to flourish and to uphold your morals in that circumstance. But what if Superman lived in a world where everyone hated and feared him and younger heroes had no guidance? Hell, we know what would happen; it was called "Kingdom Come." Likewise, what if Tony Stark lived in a universe where heroes were much more of a community and much less antagonized by society? He wouldn't have had to pull half the dickish dickery that he did.

    So I would say that a lot (not all) of what we see from Marvel isn't necessarily because the heroes themselves are less heroic in nature, but merely because circumstances are different. I would say that "the line" is the same in both universes; the difference lies in what kind of perspective regarding that line is more predominant at any given point in time in the universes. In other words, all kinds of methods exist in both worlds in equal measure, but which one is openly supported and which ones are openly opposed are the key points to look at.

    You compare Batman to the Punisher, for example, but in my opinion that's the wrong way of looking at it; the two are really the least compatible people as far as this discussion goes. Batman is much more similar to Spider-Man in their regards to their view of justice, and Punisher is far more like the Red Hood. Intellectually Batman is not like Spidey, no, but in terms of this one specific point of view? He is.

    Along those lines, Superman might thematically be similar to Captain America, but Cap's view of necessitated killing is probably closer to Wonder Woman's.

    See, in this way, both Marvel and DC are more balanced.
     
  6. Aristotle Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    6,272
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think DC has been doing their fair share of making the world a ****tier place. With [exaggeration]every[/exaggeration] hero created in the 90s either majorly ****ed-with or killed recently, Amazons Attack, whatever Countdown is building to, Monarch, yadda yadda ya...

    First, I'd point you towards the first Uncle Sam and the FF mini, or the fallout from Amazons Attack. Second, I realize it's moving away from the question a bit, but maybe part of the real underlying point here is that the DCU is a better place in general. No, the public isn't calling the heroes terrorists...because the heroes aren't acting as much like terrorists in the DCU as they do in the Marvel U. these days, or in the WildStorm U.
     
  7. BrianWilly Disciple of Whedon

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    13,498
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's not the darkness we're talking about, though; there is absolutely no moral ambiguity whatsoever with those sorts of situations. The villains are attacking, and the heroes are fighting back. The end. No mindwipes, no fighting friends, no crossing the lines, no nothing. It's not remotely the atmosphere of unease and doubt and paranoia that was around during Infinite Crisis, for one thing.

    Marvel heroes weren't acting like terrorists, either. Not the ones who were actually accused of it by the mob masses. Before Civil War began, there was never even any question of that. My whole point is that it was the undeserved hostility in question that made the heroes go darker in the first place. The entirety of Civil War and half the problems that the heroes are having today could have been completely avoided if the citizens of the Marvel universe weren't such raging dumbtards.

    What occurred in the Uncle Sam mini was a drastic measure more or less forced on the citizens of the country by some extradimensional alien gods or something. Revealed as a hoax in barely any time at all. As usual, it was good guys vs bad guys.

    And there's been absolutely no fallout from the Amazons Attack as far as the heroes are concerned. Wonder Woman walks around scott-free, Wonder Girl still hangs with the Titans, and every single other hero was praised by the country for saving them from the evil feminazi invaders. If Salvation Run is to be believed in fact, the villains are the ones who are getting the harsher treatment as a result of it.

    I agree that, somewhere along the line, the DCU just turned into a better place to be than the Marvel universe. Maybe it was the mutant hysteria, or the Jameson crusades, or any other circumstance that made it so that Marvel citizens would consistently revert to fearing their heroes through the years. Entire theses could be written on this topic by someone crazy enough to go through all that continuity; it's the age-old question and it's been explored again and again, recently the JLA/Avengers crossover shenanigans.

    What I disagree with is that it has anything to do with the innate quality or moralism of the heroes themselves. There are many murdering vigilante "heroes" in the DCU today, and there are icons and morally heroic figures in the Marvel universe. You put Wolverine up against Superman, of course he's going to look like a rampaging idiot. You put Wolverine up against Lady Shiva or Power Boy, though, and all of a sudden he's the paragon of sanity and morals. How can anyone say "Well damn, it's all because [DC Hero] is just better at being a hero than [Random Marvel Counterpart]!"? They have different capabilities. They have been dealt different cards.
     
  8. LadyVader Smile like you mean it.

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Messages:
    8,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well in Marvel heroes have had a much harder time than the heroes in DC. I mean let's face it, somebody dies in DC, they get a statue, no matter how insignificant a hero they were. Somebody dies in the Marvel Universe, it's usually cause Wanda wasn't feeling good that day. :D
     
  9. Doc Destruction Geaux Saints!

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    7,336
    Likes Received:
    0
    One bonus about the DC-verse is that they LOVE their heroes. That aspect was handled brilliantly in JLA/Avengers when the Flash found that fact out in the Marvel verse by getting his rear end kicked by rednecks and then the Avengers found their way through the Flash museum (completely blown away that anyone would love their heroes so much).

    So, in one way, they can at least FEEL like better people, due to the adoration, as opposed to feeling like crap in the MU.
     
  10. Kitsune Fox of Ages

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Messages:
    5,922
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not sure I would compare Infinite Rehash... to Civil Boar.

    Basically in DC everyone loves and venerates the heroes unless they a secretly villains or anti-heroes. In fact they could probably just arrest anyone who said anything bad about Superman, and only rarely imprison someone who didn't deserve it.


    Marvel has Captain America is venerated as a legend, because he is, and even he isn't immune to criticism.


    DC always seemed a little too unrealistic in my opinion. Marvel can be a little preachy at times, but at least the mutant allegory is built into the storyline, and they don't have to resort to affirmative action by killing off characters and replacing them with minorities.
     
  11. Doc Destruction Geaux Saints!

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    Messages:
    7,336
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, like Hawkeye! Errr...
     
  12. TheCorpulent1 SHAZAM!

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    Messages:
    155,268
    Likes Received:
    0
    Marvel does it too, but you have to admit, DC does it far more often.
     
  13. Kitsune Fox of Ages

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Messages:
    5,922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Both Companies have their flaws. If the didn't, DC wouldn't feel the need to Retcon everything ever couple of decades, and Marvel wouldn't feel the need to turn a Wanda Maximoff into a plot device.
     
  14. Aristotle Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    6,272
    Likes Received:
    0
    At least DC does gigantic, across-the-board retcons, or close to it, while Marvel just retcons each individual character, one at a time.
     
  15. Aristotle Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    6,272
    Likes Received:
    0
    A lot of them are *******s, or reckless dumbasses. For ever Damage in the DCU, there's about ten Speedballs in the Marvel U. For every morally ambiguous Secret Six type in the DCU there's uncounted morally ambiguous Wolverines and Punishers and Deadpools in the Marvel U. I'm not blaming ONLY the heroes; the heroes and the public are both to blame. I think maybe the public made the first move by never trusting their heroes (I remember way back in X-Men #2, before it was even a conscious choice on Stan Lee's part to make the public distrustful of heroes, they turned on the X-Men after the most minute of setbacks), but the heroes reacted pretty badly, and made that distrust warranted, and so on and so forth in a vicious cycle. But that doesn't let either side of the equation off the hook. At some point, one side has to stop it.

    I've long pointed to the characterization of the United States of America in Civil War as one of the worst mischaracterizations in comics, ever.

    It's being mentioned. Part of the impetus for Batman's new Outsiders is the fallout from Amazons Attack. I think a key difference between the fallout of AA and CW is that since the good guys won in AA, we don't have to spend as much time talking about the fallout, but I think we will see vestiges of it.

    I think it was the X-Men. When a team that was known for being hated and feared by a world that didn't understand them became Marvel's top-selling book, that sentiment was bound to bleed into other books. But that's metatextual. Inside the Marvel U., I couldn't begin to say what it must have been that turned the public against all their heroes.
     
  16. TheCorpulent1 SHAZAM!

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2001
    Messages:
    155,268
    Likes Received:
    0
    Maybe the fact that about 95% of them are holed up in New York, constantly destroying property and terrorizing civilians with their battles. DC's characters are far more spread out and thus the damage isn't centered on one city. The occasional Flash battle in Keystone or Central doesn't ruin the city as much as every Avengers, X-Men, Spider-Man, et al. battle does to Manhattan.
    I prefer the latter method, myself. DC throws a lot of good stuff out with the bad in their company-wide retcons.
     
  17. Eros Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    7,735
    Likes Received:
    0
    Marvel heroes seem darker because they are meant to be more "relatable" to the general readers. Many of them have problems, very human ones, thats the bloody point of Marvel comics in the first place, troubled heroes, who have to put their problems aside to save the world. If everyone acted like superman, it would get boring, becasue heroes kill in Marvel, and just like real life, that doesn't make them any less heroic, it just means they are willing to do whats needed. DC heroes who kill their enemies in battle are exiled and attacked, its funny when you think about it.
     
  18. Aristotle Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    6,272
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's always been the problem. Mythologies are not meant to bring the mythical characters down to our level; they are meant to raise us up to theirs. If the people who represent our popular morality have begun killing because it's more "realistic," what must this say about the very "real world" we're trying to force them into? Shouldn't we be trying to make our world into theirs, and not the other way around?

    Because anyone can relate to having the powers of a spider. I mean, who HASN'T been bitten by a radioactive spider and gained wallcrawling and webslinging capabilities? Seriously, who on this message board didn't manifest a superpowered mutation in their adolescent years? Has anybody here NOT volunteered for a top-secret super-soldier serum experiment, gaining powers of enhanced physical and mental performance?

    The fact that you think that, demonstrates just how unheroic they are.
     
  19. GNR Registered

    Joined:
    May 22, 2005
    Messages:
    10,841
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd rather have a guy with a skull on his chest murdering crooks and rapists,a guy with claws ripping bad guys apart,and a human in an Iron suit serving out justice as supposed to a clown in red and blue underwear(still love ya supes) who just throws them back in jail so they can be spat out of the system again.

    Seeing the headlines these days,call me harsh,but some people just really need to be put down.5 hicks rape and torture a black girl for a week making her do the most degrading and disgusting things imaginable.She sits in a hospital while they get a couple years maybe less of jailtime before they walk.Bull****.

    If only Joe Horn could use his shottie on these "people".
     
  20. BrianWilly Disciple of Whedon

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2003
    Messages:
    13,498
    Likes Received:
    0
    You mean Spider-Man or Captain America?:rolleyes:
     
  21. Anubis Sup?

    Joined:
    May 24, 2002
    Messages:
    68,497
    Likes Received:
    1
    yeah, I think Spidey's pretty ineffective as well. :p
     
  22. Eros Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    Messages:
    7,735
    Likes Received:
    0
    you must then really really hate Indiana Jones,Harry Potter,Ash from evil dead,soldiers,police officers, Luke skywalker, Jedi Knights,every body in star trek,every body in dragon ball and dragonball Z, Jason Bourne, James Bond, Power Rangers,Hercules and other heroes of various Mythologies, BeoWolf,King arthur and the knights of the round table,Moses,God,John Mcclane from the Die Hard series,Conan, and the list goes on and on. All those fictional and non fictional characters I named kill villians all the time, yet in your eyes their not heroes begin they kill evil villians.:whatever:
     
  23. Aristotle Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    6,272
    Likes Received:
    0
    Indiana Jones: not a hero, just a badass. But he has far too much moral ambiguity, in matters that go beyond killing enemies, to be heroic. Furthermore, Indy doesn't have the same options as superpowered people do: in that situation, he has no choice but to use lethal force.
    Harry Potter: I hate those books, and I hate every character in it except for Snape. The series attempted to be an honest epic in these postmodern, morally gray times, when what we need is an iconic epic to rise to.
    Ash: Ash is pretty much not a hero at all. That is obvious.
    soldiers: I am a pacifist. I do not believe in wars, nor do I believe in our country's hegemonic military-industrial complex. However, a soldier is also in the Indiana Jones position: he doesn't have a choice.
    police officers: I am very suspicious of this nation's law enforcement institutions, rife with corruption and racism and classism and sexism as they are. And again, cops don't have a choice if they use lethal force.
    Luke Skywalker and Jedi Knights: A classic case study in heroes who do EVERYTHING in their power to avoid lethal force. Sorta like Superman, who only killed the Phantom Zone criminals, and Wonder Woman, who only killed Max Lord, and the entire superheroic establishment, which I don't think killed any Attacking Amazons but still won the war. Sometimes, killing is one's only choice. Marvel U. heroes, however, kill far more often.
    Star Trek: I could write a dissertation on what's wrong with the Federation, and its allegory to empire-building in the modern world.
    Dragon Ball: What a disgusting, boring, machismo-laced, one-dimensional, pathetic excuse for narrative.
    James Bond: Like Indiana Jones, not particularly heroic, and often presented with little choice but to kill.
    Power Rangers: ****ing. Dumb.
    Mythological Gods: Have you ever READ the mythologies? They're about as heroic as the Joker!
    Beowulf: See above.
    Knights of the Round Table: Like cops and soldiers, they were often presented with little choice. Furthermore, it was a very different time, when heroism meant very different things, and different actions were demanded. This is not that time. When supervillains can clearly just be shipped to a different planet (see Salvation Run), a planet cleared of lethal dangers (not Salvation Run), lethal measures are almost never called for by superheroes.
    Moses: As a Jew who's studied the Hebrew Bible and the other scriptures of the faith fairly thoroughly, I feel I can confidently say that Moses had his flaws, and was far from an example to follow. Even in his greatest triumphs, he was merely the instrument of God. Yes, his story has many lessons to offer about trusting in God, but he is not presented as an example to follow in any way other than that. I'll touch more on Moses in a moment when I get to...
    God: I can see how someone could see God as a very bloodthirsty character, especially in the "Old Testament", if they hadn't studied more than just the Christian Bible. However, there are several midrash that expand further upon the stories of God committing lethal actions, in which he is wracked with guilt at what he has done, but feels he had no other choice. He berates the heavenly hosts and Moses himself for rejoicing in the deaths of the Egyptians, and of other "bad guys." God was, of course, never intended to be perfect by the original authors of the Judeo-Christian tradition, and Jews have a long history of not thinking God to be perfect: in Auschwitz, for example, the prisoners put God on trial for negligence, and found God guilty (and continued to worship God, of course.) Later in the faith, the Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth preached a newer message, and Judaism began to portray God as a character who had matured and aged to a more loving, compassionate disposition. Unfortunately, the muddled, simplified Christian version of the story was more popular, so it got more widespread.
    John McClane: Blatantly unheroic. You might as well call Jonah Hex a hero.
    Conan: Never cared for the character, but he is also in the John McClane area for me. A clear anti-hero, rather than a hero.

    My point is that most of these characters are, as you suggest, not what I would call heroes. Most are anti-heroes. A few are simply too complex to be categorized so simply. What we need, in these morally ambiguous, postmodern times, is an iconic standard to rise to. It's sad that we are so resigned to the blurred line of morality and immorality that we have chosen instead to bring our heroes down to our level.
     
  24. LadyVader Smile like you mean it.

    Joined:
    May 1, 2003
    Messages:
    8,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jedi do everything in their power to avoid killin? HAH!

    Mace Windu was perfectly ok with killing Palpatine. Obi Wan was perfectly ok with killin Anakin and/or sending Luke to kill him. Luke himself has killed in cold blood recently in a book I haven't read nor will i read because as far as I'm concerned, the Expanded Universe stops at Visions of the Future. :D
     
  25. Aristotle Registered

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2006
    Messages:
    6,272
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mace Windu was a deliberate example of the corruption that the war and the Sith had forced upon the Jedi ideal. Obi-Wan sacrificed himself against Vader, rather than try to kill him, just as he'd refused to kill him years before, and he told Luke to CONFRONT Vader. Even if he did tell Luke to kill him, he was probably doing his same old dualistic thing where he separated Vader from Anakin, just as he'd done in A New Hope when he told Luke that Vader had killed Anakin.

    As for the Luke thing, it sounds like that happened in New Jedi Order, which is the only part of the Expanded Universe I'm unfamiliar with. Haven't read a single one of the NJO books. I do plan to.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice
monitoring_string = "afb8e5d7348ab9e99f73cba908f10802"