Editor’s Note: The Summer of 2015 is, as has become summer tradition, full of blockbuster movies about our favorite comic book heroes. But with the release of Marvel’s latest installment to their Universe, Ant Man, coinciding with the nerd-heaven that is Comic-Con, we’ve all been having especially super-oriented thoughts this week. We decided to ruminate on our childhood (and, for Carter, continuous) obsession with comic books and/or the superheroes that fly off of their pages by picking a favorite hero, villain, movie, and starting Super-Five. Featuring a special guest!
Favorite Hero/Spirit Hero:
Aditya Joshi: How do you top Iron Man? Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, but there’s something utterly relateable about Tony STark… No, but really. Tony might not have everyman characteristics on the outside, but he’s an internally conflicted, sometimes insecure man who always feels the weight of his own expectation to do well/good more than he feels anything else. He’s very internally motivated by his desire to be externally respected, and he’s played by one of my favorite actors, Robert Downey Jr. Even though comic book Iron Man is probably a little different, our generation will never be able to distinguish between our two once in a generation talents, brought in to their respective industries by their fathers, riddled with addictive personalities. Plus, he’s with Gweneth Paltrow in the movie, so…
Carter Rauch: I love Barry Allen, the One True Flash. I don’t even care that he’s played by an ex-Glee actor on the CW. Or that Iris West, his wife-to-be, is probably the worst-acted character in TV history. Barry Allen is one of the most morally consistent characters in any superhero universe, and despite only having one meaningful power, is constantly made the most important hero in the DC continuity, with his remarkably ambiguous “speedforce” based ability to move between universes and back in time. The Flash is Captain America with greater powers, and Superman with humanity.
Nick Younger: Obviously the one superhero I connect with most, and no not Incredibly Handsome Large Penis Man (who is a real superhero I swear), is our friendly neighborhood Spiderman! A nerdy kid who becomes super jacked and bangs hot girls after being bit by a spider?? Essentially what happened to me, except it was just a brown recluse and now I have a scar. But I have woken up in the morning covered in silky white strands of spider webs, so must be spider powers, puberty, or pseudohypoparathyroidism (according to Web M.D.)
Arjun Joshi (Yes, that Arjun Joshi): Batman’s the hero who’s gotten all the glory: the endless amounts of cosplay, fan-fiction of kicking Superman’s ass, and the superb video games. That said, my favorite hero isn’t the grim, serious protagonist of those games; my favorite hero was an extra in two of the Batman: Arkham games. Dick Grayson, known better as Robin #1, Nightwing, and Batman…? (comic books are confusing), is my favorite hero, and the very first sidekick in existence. Nightwing’s doesn’t quite have a giant Bat-stick in his ass just yet, since he never stops joking, and provides an amusing alternative to the doom-and-gloom of Bruce Wayne. Editors Note: Have I so conditioned my little brother that he likes the sidekick more than the hero? Tough life, kiddo.
CR: It has to be Darth Vader. Star Wars is a superhero franchise because Luke is basically a superhero, right? Darth has the most menacing look, the coolest voice, and the most heartbreaking story arc of any supervillain, ever. Even Hayden Christensen, for all of his efforts, couldn’t ruin one of the greatest tragic downfall stories of all time, followed by an incredible redemption at the hands of his own son. And really, has any villain left a more indelible mark on modern culture than the Chosen One himself? One can only hope that Adam Driver can access that same villainous spirit this December.
NY: Mr. Electric from Sharkboy and Lavagirl, the diabolical George Lopez plays this blood-curdling, nefarious villain. Lopez’s beautiful face is plastered on a massive tv screen as raw electricity pumps through his supple biceps. Ripe with electricity puns, Mr. Electric provides an almost Shakespearean counterpart to Taylor Lautner’s troubled yet wise Sharkboy. To make things even more devious, Lopez’s real world character is named Mr. Electricidad. Now, that’s evil.
Arjun: When I was a kid (no Aditya, I’m not a kid anymore), Spider-Man was my jam. Birthday cakes, sheets, etc., it was Spider-Man everyday. Pairing up with this love, I found my most hated villain: Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin. I say “hated”, because Willem Dafoe is absolutely great as Osborn in the movie, and he’s gone from someone Peter wants to reform in the comics to his most reviled foe.
Aditya: I had the tough Spidey V. Iron Man choice for fav superhero so I had to go with Spidey’s evil equivalent for my villain. VENOM. Though the Joker is the most terrifying, Ultron the most heartless (lol) and Magneto the most cunning, I had never wanted to root for a super villain quite as much as Venom tbh. Eddie Brock is not an inherently evil guy. A scumbag at times, sure. But really he’s just a misunderstood misanthrope who (in the comics) had his journalistic integrity tarnished by Spidey, and in the movies, he’s just a kid who left 1970’s Wisconsin for Africa and somehow ended up engulfed by Spidey symbiote. No wonder he broke up with Donna
NY: Miracle: Yes, I am talking about the movie where the heroic United States defeats good ol classic 1980s villain: the USSR. If you don’t consider this a superhero movie, then you are immediately deported because you don’t agree with our American ideals of success and tolerance. FOH.
Arjun: When Big Hero 6 came out, I was one of the many who asked “the hell’s this”? After finding the most notable thing about the team was that Japanese X-Men had joined, I was pretty disinterested. When the movie came out on DVD, I decided to check it out for giggles, what I found instead was a charming, heartfelt animated movie with all the effort that Pixar normally puts in their movies. In retrospect, Pixar + Marvel was too good an idea to pass up. Plus, it’s the only movie with a hero that doesn’t have a six pack. The #SuperHeroBodyImage movement is in full force, providing inspiration for dad-bodied, pale SOBs everywhere.
Aditya: The Lion King. Simba, as “The Lion King”, must avenge the death of his father against his villainous uncle with a super obvious evil name, “Scar”, by fighting off an army of hyenas with only a dim warthog with bladder issues, a very bitchy, possibly gay meerkat, and his bad ass girl lion high school sweetheart. In the end ,dude throws his uncle off a cliff into the waiting mouths of vengeful scavengers. That shit cold, man.
CR: The Green Lantern is the most criminally underrated movie of the last decade. Ryan Reynolds, already familiar to superhero fans after his star turn as Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, plays a perfect brand of renegade-cool that’s hard to forget. Moreover, the special effects were mind-boggling. Did you see those aliens? One of them looked like a giant lizard! And they made that one guy purple! Moreover, fans criticisms of his lack of disguise were way overblown. How could you cover that beautiful face? Did it deserve to win best picture? Maybe not, but it at least deserved a nomination.
Super Squad Starting 5:
Arjun: “Nerd Herd”
Tony Stark (Iron-Man), Ray Palmer (The Atom), Peter Parker (Spider-Man), The Flash (Barry Allen), Hank McCoy (Beast).
Aditya: “Spidey and the Narcissists”
Peter Parker (Spiderman), Tony Stark (Iron Man), Johnny Storm (The Human Torch), Logan (Wolverine), and Deadpool (Comic Version, where he has a mouth). Every fight would be a dick measuring contest, and until they fell to their collective hubris, they’d have the best quips in the multi-verse.
CR: “Superheroes Anonymous”
Comprising the ultimate loose-cannon supergroup, this team has more substance abuse issues than an early-80s rock band. Hancock, the Arrow (Oliver Queen), Iron Man (Tony Stark), and Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers) seem to derive their power from ethanol, and the Arrow’s trusty sidekick Arsenal (once known as speedy) loves to get a boost of energy from some of that sweet sweet mexican black tar.
NY: “Super Important Legitimate Villain Team”
This evil team is composed of all the worst baddies out there. They may not have made their way to the silver screen, but I assure you do not trifle with these Satan-incarnates. I have provided a quick Wikipedia synopsis of each of their powers.
Calendar Man– “His talents aid him as he pursues his obsession with quirks of the calendar, carefully planning and theme-ing his crimes around holidays”
Armless Tiger Man– “He can slide down a chain with his teeth, bite people and swing on a rope by biting it”
Polka Dot Man– No description necessary
Turner D. Century– “Century had no inherent superpowers.” Although, it does go on to say that he once rode a tandem bicycle so that’s like vaguely evil?
Rainbow Raider– I could only find his Wikipedia article in Italian, but what I understand is that he turns people different colors.