Excelsior! (With Apologies to Stan Lee)

Aug 23rd, 2012 | By | Category: Prose

Every catastrophic event starts the same way:the villain devises a new scheme that will grant him dominance over humanity, and unleashes his/her plan on the hapless citizens on the same metropolitan area they have numerous times in the past. The relative peace and quiet of the city streets is shattered as a giant beam of death fires out from across the river and slices a skyscraper in two. Those on the street turn their gaze upward and quickly come to terms with their own death as they drop to the ground, huddle over loved ones, and clench their eyes shut as they brace for the impact.

It never comes. They slowly open their eyes to see the upper half of the building hovering mere feet over their heads, and watch on in amazement as the local supe, in a polite manner, yells for them to flee the scene. The normies run off and the supe is able to place the sheared off half of the building on the city street, and rushes off to engage in fisticuffs with his mortal enemy.

In every movie, video game, and comic book, the action shifts to the epic battle that occurs between the two, as we simpletons crave that action. We want to see the hero triumph and witness good overcome evil time and time again, so much so that we forget about the families whose lives were ruined at the onset of this incident. That shattered building in the middle of the city, nobody seriously expects it to be empty in the middle of the day on a Thursday? The upper floors that have been removed are plummeting to the streets below, the occupants of that floor realize that physics is a cruel mistress as they’re pinned to the opposite wall. Those who were unlucky enough to be seated at the point of impact were either: 1) disintegrated, 2) had various body parts removed, or 3) were simply ejected from the building. Our hero arrived, saved those who were on the streets by stopping the building and then received “Huzzahs” and “Rah-rahs” all around. However, those still inside aren’t granted the same salvation, and the second the building is caught (see: stopped), they splatter onto the opposite wall, or crash through windows onto the ground, possibly even hitting those who were spared being crushed by the building.

Does the supposed hero show any concern for those who have perished? Does he pass on vital information to first responders? No. He unheroically flees the scene. Left in his wake, the paramedics, firefighters, and police force are forced to restore order, administer first aid, and remove body body parts–events that will be forever seared into their memory.

A hero’s spandex induced douchbaggery doesn’t just end at unsympathetically taking the lives of innocents, but the standard property damage that goes along with “saving” the city. Take a look at “The Dark Knight,” when Batman is forced to detonate the rambler/Batmobile, and eject from the wreckage on a motorcycle that looks to have been designed by Tyco in the mid 90s. He needs the mobility in order to keep up with his prey, so, like a douchebag, decides to just ride right down the center lane, and thanks to the massive tires and the hardened rubber encasing his personage, he starts taking off the side mirrors of the cars sitting in traffic while displaying little regard for public safety as he nearly takes a man’s arm off in the process. Not only that, but because he’s operating with an inflated sense of self worth (and how he’s the only one who can save everyone), he starts BLOWING UP cars that are in his path. These cars that explode in a fiery display aren’t exactly Mercedes or Jaguars, but cars from the 1970s, that are rusted and multicolored due to repair jobs to keep them functional. Based on the housing under a bridge, fires burning in oil drums (for heating purposes), and the all around raggedy look of the denizens tells you that they can’t afford to simply go out and buy another car unlike the billionaire playboy working out the issue of being responsible for his parents’ death. The families have more than likely been scrimping and saving to finally move out of the inner city into the suburbs, where their children can play outside and acts of brutal violence are rare. All of those dreams are dashed because the family now needs a new car so Daddy can drive the 75mi to work since the city itself is in economic turmoil.

Not pictured: Batman being a dick.

That’s just personal property damage. What about damage to the city itself? Entire city blocks have been leveled as scores are settled. The city’s infrastructure: water, roads, electricity, phone/data lines, all of it ruined for an unspecified amount of time. We can even say that due to some miraculous event, the city itself was spared destruction, but the remains of the robotic horde, alien spaceships, and/or whatever other evidence the villain’s defeat remains behind is/are littering the streets. This isn’t just a “call sanitation” and move on deal. These things have traveled through the vastness of space, or through protoplasmic portals, NONE of which humanity, with our squishy brains, can even grasp. That means the government is forced to come in and clean up the mess with specially trained individuals using extremely expensive removal equipment, all on the dime of the American tax payer (since apparently supervillians could give a rat’s ass about the rest of the world). Are these “Saviors of Humanity” anywhere to be seen during the clean up?

Fuck no! They’ve returned to the lives of their alter-egos. Some even display extreme cases of narcissism as they come by in their civilian clothes to start snapping pictures of their handiwork so they can then turn around and sell it to a local newspaper. There was even a period where the world’s supes had one helluva brawl, resulting in billions of dollars of damage, an unspecified amount of deaths, and ended in the demise of an iconic hero. Does the community even appoint a P.R guy to issue an apology? Nope!

Another example you say? Remember when a small group of supposedly intelligent superheroes banded together and thought it was a good idea to send the strongest (and angriest) super of all time out into the deepness of space for the benefit of all humanity? How about when the ship veered off course, this hero becomes a gladiator, then king of said planet, returns to Earth to extract his revenge on said council, and flattens NYC in the process? They only apologized to the aggressor not because they were wrong, but because he was beating the piss out of them!

These folks aren’t heroes, they’re on a massive power trip. There are some out there who may try to sell you that whole “with great power comes great responsibility” hogwash. Don’t buy it. We didn’t ASK to be saved. Did they ever stop think that maybe Dr. Doom knows what he’s talking about? He is, after all, a doctor. Nope! The superhero thought process goes as follows: “Iron Mask! Wants to bring order to chaos?! He must be evil! Rabble, rabble rabble!” They save us for situations we don’t need saving from–only because they seek our adoration–they crave it. If they weren’t such attention seekers, they’d put down every supposed supervillian they’d ever crossed paths with to spare us future pain. But what do they do instead? Imprison him or simply let him the fuck go! He comes back, and the process starts all over again.

I could see letting a villain go the first, and maybe even the second time, but the third time? Use your laser vision to separate his head from his shoulders and move on. But that doesn’t happen, their misguided sense of justice tells them that anyone can be saved. And so the cycle continues: the villain figures out the “hero’s” secret identity, then kills or maims those closest because superheroes are cape wearing dinks who don’t understand that “some men, just want to watch the world burn.”

Bonnie Tyler would be spinning in her grave….in about 20-30 years.


Chris hates anyone or anything which goes against how he feels a sentient being with more than three brain cells should act. He hopes to use his “Encyclopedia Douchebag…ica” as a springboard into becoming a full-fledged, tax exempt religion complete with holidays and greeting cards, mainly so he can steal from its coffers. His hopes are…not that high, knowing that those who needs his guidance most, are unable to read his words… what with the extra flesh from their sloped, ape-like foreheads blinding their eyes from the truth.

When not acting like a complete bastard (which is not very often), Chris writes about all things video game related on his blog iNOOBriated, and his Twitter. He also offers his services as a freelancer for Beckett’s Massive Online Gamer. Yep, he’s a neeeeeerd.

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