Batman and Superman Characters

Eva Acevedo Prof. Patrick 11/9/10 Contrast Essay Outline “Batman and Superman” DC Comic’s top two characters, Batman and Superman, are two of America’s most beloved superheroes. Batman and Superman’s alter egos, their different abilities, and the way they fight crime are the main points of difference between these two juggernauts of the comic book world. Batman and Superman use alter egos with very different lifestyles to hide their superhero identities. Batman is known as Bruce Wayne during the day.

Bruce lives a life of luxury because his wealthy parents left behind a large fortune to their only child when they were murdered when Bruce was young. He is often depicted as a ladies’ man using his wealth to lure women in, but also as a philanthropist who donates money to his hometown of Gotham City. He has his own butler, Alfred, and also runs a high tech company called Wayne Enterprises. Bruce is barely seen out at night because he is at work being The Caped Crusader.

By separating these two identities he manages to carry out his duty as Batman without being recognized by the public.

This lifestyle is a stark contrast to that of Superman’s alter ego, Clark Kent. Clark is just another citizen of Metropolis. He works as a reporter for the Daily Planet. Clark is often depicted in the comics as awkward and clumsy. Although the only thing distinguishing Clark Kent from Superman is a pair of dark-rimmed glasses and the absence of the famous red and blue costume, he still manages to maintain the secrecy of his superhero identity.

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Most comics follow a theme of featuring the main hero as a person with abilities beyond that of an ordinary human.

Superman definitely follows this model. He has the ability to fly and leap over buildings. He also has super strength, which allows him to lift cars, run through walls, and to be bulletproof. Superman also has incredible powers that come from his eyes. These powers include x-ray vision and the ability to emit heat rays. Writers have allowed Superman to have weaknesses in order to allow readers to relate to him more easily. For example, The Man of Steel cannot see through lead and is rendered powerless in the presence of the fictional mineral, Kryptonite.

On the other hand, Batman does not follow this model at all. Although Batman does not have any actual superpowers, his superior intelligence, knowledge of the martial arts, and high tech gadgets allow him to be just as super as The Last Son of Krypton. As a young man he traveled around the world learning various types of martial arts and weapons training. This, in combination with his incredible attention to detail, has allowed him to develop the nickname, “The World’s Greatest Detective”. Batman also has an arsenal of tools and weapons to defeat the criminals of Gotham City.

These include: his fire-retardant cape, which allows him to glide from building to building; a utility belt complete with a grapple gun, tranquilizer darts, stun grenades, night vision goggles, and his famous batarangs, which could be used as either a boomerang or like a Chinese throwing star; his batmobile, which is his main form of transportation and is equipped with weapons to allow him to reach criminals easily; and most important, his famous gray, black, and yellow batsuit, which is bulletproof, lightweight, and intimidating to his adversaries.

The fact that Batman is just as mortal as any other person and can still take down the strongest of any super being shows that he is indeed a superhero that shouldn’t be taken on without caution. Both Batman and Superman fight crime to protect their cities, but they do so in different ways. Batman is often depicted as a proactive vigilante on the prowl looking to stop crime and corruption in Gotham City. When he returns from his trip around the world, he finds that Gotham City has been taken over by crime bosses and that the law enforcement has become corrupt.

Bruce becomes Batman in order to strike fear into these criminals and cleanse the city he once loved from evil. With assistance from Commissioner Gordon and the batsignal, he sets out to defeat evildoers such as The Joker, Penguin, Scarecrow, Catwoman, Two-Face, The Riddler, and Ra’s al Ghul, to name a few. On the contrary, Superman is more of a reactive crime fighter. He is often called upon when danger strikes, whether in the form of attacks from one of his enemies (Lex Luther, Bizarro, Doomsday, Metallo, etc) or a natural disaster. Before taking on any threat, he always makes sure that everyone is safe and out of harm’s way.

Superman feels a moral obligation to protect the city that he has called home since he was saved as a small child. He feels it is his duty to use his powers for the greater good. Despite their many differences both Batman and Superman agree on one thing—never kill a human being. This moral character that lies in both these heroes allows them to be symbols of honor that children and adults alike have enjoyed for decades. Batman and Superman will forever live on in American culture as beloved superheroes who combat evil and save the day.

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