Jokes on you! I am wearing flame retardant pajamas!
Let me start this article off with a plea: Do not firebomb my house in geek rage. I swear this article has a great intellectual and spiritual point.
Before you sharpen your pitchfork, hear me out. There’s actually a backstory to this.
I was sitting in a worship session with a bunch of young adults in Cape Cod. Everyone was singing their hearts out to the Lord. The lyrics spoke of His great and mighty power over all the Earth, but for some reason it was all bouncing off me. I felt like a noob trying to brag about his 10-kill streak in Call of Battlefield.
Then I thought to myself, “We are praising an eternal being with almighty forces at His fingertips, shouldn’t this faze me?” I began to consider how indoctrinated my brain is with characters who live forever, cannot get damaged, have world-ending powers, and can overcome any obstacle by smashing into it.
Let’s sing that chorus 16 more times!
God can handle such mystery, heroism, power and prestige like a champ–and in ways our comic books and heroes cannot. Today’s comic books are always trying to create good guys that cannot feel pain, cannot die, can rip any substance in half, and can withstand any power against them. Superman is rarely ever seen as struggling or perplexed by his enemies. In fact, writers have to think of ways to emotionally compromise him just to keep him interesting. Then you have Deadpool, a crazy ninja with regeneration and immortality. Does anyone ever worry that he won’t save the day or that he will get bested? Nope! He is a joke to the Marvel universe. Wolverine and The Hulk had a few face-offs against each other. They are two unstoppable forces meeting unmovable objects. It forces writers to have to think of emotional and soul-driven stories because using them as battering rams gets monotonous.
My money is on the guy on the left
One of the most boring fights in cinema history is Neo versus the Smith Agents in The Matrix sequels. Neo effortlessly beats multiple agents with a pole and fancy kicks, but it bears no consequence. Here you have an untouchable “chosen one” fighting bad guys that do not feel pain and cannot be stopped. It is a waste of human struggle.
In one of his storylines, Superman fights against Queen Bee. Queen Bee gets this idea to capture people and put them on the moon. Superman faces off against Queen Bee and she manages to trap him in a bubble for a few seconds. After that, Superman escapes, deflects all her offenses, and knocks her into space.
Hulk just found out they are rebooting Spider-Man again!
When the Avengers fought Loki in New York City, they didn’t need Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, and Hawkeye. They just needed Thor and Hulk to play goalie. I’m sure if the Hulk just sat on Loki in their first encounter, it would have been over.
Still less painful than childbirth
In the story where Wolverine goes to Hell and has to fight the Devil, not once does Wolverine get bested by his enemy, nor does he feel overwhelmed by the struggles of demons. In fact, Wolverine just keeps slicing everyone, healing from wounds, and humiliating the devil. This storyline persuaded the reader that no one could leave Hell, but since Wolverine is such a tough guy, he became the exception.
Absolute power is boring in fights because a fight implies struggle and weakness. Amidst this struggle and weakness, the hero must overcome. The number one rule of good fiction is to torture the hero. We watch them feel pain from their enemies so that they can show perseverance against all odds. The Hulk, Deadpool, Wolverine and Superman do not do that for me. It could be argued that these characters have dramatic lives filled with alcoholism, loneliness, and disparate egos. But would you be satisfied if Wolverine and Hulk spent issues talking and sharing feelings instead of engaging in combat? I would like to see how a Hulk soap opera would do.
If a hero is measured by how much he/she overcomes, Batman, Daredevil, Ms. Marvel, and Tony Stark are better heroes than any demi-god. They get their heads handed to them, but ultimately use strategy, out-of-the-box thinking, and determination to best their enemies.
His only weakness is a good story line
A perfect example of this is The UltimatesVolume 1 and 2 story, where Reed Richards creates a race of evolved children that can destroy gods. The whole world is at the whim of these children. Even Thor loses his powers. Finally, Tony Stark gets himself captured by Reed in order to use his brain to hack into the children’s fortress and take it over from the inside. No battering rams, just cunning.
Comic books are guilty of creating heroes that mirror God’s intelligence, strength, and power. We use these icons to solve impossible problems in stories. In a way, it makes us think that God should fly down from the Heavens, power-lift all of our struggles, and throw them at the sun.
But I am amazed that God’s answer to all problems is found in Jesus. He was a vulnerable hero. His enemies tortured Him with hunger, doubt, arguments, and disbelief. His greatest offense was in miracles that gave His father glory and in speaking the truth, and even that didn’t make Him truly victorious. If Jesus’ life was a six-book story arc, the great finale would be His submission to the cross as a bizarre way to defeat death.
They should have just called him Wrecking Ball
What does that say about God? His ultimate weapon against evil is not teleporting down on planet Earth and shooting fireballs. Perhaps His glory, omniscience, and strength is best seen through the things He accomplishes through us weaklings. We are the Matt Murdock in this story, and God is our super power. One day, He will hit the Earth with a 1,000 combo glory punch and our enemies will all swear hopelessly in unison (see Message Bible). Until then we have bravery, heroism, and struggle flowing into our hearts from a Spirit that can do more than we ask or imagine.
Michael P M
I am a minister for Campus Ambassadors, a gymnastics customer service rep, a social media enthusiast and a writer. I try to collect obscure video games, I love comics and somewhere on Amazon I have a self published book. I am married to a beautiful and grounded woman. But most importantly, I have been seized by a great affection in the Lord.
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