Modern day superheroes have become somewhat of a phenomenon now that they have gone mainstream. They are a genuinely kind-hearted, thoughtful bunch; albeit a bit eccentric. There’s no denying that they have a variety of admirable traits. Yes, some are slightly dick-ish, but when called upon they have a tendency to do the right thing. However, modern comics and media show them in a different light. Can we actually still call them heroes or have they all become self-serving jerkwads?
You see, back in the good ol’ days of comics, they didn’t have to worry about any truly life-threatening incidents. Just some half-brained “villain” that wanted to try out some asinine gimmick, and annoy the ever-loving crap out of civilians or heroes. And yes, maybe make a quick buck. But now, the stakes are just a tad higher. Modern weapons force these “heroes” to truly put their fictional lives on the line. So you think a sense of urgency would overcome these people of might, correct? Well, that doesn’t really seem to be the case, whether it’s comics, TV, or the big screen.
In the beginning of these illustrious careers, these invaluable members of society would hit the streets trying to prevent crimes in progress. That’s all fine and dandy; you have to learn the ropes. At some point, though, shouldn’t they go on the offensive once they’ve familiarized themselves with the criminal element? They know who the major players are, but they would rather wait to see what these misfits of crime decide to try to pull off before they jump into the fray.
Even Superman, with his surplus of god-like powers, is apparently ill-equipped to prevent crime before it happens. He just flies around waiting for the worst to happen. Maybe he should start taking detective lessons from his pointy-eared bestie so he can start finding these villains that are on the lam. The Flash, the so-called “Fastest Man Alive,” is even too lazy to scour Central City, and find Captain Cold and the rest of the rogues before they strike. Oh, and the X-Men are the worst: constantly fighting amongst one another and getting the civilians caught in the crossfire. Yeah, that’s the precedent they should set. We fight each other, so how would we get along with humans?
What’s even more off-putting is what it takes for these folks to actually team-up. It takes a galactic-level threat for a bunch of tights-donning jokers to realize, “Oh, wait, you mean we’re friends and we can work together?” (They also never realize this when working solo.) How many of their predicaments would be over faster than The Flash’s bedroom performance, if they just took the second to ask for help? Literally a second. They all have instant forms of communication. The Kings of Hubris, Batman and Iron Man, are the worst offenders. For all their money and wit, they sure allow themselves to cause more problems than needed.
More and more of these modern tales of “heroism” aren’t even about them defending the city, or even earth. It’s them, on the ropes, evading a personal attack. They’ve pissed off so many of these villains that they just forgo misdeeds, and go straight for the jugular. That’s when things get ugly, because some of these villains are smart enough to involve civilians. Maybe, if the capes had stopped the problem before it started, they would have more time to actually be friends, and find a better way to help all their communities.