Combing through Blackest Night / Brightest Day (which sort of feels like “52” version 1.5), can’t help but notice that a newly resurrected Aquaman (the original Arthur by the way, aka Orin, but not Arthur Joseph) was given yet another power: resurrecting and controlling the dead of the sea. As if his powers weren’t enough already.
Coupled that with a blog G-Man posted earlier about “Heroes looking at the big picture and saving the world”, and this interview with director Joss Whedon on why it’s tough for most DC heroes to be made into film for today’s generation:
Anyone notice that the major DC heroes aren’t just superheroes anymore, they are basically Super Gods? Just looking at the original JLA roster, Grant Morrison (JLA co-creator) even mentioned himself that the JLA feels like a team made up of gods.
Just breaking down the main Justice League heroes, you have:
Superman - who is basically the god of superheroes not only in origin but also in the extent of his power. He can do everything from flight, super strength, super speed, stamina, invulnerability, x-ray, heat ray, freeze breath, super senses (vision, hearing, including once foreseeing the future when a person would die (although they have never mentioned that power since). The Superman of supermen.
Wonder Woman - who is basically the female version of Superman with flight, super strength, super speed, stamina, etc. only obvious difference is that she has a lasso of truth, an invisible jet for reasons bewildering, and a booty-licious outfit.
Martian Manhunter - who basically is another Superman (flight, strength, speed, etc.), but with added telepathy, shape shifting, tangibility, and regenerative powers mixed in. I’ve always said that if “Professor X” was Superman, he’d be the Martian Manhunter with a dash of “Mystique”, “Shadowcat”, and the “Hulk” to boot! Superman even says that Manhunter “may be the most powerful being on the face of the earth”. Yikes!
Flash – it’s understandable that he just simply can’t have super speed, because what’s going to set him apart from the repetitiveness of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Martian Manhunter who all have super speed as well? So DC did the obvious by powering up the Flash and making him faster than all the others. DC gave him the Speed Force which not only breaks the speed of light it practically breaks the law of light speed and of time itself! Holy crap! Not only that, but he’s so fast that his strength can rival that of even Superman himself with his “infinite mass punch” that can destroy a small planet with a single blow. Anti-Moniter has hinted in Crisis of Infinite Earths that Flash may be the most powerful man in the universe due to limitless power of what his speed can do. Sorry Superman and Martian Manhunter.
Green Lantern - who can not only construct anything with his Power Ring aka “the most powerful weapon in the universe”, but he also could even use it for light speed travel, super strength, telepathy, tangibility, invisibility, teleportation, travel through time (with other Lanterns present), and use super healing that even a certain popular mutant would be jealous of. In fact, just looking at all those abilities, he can do everything that would take 8 different “X-Men” to do plus more. His basically a one-man “X-Men” team just by himself! If Superman was a Pokemon, he’d be kept inside Green Lantern’s Power Ring. Or should I be saying… if Manhunter was a Pokemon…
Aquaman – going back to Mr. Curry, who not only is basically Superman under the sea with super strength, and super speed underwater (not to mention fish telepathy and enlargement, and at one point even human telepathy for a time), but before his “death” his magical water hand was able to also construct itty bitty shapes (like a dirt poor man’s Green Lantern), heal the sick with a touch, take life away with that same touch (via dehydration), and create portals to teleport himself. After he came back to life in Blackest Night, he can now also resurrect and control undead sea creatures, which he has retained after Brightest Day. Holy Jesus! Or should I say… Holy Joseph! Or wait… Holy Arthur? Or just Holy Orin?
Batman - sure he has no superpowers, but his Anti-Powers has made him stronger than ALL the heroes mentioned above, especially if we’re talking about Superhero Batman and not just Detective Batman. There’s a thread here about good ‘ol Bruce Wayne going toe-to-toe and surviving hits against Superman, Wonder Woman, and even the “Hulk”. In fact, I would go and say that Batman is the most Godly of all the superheroes. For a mere mortal, Bruce Wayne is a Super God. For forums to have all these “Who VS Who”, Batman will always be the winner, since he’s the “goddamn Batman.” Always. Someone mentioned that “Batman is the most powerful character in the DC universe.” I say Batman is the most powerful character in comics PERIOD, end of discussion.
You can also add a filler #8 to the roster like say:
Captain Marvel – who is basically Superman with the power of “Thor”.
A Justice League line-up of Superman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Batman, and Captain Marvel = UNSTOPPABLE! The u niverse is saved! Or at least “should be”.
Ever notice that since they’re so godly, they don’t even have to use all their powers? When was the last time Wonder Woman needed to use her super speed? Probably not since the 90’s when she raced Jesse Quick. She doesn’t use it often, but she still has it. So why bother having these extra powers, when you're only going to use them 5% of the time? They actually only use a fraction of they’re vast powers because they don’t need to; they’re already that powerful; except of course Batman because his super brain and Anti-Powers are always in effect.
If you think about it even more, can’t anyone one of these characters destroy a whole planet by him/herself? Or in G-Man's question, save it? According to Batman at least (as seen starting around Superman/Batman #55 story arc) - yes.
Doesn’t all these Godly superheroes make other “simpler” JL members like Green Arrow seem insignificant like a bug on the wall? If there was a 5-Level scale where "1" is a hero with no powers, and "5" is a hero imbued with the typical “super” power of strength and flight, then the original Justice Leaguers would be considered a Level "12"!
I can understand if they have 1, 2, or maybe even 3 supermen, but do they really need to have 7 or 8? All in the same team? How can villains like Lex Luthor or the Joker, mere mortals, continue to conquer and dominate the world? Shouldn’t these villains already be dead, or at least (considering Supes and Bats no killing policy) put in a coma or paralyzed like the Oracle decades ago after countless confrontations with the JL Gods?
Doesn’t some of the writing make you scratch your head in un-believability when in one issue you have Superman fly all the way from Metropolis to in mere seconds, only to find in a couple issues later that he has a troubling time trying to catch-up with a simple missile launch? Or when Superman demolishes an entire building with a single punch, but then a few panels in the same book later connecting on another punch hitting Batman, to only have Mr. Bruce Wayne sustain cracked ribs, just because he’s the Batman gosh darn it?
We have seen DC over the years slowly de-power Superman knowing how vastly godlike he is, while in turn, slowly powering up the other heroes to match up with him. But after a while it all plateaus and Superman starts looking weak while everyone else looks much stronger, so DC starts empowering Superman again while slowly chipping away the powers of the other heroes, and this cycle goes on and on and on for decades. Just read anything with the word “Crisis.” So much so that not only did it affect the books, it also affected the cartoon shows. Which was one of the complaints fans had over DC, which was addressed inside a commentary track on a Justice League Season 1-2 DVD by the show’s creators themselves.
Do you feel that these heroes becoming too much like super gods more so than just your typical superhero in this day and age, so much so that writers nowadays have to come up with ways (sometimes way out there) to make us believe they’re actually vulnerable? Bruce Wayne alone has some pretty incredible survival stories! :)