5 Reasons Why Spider-Man Is Objectively the BEST Superhero
Batman. Superman. Iron Man. Rorschach. Great characters all. But no superhero in all comic book history is as great as Spider-Man. I’m as excited as anyone about the recent announcement that Spider-Man is joining the Marvel Universe, because it means Marvel can finally get their hands on its best character. Why is Spider-Man the best character? Read on for the totally objective truth.
Batman and Iron Man are billionaires, Superman is an alien, Thor is a god, Hulk is a super-scientist, and so on and so on. But Spidey’s just a regular kid who had great responsibility thrust upon him and rose to the challenge. Like you and me, he wasn’t destined for greatness from birth — he was faced with the opportunity to be great and seized it, something we all, deep down, believe we would do in his situation. And he has to deal with all this while trying to face down his teen insecurities and anxiety. With a few exceptions, that’s something we hardly ever see in comics, and even then, most of those exceptions are much older than the reader. Spider-Man got his powers at around the same age as most of the people reading his stories, and still has to face school drama like them, too. No one else can compare.
He Has a Sense of Humor
Superman, Batman, Captain America, heck, Neo from The Matrix are all dead serious almost one hundred percent of the time. Among the most popular superheroes, only Iron Man and Spider-Man are funny, and even Iron Man had that exaggerated for the films. Also, Iron Man’s humor comes from his rapier wit, where Spider-Man’s comes from his natural love of being silly. Spider-Man is the only one of these guys who makes puns. And that makes him so much easier to like and root for, because even when his life is in danger, he finds the humor.
He Has Alternate Incarnations That Actually Work
Sure, Dick Grayson has covered for Batman, there have been multiple Flashes, and there are Lord knows how many Green Lanterns. But too often these characters either can't capture the essence of the character or are too close to the original character for anyone to notice much of a difference. As we talked about recently, Spider-Man has a few alternate versions, the best of whom is easily Miles Morales. He makes perfect sense as a successor to Peter Parker, because like Peter, he feels inadequate about trying to be a hero. The twist is that he’s comparing himself to Peter. He’s also a rare African-American/Hispanic character, meaning he gives millions of young non-white kids a hero to look up to in a sea of Caucasian faces. Props to Marvel for figuring out how to do the alternate Spider-Man thing right.
He’s Powerful, But Not Too Powerful
What’s the biggest problem with Superman? He’s too powerful. If his opponent doesn’t have Kryptonite, Superman will win every single time. It makes it difficult to put him in stories with real, human villains, because all of them would be scared sh*tless of facing Superman. Spider-Man, on the other hand, is definitely super-powered, but not so super-powered that he can’t face regular villains. Still not convinced? Look at the flip-side: What’s the other biggest problem with Superman? Kryptonite makes him too weak — if his opponent has it, Superman will lose every single time. Spider-Man doesn’t have this problem; he always has an outside shot at anyone he faces down. And that makes the reader want to root for him even more.
He’s Vulnerable, But Not Too Vulnerable
I’m talking emotionally vulnerable here. I touched on his insecurities and anxieties earlier, but what I didn’t talk about was Spider-Man’s ability to overcome them. Where Iron Man is usually a drunken mess, and Superman has no real weaknesses other than Lois Lane, Spider-Man has the perfect balance of vulnerability and strength. His struggles are relatable (blown up to heroic proportions, but still), and he faces them down with real courage. There is no better sign of a great character than that.
Who’s your favorite superhero? Let us know in the comments below!