Washing dishes tonight I started wondering about Batman/Bruce Wayne. Specifically, is Batman the only superhero whose real-life identity is better than his secret identity?
For example, you’ve got Peter Parker/Spiderman. Being Spiderman is just SO much better than being Peter Parker. It’s a wonder Peter doesn’t abandon his old identity to just be Spiderman.
Or think about Clark Kent/Superman. If you could choose to be mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent or Superman, which would you choose? I’m choosing Supes every single time! Note that we actually have three identities tugging at this guy: Clark Kent, midwestern farm boy; Superman, fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way (and the chicks dig him); or Kal-El, last son of Krypton. But I’d rather be Superman than Kal-El. For one thing, Superman is Superman, and he can do all kinds of cool stuff. (Do I really need to mention that he can fly?) Kal-El is the last (sorta, kinda) member not just of his species, but of his entire bio-sphere – heavy, man! And if Krypton hadn’t met an unfortunate doom, then he’d just be another mopey Kryptonian teenager worried about pimples and who to ask to prom.
Plus, as Kal-El he would have another problem, namely that his dad is Marlon Brando. MARLON BRANDO IS HIS DAD! How could you ever live up to that? How could you ever live it down? Just imagine if that knowledge became public – he’d never hear the end of it! Every where he went people would be asking for his Dad’s autograph. Every time Supes tussled with Mister Mxyzptlk he’d have to watch the imp do the “I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody!” shtick. Brainiac would do the “Stella!” yell till we were all sick of it. Bruno Mannheim and Lex Luthor would start gang wars over who got to do the Vito Corleone stuff from “The Godfather”. I’m tellin’ ya, being Kal-El would be no picnic!
Would you rather be the tormented Bruce Banner, or The Incredible Hulk? Hulk smash! Noooo contest.
But think about Batman/Bruce Wayne. One is a superhero who has no superpowers, and has to rely on smarts, training, gadgets and luck to not get killed every time he leaves his cave. The other is a billionaire playboy, the most eligible bachelor in town. Now one can say that Wayne is a tortured soul, but he will be that in either incarnation. One can claim that as the Batman, Wayne can do good. But being a billionaire allows one to have all kinds of control over events. Frankly, if I’m Bruce Wayne, I never even think about going to the cave. What about the car? I’m a BILLIONAIRE, baby, with a capital “B” – I’ll just spend a few million and buy myself a cool hot rod!
Can anyone else think of any superhero types where the real identity trumps the secret identity? (Characters whose backgrounds are known to the public don’t count.)