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Off My Mind: Does Needing Help Make a Superhero Less Cool?

"I get by with a little a little help from my friends."

Think about the dark brooding bad ass superheroes. They roam the night. They sit perched atop the rooftops, waiting for the evil to emerge onto the streets in order to deliver the hammer of justice upon them.  Besides some poetic inner monologues, these characters have another thing in common: they work best alone. 
 
These characters have trained themselves so much or simply have such great abilities that they can go out there alone and get the job done. They may have to take a few punches once in a while but at the end of the day, they are victorious over the villains.  
 
RazzaTazz brought up the topic of characters needing help. Specifically she mentioned when Nightwing was defeated by Blockbuster (in issue #93). He could have been killed if he didn't get help from someone else.   
  
What happens when those really cool loner villains can't get the job done alone. Some of them take on sidekicks. Others join teams of super-powered individuals. Sometimes it's a matter of upgrading their arsenal to include armor or other high tech gadgets to make things easier for them. When this happens, when these awesome heroes need help, does that make them a little bit less cool? 
 == TEASER == 
Whether you like him or are tired of him, Batman is the hero that can kick everyone's ass. The common belief is that, with a little prep time, he can defeat anyone. Yet it was one year after his debut that he took on Robin, a kid from the circus, to become his sidekick. Sure, he felt bad for little Dick Grayson having lost his parents but did he really need to turn him into his crimefighting partner? It never really seemed that Batman needed Robin until after the death of Jason Todd. Tim Drake came up with the notion that Batman did, in fact, need a Robin. When Darkseid sent Batman back in time, at the end of the journey, Bruce discovered that he did need others. He accepted that he couldn't and didn't have to go on his mission against evil alone. Is Batman no longer capable of fighting on his own? 
 
What about Wolverine? He's supposed to be the best there is at what he does. How many female sidekicks has he had? Whether it's Kitty Pryde, Jubilee, Armor or even X-23, it seems Wolverine can't stand to be alone. He might be trying to be a father figure to them but his fights usually get pretty bloody and violent. It's not exactly the best place to take an impressionable youth. What about all the teams he's currently on? He's on the X-Men, X-Force and Avengers. What is it that he's best at these days? It could be an evolution of his character but a big part of Wolverine's character has been his lone samurai persona. It looked like he couldn't be tamed enough to be part of the X-Men and now he's part of the team's heart and soul.  
 
What about Hercules? He's the Prince of Power, son of Zeus, the Lion of Olympus. How many times has he recently been saved or assisted by Amadeus Cho? Sure Amadeus is one of the smartest people in the Marvel Universe but he's still a kid...and Hercules is a demigod. What does it say that he's had to rely on a kid for so many of his battles? 
 
Who else is there? Spider-Man used to be a loner and now is hanging out with the Avengers and Future Foundation. Punisher was a one-man army but had to rely on Microchip many times. Superman has even received help from Jimmy Olsen, the guy who needed a signal watch and to be saved himself so many times. 
 
There's nothing wrong with asking for help. No one can do it all alone. But what happens to that badass character that needs help? Do they lose some of their cool points or does it strengthen their character and make them a little more human?
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Posted by EnSabahNurX

Well if a hero never needed any help then they wouldn't be very interesting because it would mean they were unbeatable. But it's also annoying if a hero constantly needs help because it makes them seem incompetent, so I say occasional help or simply give the hero a sidekick like batman has mastered.

Posted by NightFang
@EnSabahNurX: well said, man.
Posted by Iron_Turtle

Not necessarily. As stated above, a hero that never encounters adversity is pretty dull.

But with darker characters like Batman and Wolverine I've often viewed their sidekicks as a counter balance rather than "help".

Posted by Grim

i like team books, so constant help is always cool in my book. the way i see it, if you have help all the time, the times you achieve victory on your own seem that much cooler.

Posted by Eyz

It takes courage to admit one needs the help of others, and what are heroes beside courageous b@stards?!
*whistle Yankee Doodle or some other patriotic tune*

Posted by Osiris1428
@EnSabahNurX said:
" Well if a hero never needed any help then they wouldn't be very interesting because it would mean they were unbeatable. But it's also annoying if a hero constantly needs help because it makes them seem incompetent, so I say occasional help or simply give the hero a sidekick like batman has mastered. "
First of all, great name. Second of all, great point.
Posted by Comiclove5

No not at all, well it depends on how needy.

Posted by Billy Batson

YES :P

Online
Posted by JonesDeini

It's completely fine in my book. 

Posted by Nerx

Nope, having homies to save yer ass makes it awesome for teams and plus it gets the job done faster

Posted by triangle

there is nothing more boring then never needing help; its so cardboard. it is anti-cool to be antisocial; its enscribbed into the notion of being popular is to be social. a person who never needs anything is unrelatable, look at Dr Manhattan its his weakness.

Edited by antiterra

IMO Batman has never been cooler than he is right now - and that's your answer right there if you look at Morrison's entire run on the character.

One of his big underlying themes is that Batman isn't alone (hell, one of the first things Morrison did was give Bruce a biological son), that he isn't a one-man operation, that yes, he does need help because, for all his intelligence and planning skills, there are schemes that simply cannot be accomplished by one man alone. That, and he's not all, you know, omnipotent and immortal...


And you know why that makes him cool? Because there are so many heroes, friends and allies who are always ready and willing to provide that help, just because he is who he is.

This ability to inspire such loyalty in others is precisely what makes him cool, so kudos to Morrison for putting great emphasis on  something that's always been true, but never as evident and as expertly showcased.

Posted by RazzaTazz

Tony did a great writeup, but my point more so was that if a villain is holding a hero by the neck squeezing the life out of him, then someone comes along to help them, then basically the hero was beat and therefore dead without some intervention.  I think in that case it does take something away from the character, especially some one like Dick Grayson who would be second to Bruce in the ability to plan.  You usually don't factor some random saviour into your plan when you are making one. 

Posted by craigbo180

The most popular heroes are usually associated as loners though everyone needs help now and again!

Posted by dangermart

Yup, I like a hero who isn't too big to be rescued. Never mind Nightwing, there can't be a single hero who hasn't at some point needed a hand to avoid death. I hate infallibility ( I especially hate the 'Batman can beat anyone', bit - let's see you beat super-speed heat vision when you've prepared for ice breath, Caped Crusader).

Posted by xerox_kitty

Somehow this item reminds me of Sky High, how the kids were sifted into 'Heroes' & 'Sidekicks'.  Although in that the sidekicks weren't good enough to be heroes, not that the heroes needed help.

 

In Wolverine's case, he's more of a drunken older uncle who takes all the lumps, thumps & cuts while his teenaged female sidekick will help in more stealthy & sneaky ways.  Nightwing was a loner back then, it was part of his progression; sidekick to lone hero to hero with a sidekick. 

 

It's almost as if the heroes who don't have sidekicks are missing out on someone to watch their backs.  While the heroes with sidekicks are mentoring a human safety net for themselves ;)
   

Posted by SC

Depends, if it makes them less cool, then they probably weren't cool to start with. Or the persons perception of them being cool, was probably flawed. Really depends on the context, If Galactus asks X-23 to help him scratch this itch on his lower back he can't quite reach then, uh, aside from the surreal awesome value, it might make him seem less cool. Arguably it could be said it makes him more interesting OR least interesting.  
 
If Thor asks a little girl to help him be better at playing his own movie tie in video game? Well dang if that don't automatically make him cooler. So really depends. She Hulk asking Lady Liberators to help her take Rulk down? Its execution sucked though. Not inherently making her less cool though, but a good writer should also be able to have Hulk ask for help of others too, and usually you'll find some examples that don't detract and some that do.  
 
Sentry asked for help all the time, I think it made him cool, then again, a lot of the time he didn't ask for help, he just ran away crying like a caricature.  
 
What else is cool? Friendship. Nothing quite like friendships in comics, friends asking friends for help? Really cool. Trying to be cool, by doing all the tropes of appearing to be cool? Including never wanting to ask for help because of a perception? You end up looking like that old orange guy wearing bling a toupee and white leather pants and shades during the day. Trying to be cool, but failing so spectacularly its awesome. (lol)

Moderator
Posted by DEGRAAF

Its great idea to give super heroes help sometimes. While it is cool to see certain super heroes work together at the same time it ups the threat level of that villain knowing that one hero cant always take him on alone.

Posted by Xenozoic Shaman

If they didn't need to team up now and then, we'd have to buy more comics so that we could see other people in action.  So heroes that need help from time to time, are awesome cool.  They save us money!

Posted by Radread

 
 As they say, the hardest thing for a person to do is ask for help. If anything, it shows how much of a bigger person they are when they ask a friend for help against a common foe.
Posted by Nerx

 If they don't need help then why are there awesome super teams?
Posted by superscottc70

I think Batman and Wolverine's need for a sidekick, a partner or their inclusion in different team's isn't particularly bcause they can't perform their job alone, I think it's more because if they didn't have people to set an example for or people to keep watch on them, they feel they may one day succumb to the darker/more feral side of their persona and become what they are fighting against.

Posted by Doctor!!!!!

All Heroes need help on occasions its why The Avengers and Justice League Formed....... but if the heroes are lame...... that makes the hero lame.

Posted by Karlails

The lonely, bad-ass characters, needing help, usually don't say: "Hey, man, can you help me?" 
They make it seem like it's in the best interests of the helping character and as if there's no other choice.  So they remain cool.

Posted by dondasch

It speaks to Batman's pragmatism that he recognizes the occasional need for sidekicks. Whether that be singular heroes like Robin (whatever incarnation you choose), Nightwing or even on a larger stage of a group setting like the Justice League.  Yes, even though Batman is incredibly capable, has been shown to have at least an Olympic level of physical ability and a second to none mind among humans, even he does recognize that he requires assistance.  Look at Knightfall, for examples of that.
 
It doesn't necessarily impact the "coolness" factor.  Think about it.  Take a moment to remember a moment from your favorite superhero adventure and specifically when that hero was in trouble.  Oftentimes, just when it seems the darkness closes in on the hero (or insert or useful cliched scenario) that is when the writer introduces the saving grace of the character.  This can be displayed through a event occurring or through another hero showing up to assist the main hero.  Another example is again Batman, particularly in the Justice League animated series.  Sure, he would be "huffy" and say that he didn't need the help given by (insert character name here), but he would issue a gruff, terse thank you, and move on.  Did your view of Batman change ?  Probably not

Posted by StarKiller809

When a hero needs help, I think it is almost just as cool as not needing help. You get to see two people fighting and the hero also has to have some trust in the other hero.
Posted by entropy_aegis
@antiterra said:
"

IMO Batman has never been cooler than he is right now - and that's your answer right there if you look at Morrison's entire run on the character.

One of his big underlying themes is that Batman isn't alone (hell, one of the first things Morrison did was give Bruce a biological son), that he isn't a one-man operation, that yes, he does need help because, for all his intelligence and planning skills, there are schemes that simply cannot be accomplished by one man alone. That, and he's not all, you know, omnipotent and immortal...


And you know why that makes him cool? Because there are so many heroes, friends and allies who are always ready and willing to provide that help, just because he is who he is.

This ability to inspire such loyalty in others is precisely what makes him cool, so kudos to Morrison for putting great emphasis on  something that's always been true, but never as evident and as expertly showcased.

"

Well said.But certain batfanatics dislike Morrison for this very reason,they wanna see him beat characters(who'm he has no business being in the same ring with) all by his lonesome self.But simultaneously they also wanna see him fight penguin,croc etc cause that makes him more realistic and gritty.Hypocrisy at it's finest. 
Posted by Joe Venom

yup, That's why Lobo is so badass, cause the main man don't need no help from no one! but if some do-gooder wants to follow him through the cosmos he ain't going to stop them, just don't get in his way.

Edited by Emperormeister734

there no shame for a hero asking help from another.Deadpool, Batman,Wolverine, pretty much everyone does it. Batman get help every friday at 6:30 lol

Posted by Aetheldod

Pfffttt Batman is to be a loner , get that sissy Robin out of the way D: and ay other "sidekick" the worst invention in comic history >:(

Posted by FireFlare153

If help wasn't cool, we wouldn't have an awsome team like the Avengers.
Posted by Sin4profit

Pishaw...they never NEED help, they just ACT like they need help to train their side kicks in real life situations...and THAT is what makes them a true hero *sniff*

Posted by xerox_kitty

Although I've never been a fan of solo titles, I wouldn't think less of anyone like Spider-Man for accepting a little help.  In fact, it's more fun when he has someone to banter with.  

Posted by TypingKira
@Radread said:
"   As they say, the hardest thing for a person to do is ask for help. If anything, it shows how much of a bigger person they are when they ask a friend for help against a common foe. "
This.  
 
In the news again, Tazzy?
Posted by Daredevilwithoutfear
@entropy_aegis said:
" @antiterra said:
"But certain batfanatics dislike Morrison for this very reason,they wanna see him beat characters(who'm he has no business being in the same ring with) all by his lonesome self.But simultaneously they also wanna see him fight penguin,croc etc cause that makes him more realistic and gritty.Hypocrisy at it's finest.  "
I agree with what you say here
Posted by Larkin1388
@TypingKira said:
" @Radread said:
"   As they say, the hardest thing for a person to do is ask for help. If anything, it shows how much of a bigger person they are when they ask a friend for help against a common foe.
 
This
Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

nope. it just makes them more awesome.  

Posted by Soldier zero

I agree with the general sentiment, heroes that don't need help are usually quite boring after a while, either they're completly unbeatable or the they keep losing. Boring and dull either way.
 
But this topic bring out another question, why are heroes so reluctant to call for back-up?
Think about it, Spider-Man has been a reservist Avenger for a long time before being included in the main team rooster and, like all the Avengers, he carried a communicard. Simply given the size of the Avengers ranks he could have called for back-up dozen of times instead of keep charging alone again threats he could barely handle.
Granted, other heroes are very territorial, like Batman, and doesn't like intruders in their city. But the MU New York is so full of heroes that I wonder how they avoid bumping into each other constantly (there was a funny remark about his in Thunderstrike, when Eric wondered what might happen if Devil and Moon Knight jumped in synch on the same flagpole).
 
At the same time, constantly call for back-up certainly tone done the heroic nature of the character, knowing that you can always expect the cavalry within a few minutes heavily detracts from the heroism of going out against your opponent one-on-one.

Posted by SpidermanWins

I just hate it when Spider-Man gets his ass handed to him by someone inferior and has to be saved. It's annoying if this villain is weaker, otherwise I don't mind it. It makes things more interesting.

Posted by Journey Into Chaos

XD is that question really necessary ?

Posted by CptPanda29

If you're suggesting the effin' Justice League isn't cool...

Posted by Dracade102

 Robin's internet meme is my response to this.
Edited by Jimbo

"There's nothing wrong with asking for help. No one can do it all alone. But what happens to that badass character that needs help?"

 

You have this backwards.  There's nothing wrong with needing help, but it's the stubborn refusal to ask for any which maketh the man.  Or Superhero in this case.

 

This is especially true if there happens to be a Superheroine present who is growing impatient with our Superhero's incompetence and suggesting that he might, in fact, need some help.  "Of course I can lift this supertanker on my own! Just stop rushing me! I want a divorce." 

Posted by Fantasgasmic
If a hero always needs someone else to help him (or her) he's not much of a hero. That's why Booster Gold (as much as i've seen him) isn't much of a hero compared to Superman, who sometimes requires help, but also helps others and can hold his own against villains.
Posted by snapevsh

a hero needs a team batman has robin, batgirl, nightwing, and commissioner gorden and besides don't the x-men are always having to reteach gambit and wolverine that they can't do it all alone

Posted by bag_o_x_men

I personally like when they need a little help.  It humanizes them.

Posted by Agent9149

anyone who was asked for help by batman is awesome in my book because if Batman wants your help you know your doing something extremely right

Posted by UnosInfinitos

In case of kryptonite, magic or some smart ass with blackhole generator call justice league for everything else there's Superman.

When so many superheroes in the DCU fighting crime together is more of a social activity.

Posted by BlueStarr86

Heroes in fiction have always had allies to help them through their trials, all the way back to Odysseus, the first hero. So, no it shouldn't effect their coolness level.

Posted by X-23_2513

depends who they are.
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