I’m a Teenager with Super Powers. I Want to be a Hero (or Villain)!

Why is it that people with super powers inevitably become heroes or villains? Only a few are “civilians” (and usually not for long). This has frustrated me lately. Especially when it comes to teen heroes and villains. 

Okay, this is superhero fantasy, so characters becoming superheroes are par for the course. It is a genre thing. But, so often it seems as if being a hero (or a villain) is the only career choice. 

Now, I get why the Teen Titans are heroes. They have usually been brought together to face threats that older, more experienced heroes have ignored. Like Trigon and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Should Red Robin’s team have gone up against an organization kidnapping and torturing metahuman teens? Hell no. But was anyone else doing a damn thing about it? Again, hell no. So, what choice did Red Robin and the others have? None. They had to fight. 

What about the Young Avengers? I like them. And I love Gillen’s take on them (expect a review this weekend). But what is their reason to fight, to be heroes? None, really save that many of them are related to previous Avengers. However, they come off as more akin to super powered cosplayers than anything else. Although, to be fair to the Young Avengers, it is not like the adult Avengers do much good either. Seriously, has anyone done anything about actually training Billy? Seriously, he’s far more powerful than Wanda was at that age. Anyway, moving on to more of Marvel’s merry teenaged heroes. . . 

The impetus for this post is my strong dislike for the first volume of Avengers Academy. I mean there is a lot of potential there. But at the end of the day, the really interesting story arc is negated for more traditional heroics (with a good side helping of angst). And, to be honest, none of those characters are very compelling. 

But, what is interesting, is that for the Avengers themselves it seems perfectly logical to begin training the next generation of Avengers (excluding the prexisting Young Avengers). Of course, the actual goal is to prevent them from becoming villains. Though I wonder if later additions to the book have the same potentiality. 

An interesting take on this whole debate comes from early issues of Wolverine and the X-Men as well as X-Men: Legacy. How much educating outside of superheroics actually occurs? How well prepared are the students for the outside world should they choose not to become future X-Men (or whatever)? Or is the expectation that all of them will be superheroes? And is that really what Xavier dreamed of?

At the end of the day, this is superhero fantasy. So, it is to be expected that the goal of young people with super powers is to become heroes (or villains). Again, though, it would be really interesting to explore such a world from the perspective to those who don’t want that life. Or who are forced into it. 

Next time, do I really have to talk about that?

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Posted on January 25, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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