Super Power Beat Down

So apparently there is a web series which pits super powered beings against each other. For their third episode, they had Batman vs. Wolverine.

The hosts’ arguments come down to Wolverine having several lifetimes of fighting experience, his adamantium skeleton and claws, and his healing factor while Batman has the brains to exploit Wolverine’s weaknesses.

As you can guess, I am a bit biased on how I think a fight between the two would end up, but here is how it played out according to the wisdom of internet voting:

While I disagree with the whole scenario and obviously the outcome, I have to say the video itself is well done. Good costumes, fight sequence, and effects.

If I had written the fight, I would have had Batman use more than batarangs and a smoke bomb, but again, you cannot argue with the wisdom of the internet.

Knight in Shining Armor

Superheroes are sometimes called modern-age knights. One of Batman’s many monikers is “The Dark Knight,” and he is often compared to Iron Man of the Marvel universe, who literally has shining armor.

And for good reason – they are both “genius billionaire playboy philanthropists.” They are both orphans who could have used their family wealth to settle into the lap of luxury as upper class twits, but instead chose to use their gifts to make their worlds better. Batman’s orphaning was the result of a violent crime, so he chose to take more direct, street-level action and to focus on Gotham City. Iron Man’s parents were lost in an accident, and he chose to continue his family’s work on a worldwide scale.

So if the two of them are so similar, why is this blog “Batman To Be” and not “Iron Man To Be” ? I will admit, I grew up following DC comics and Batman in particular, so I am biased. There’s the minutia of their respective personalities and Rogues’ Galleries. (I put Batman ahead on both of those counts, but it is purely a matter of personal preference.) But I think the deeper reason is that Batman is more “iconic,” to borrow Scott McCloud‘s comics vocabulary. Another way to put it is “universality.” On some level, anyone reading a Batman story will think to himself, “I could do that. I could train my body and mind into the perfect crime-fighter.” It is more difficult to read an Iron Man story and think to yourself, “I could build a weaponized flying suit of armor.”

In my fraternity, a pledge class was named after me and they picked Iron Man as their class mascot. Since Batman was already taken by a previous pledge class, I figured this was the best possible alternative. (I have always liked Iron Man, I just like Batman more.) Now I spam their Facebook group daily with Iron Man stuff, but no matter how many arguments you throw at me, I will probably still like Batman more.

But you are welcome to try to change my mind.

Does Not Like Shoes

Costumes are a big deal for superheroes. The classic ones are known for wearing tights, wearing capes, wearing underwear or leotards over their other clothes, and so on. Batman is no exception. He is usually portrayed in tights, cape, and underwear over the tights.

More modernly, heroes can be mocked for this old-school aesthetic, especially since they usually do not work well in live-action adaptations.

Shoes, though, do not get much attention. Unless you are the Green Lantern.

Shoe design has not changed much since we started covering our feet thousands of years ago, and superheroes, by and large, wear boots.

It makes sense. Superheroes need protection from the elements (and in some cases, bullets), so sturdy footwear is appropriate. I will even let Batman’s sneakiness despite his boots go, since I assume he has trained for years to be ninja-quiet. However, I do not understand the negative reaction to Green Lantern’s toes showing. The costume is a skin-tight layer of pure energy around his body. Since it is designed for any alien morphology, it makes sense that it be as exact as possible. How is the ring to know that in this world, toes are not fashionable?

Toe-shoes are the new thing in athletic footwear. Some people have a strong negative reaction to them. Personally, I do not. I grew up in an Asian household and love being barefoot. I am constantly barefoot at home and would be barefoot more outdoors if not for my concern about hot pavement, broken glass, and parasitic worms. A few years ago, I found out about Vibram Five Fingers and purchased the KSO (Keep Stuff Out) version for myself immediately.

I wore them on the half marathon I ran (and several other races since then), when I climbed Half-Dome, and now when I weight-lift at the gym. I had originally planned to wear them for the GoRuck Challenge, but read on their FAQ that they highly recommend shoes with a little more cushion.

In general, though, I love my Vibrams. I get the sense of freedom from being able to flex my toes and arches. My feet can breathe through the mesh uppers and “feel” the ground through the thin soles. I can feel barefoot as I run outside without worry of injury. They even help me with my weightlifting – the skin-tight nature of the shoe means it is easier to check my foot position. The thin soles mean I have a better sensation of where my weight is over my foot (which is important for proper form) and that I have a slight mechanical advantage on deadlifts, which become more difficult as foot height increases to or past the bar. They are also great for travel because they pack flat and I can squeeze them into any bag.

Possibly the only downside I have found is that they get smelly quite fast, but wearing toe-socks takes care of that.