Shropshire Star

The Big Debate: Who is the best superhero?

They've inspired us with their powers for decades, but who is the best superhero? Dan Morris and Matt Panter reveal their favourites...

The caped crusader is watching...

Dan Morris: Go right with the Dark Knight

My love of comic-book lore is surpassed by few things, so this one was incredibly difficult for me to call. In the end, I had to simply go with my gut and pitch for the hero of all heroes, whose superpower is in fact his massive wallet.

The second son of the DC universe and the crown prince of crime fighting is known by many names. The caped crusader and the scourge of Gotham City’s underworld, he puts the ‘dark’ in the ‘(k)night’, the bad guys to flight, and a fat wedge in his butler’s back pocket. He is, of course, the one and only Bruce Wayne – but you can call him The Batman.

My reason for shining the bat signal on this week’s Big Debate is simple. While I’ll always have the utmost affection for Marvel stalwarts the likes of Iron Man and Wolverine, along with Alan Moore-wrought royalty such as Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan, tales of The Batman have always gripped me like no other comic books.

By nature, they are grittier, more sinister and populated by a richer-than-your-average pantheon of compelling antagonists, who like our hero are neither black nor white, but a complex shade of grey (Exhibits A, B and C: The Joker, Two-face and Catwoman).

The duality and double life of Bruce Wayne/The Batman has been a delicious thread for many incredible narratives to be drawn from. And, although he was super wealthy, The Batman’s lack of ‘powers’ makes him relatable. If we were rich orphans looking to take revenge on the criminals of the world, what would we do? The Batman is damaged and flawed, and so absent that strain of self-righteousness that has always been so punchable in the likes of Superman and Captain America. For all of the above he will always be the best superhero. And if you need more convincing, folks, just take a look at the car.

Matt Panter: Keep it real with the Man of Steel

I’ll give Dan credit, in choosing Batman, he’s picked a super hero with a cape.

Sure, Spider-Man and a host of others don’t wear them and they are all pretty impressive still.

But, let’s face, super heroes and capes go hand in hand, like a goalkeeper with a pair of gloves or a construction worker with a hard hat.

It’s an important accessory – Thor, Storm, Batgirl, Shazam, even Bananaman and Super Ted agree. But there’s one super hero a cape just suits down to the ground and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the greatest superhero of them all – the one who is super by name and by nature. It’s Superman.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Batman. He’s dark, gritty and edgy – or at least he is in most cases.

But, while some people have grown up watching the likes of Michael Keaton and Christian Bale playing the role on the big screen, I grew up in the early 80s, watching repeats of Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin. While it was all great fun, it makes Batman harder to take seriously.

The Man of Steel, meanwhile, has it all. He can fly, has super strength, incredible speed, heat and X-ray vision and super hearing.

And, what’s more, he has history. Portrayed on screen by the brilliant Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, Henry Cavill, Brandon Routh and co, it’s in comics where his origin lies. After debuting in Action Comics issue #1 in 1938, his appearance inspired the creation of so many others. He’s also, for many, considered to be a beacon of hope – and let’s face it, we could all do with a bit of that right now!

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