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Superheroes Are More Effective in the Star Wars Universe

It would solve a lot of problems.

Since an early age, I've asked myself, "Are superheroes logical?"  Do they condone fascism? How feasible is it to conceal a secret identity? Does the never-ending cycle of capture-and-escape make battling supervillains futile? Should superheroes be allowed to kill? And you know the rest of the questions. But I don't think these questions would need to be asked if all this superhero stuff  took place in, say, the STAR WARS universe... 
  

 These are superheroes and villains

Besides Star Wars, you could just easily say Middle Earth. Or your typical "future."  

Superhero is a broad term. James Bond is a superhero. So are Obi-Wan Kenobi and Neo. They all have larger-than-life abilities, a signature costume and a color gallery of foes and allies. But these heroes don’t suffer the same scrutiny as the tights-and-capes ones we’re so familiar with. When Aragorn cuts a snarling Uruk-Hai’s head off without a second thought, nobody’s questioning if he was justified.  

Why are traditional superheroes held to a different standard from sci-fi/fantasy heroes? 
 == TEASER ==

It wasn't until I started reading JUDGE DREDD that I figured out that this "double standard" was all about setting. Superheroes’ greatest strength and greatest weakness is the fact that they’re set in the real world (or an approximation of it, at least.)  It makes them less believable and more relatable at the same time. Thus,  a lot of these questions arise only because the heroes aren't set in an all-and-all fantasy world.

HOW DO THEY KEEP THEIR SECRET IDENTITIES?


In Mega City One, Dredd is just Dredd. He literally has no personal life. We've actually been seeing more of this lately with Cap, Iron Man and (possibly?) Batman "going public." For a long time, the cautionary tale of the first Nite Owl's death in WATCHMEN would dissuade that kind of thing. However, if you're an espionage agent or a billionaire, you'd probably have just as many enemies either way, so why bother with a mask? 

WHAT GIVES THEM THE RIGHT?


There's a funny exchange in THE DARK KNIGHT when the amateur Batmen ask why Batman, alone, is allowed to take the law into his own hands. The Green Lantern Corps has some overlap with the Jedi Order since they’re both basically outfits of space cops. They have defined rules, jurisdictions and superiors they report to (answering the question of who, in fact, watches the Watchmen.)

WHO ARE THE BAD GUYS?


The power level decides a lot. I always figured that Spidey being superhuman negated any discussion of why he shouldn't just leave it to the cops. They simply can't handle a supervillain, and the more villains you add, the greater the justification is. Somehow, it’s more palatable to go against an army - - say the hordes of Mordor - - over a loosely-affiliated rogue’s gallery. We have been seeing more of this lately with things like VILLAINS UNITED and the Hood's mob.  

SHOULD THEY KILL?

I always found it ironic that Luke Skywalker got so hung-up about killing Darth Vader when he had no qualms shredding through Stormtroopers. The morality of capital punishment will never cease being debated but, in superhero comics, it seems like you're either Superman or the Punisher when it come to the lethality of your force. Cap killing Baron Blood was considered a big transgression, as I recall. I figure, again, this is an issue of the heroes at war vs. the heroes fighting during peace time.  

 
So there's more than a little to chew on there. I figure this would also address the concern of how ridiculous costumes could look since, if you put, say, the Super-Adaptoid in a fantasy setting, even the most ridiculous outfit will look less ridiculous by comparison. My aim here is to suggest a different way of looking at things for you maniacs and then step back as the discussion gets going. Do you prefer superheroes sitting on the fence between the real and surreal, as I've noticed, or would you prefer them in a more all-out fantasy milieu? Would that make them "work" better?
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Posted by Baron_Emo

I suppose it depends on if you are looking at a super-powered individual, a costumed vigilante, or a fantasy character. The term "superhero" seems to imply that the character in question must be elevated above "normal heroes" in some way. 

Posted by Silkcuts

Great article, you are right, it is all about universe setting.
:D

Posted by cbake76

I've always wondered what would happen if Superman ever visited Tatooine -- that's TWO YELLOW SUNS! Just how much more powerful could he possibly get? Would he become so powerful that his body just can't handle it and implodes upon itself?...

Posted by rlmay3
@cbake76: He would become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.
Posted by cbake76
@rlmay3:  I don't know -- I can imagine quite a bit.  :-)
Posted by Moomin123

DC meets Star Wars, awesome concept.  
Being a huge Star Wars and DC fan (like a lot of people on the site, I'm sure), I'd love for Darth Vader to join the Injustice League.
Posted by TSCTH

The bit about Luke Skywalker killing loads of stormtroopers made me think of something Voltaire said: "It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. "

Posted by joshmightbe

Some stories wouldn't be as interesting with super heros in them like for instance lord of the rings that whole thing would take like 5 seconds if the flash had been involved 

Edited by Mr. Dead Pool

If you kill someone in the real world you have to go to jail and wait for a trial. Why you killed them and if you can prove that your reason is within legal limits means you your not guilty, like killing in self defense, no one could hold it against you. In a kill or be killed scenario I can say I would kill, it's just survival instinct. Now if a hero in DC kills someone for whatever reason it's the cold shoulder for them, but if a Marvel hero kills someone in self defense theirs not that big a deal made about it(except maybe the hero in question).

Posted by joshmightbe

I've always wondered why cap took so much crap for killing Baron Blood he was a vampire 

Posted by Deadcool

WHERE DOES THIS COMES FROM?

 Artist: Mike Wieringo
Posted by Decoy Elite

The tittle is misleading, as the Superheroes(Jedi) aren't more effective than the heroes in the mainstream universe. Their villains(Sith) get away all the time, and at one point won and basically caused their version of Dark Reign, except lasted much, much, much longer. 
 
Basically the Jedi kind of suck at their job and are a bad example.

Edited by Deadcool
@Decoy Elite:  But the Superheroes won in the Dark Reign because Osborn is crazy as hell...
Posted by joshmightbe
@Decoy Elite: but if thor and dr. strange had been there the emperor would've been in a wheel chair and forced into hiding
Posted by turoksonofstone

My opinion? The more realistic the setting the more electrifying  the superhero story.

Posted by Maximus95

Wow, super interesting topic!  Superman on Tatooine?!  Now that would be something worth seeing!  I wonder if he'd need to keep the Parasite around to siphon off the extra energy like he did right after (or was it right before) the Trial of Superman arc?   
 
Luke Skywalker killing Stormtroopers is a gray area, aren't Stormtroopers supposed to be clones?  I admit I've allowed my Star Wars knowledge to gather a little dust.... 
 
I don't think a superhero would necessarily "work" better in a fantasy setting.  Take the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series.  That is most definitely a fantasy setting, and the main characters I think could definitely be classified as having extrordinary powers.  Whether or not those main characters would be considered super heroes or villians may depend on your opinion of the current ruling class....  Rand in those books went through similar issues of being loved by some and feared by others.  His decisions constantly under scrutiny.  He was looked to by so many different people as their "saviour" or a chosen one type... I know there is a magic element to their powers, but some of the characters had abilities that if I remember correctly seemed to just be somewhat genetic(?).... 
 
All that to say I don't find "hero" adventures more or less credible depending upon the setting.  I think when you deal with a less centralized and/or culturally advanced society such as you may see in the fantasy realm things occur on a more local setting.  Meaning something that happens in Rohan or Gondor won't neccessarily effect the Shire right away, or possibly at all.  Compare that to a more modernized/realistic setting with 24/7 news networks and more of a global conscious things seem more complicated and politicized... 
 
Sorry for rambling, but great way to spend the last 15 minutes at work :)
Edited by Icon
@turoksonofstone said:

"My opinion? The more realistic the setting the more electrifying  the superhero story. "


I agree. I think one of the things that makes superheroes so "super" is precisely the fact that their stories are set (predominantly) in the real world. And I like that.
Posted by joshmightbe

I would love to see what would happen if Galactus showed up on a world in the star wars galaxy or if the galactic empire took on the Shi'ar or the Kree

Posted by Walker696

The thing about superheroes is that they are suppose to be shinning examples for "normal" people. Capt and Superman are examples of this. They are not only great leaders and stronger fighters, they are also held as examples for other heroes as well. That's why they are held to higher standards. Those fantasy movies also have justice on their side just a different standard of justice. Morality is a strange thing, it allows others to kill while it hunts others for even thinking about it. Realistically people like Nick Fury, Red Hood, and Mr. Majestic are the truest forms of heroes. They get the job done whether you like how they do it, whether you like why they do it and honestly they could care less, they do what needs to be done for the greater good whether folks know it or not. This is something even the movie heroes don't/won't do. Anybody with the title hero (whether they be super or not) is held to a standard to some extent, now whether these standards overlap is another question. But honestly are you going to hold Cap and Punisher to the same standard, how about Superman and Lobo.........all of these men are heroes but honestly do you really expect them all to respond the same.

Posted by Decept-O

If the Comic Vine Staff continues with well written articles and videos, I will be tempted to become a member of this here site.   
 
Oh, wait....   
Posted by Red L.A.M.P.
@joshmightbe said:
" Some stories wouldn't be as interesting with super heros in them like for instance lord of the rings that whole thing would take like 5 seconds if the flash had been involved  "
Yah but Tom's pointing out that even in LTR there are superheroes, like Gandolf, would fit the criteria of a superhero.  And he kills.
Staff
Posted by pip

Dear Tom,  
 
Given that your premise is "Since an early age, I've asked myself, 'Are superheroes logical?' " 
there is nothing left to do but underline this 'Are superheroes logical '  . How on earth do you have a column?  What you lack imagination and innovative speculation you more then make up for it with reduntant  inane lines of questioning that show a remarkable vapidity for a connoisseur. To say nothing of your sub par writing style. In all sincerity we are worthy & deserve more as readers and we expect more from our writers. Tom they say the unexamed life is not worth living so i strongly urge you to put on a brave face and rethink yours. HUZZAH - pip!
Posted by TheMess1428

Luke had a rough time killing Darth Vader because he was his father. Nobody can sit well with killing their own father.

Posted by joshmightbe

Cap kills when its necessary because he's a soldier.He's killed plenty of nazis and I still stand firm that killing Baron Blood was morally ok cause you know vampire. As for Luke having trouble killing vader but not storm troopers can be explained easily Vader was his father that'd be hard on anyone but the storm troopers due to their tactics and almost robotic uniforms made it easier to have a moral disconnect from killing them, basically the trooper's uniform made it easier for the rebels to see them as inhuman(I'm using that as a blanket term for all the races in star wars) which in turn made them easier to kill from a moral standpoint  

Posted by Jnr6Lil

ya
Edited by Danial79

In the Marvel U, it seems to be a matter of power. Characters such as Punisher and Moon Knight have no problems killing, but being only human, if they didn't, how would they stop a room full of baddies otherwise. The supers, with their enhanced speed and strength, are able to take a few bullets here and there, which allows them to take out the room with no loss of life.

Posted by Jnr6Lil

batman woud  kill too (i.e brother eye)

Posted by DarkSyde79

As they say, “The battle between good and evil is everlasting.” Whether things are organized, officially sanctioned or everything in between… the job’ll never be done. Even in the Star Wars universe, the battle between the Jedi, Sith, Galactic Republic and other universal powers has had its ups, downs, heroes and villains. 

Edited by GraveSp
Posted by Shadow_Thief

I think the real-world vs. fantasy setting argument depends on what level of escapism you're looking for. You can look at any major city and envision Spidey swinging around or Supes soaring across the skyline, whereas to imagine Aragorn or Conan cutting a swath through a legion of foes, you also need to visualize an entirely different world. While staging the battle of Moria in the NYC subway might make for some interesting guerilla theatre, it does tend to make the necessary suspension of disbelief just a touch more difficult. On the other hand, it's easy to imagine Wolverine and Sabretooth duking it out in this setting.

Posted by Telcalipoca
@Decoy Elite said:
" The tittle is misleading, as the Superheroes(Jedi) aren't more effective than the heroes in the mainstream universe. Their villains(Sith) get away all the time, and at one point won and basically caused their version of Dark Reign, except lasted much, much, much longer.   Basically the Jedi kind of suck at their job and are a bad example. "
the jedi kill the sith there is no trial or interogation for them.If the sith have risen from their ashes all these ages is because you cant get rid of the darkside.So long as there are jedi theres a chance one will fall to the dark side so long as there is the force theres a chance for someone to learn how to use it for better or worse.There is simply no way to win permanantly against the dark side but given that the jedi have kept the sith from ruling far longer than what they have i say they dont and arent a bad example.
Posted by Decoy Elite
@Telcalipoca said:
" @Decoy Elite said:
" The tittle is misleading, as the Superheroes(Jedi) aren't more effective than the heroes in the mainstream universe. Their villains(Sith) get away all the time, and at one point won and basically caused their version of Dark Reign, except lasted much, much, much longer.   Basically the Jedi kind of suck at their job and are a bad example. "
the jedi kill the sith there is no trial or interogation for them.If the sith have risen from their ashes all these ages is because you cant get rid of the darkside.So long as there are jedi theres a chance one will fall to the dark side so long as there is the force theres a chance for someone to learn how to use it for better or worse.There is simply no way to win permanantly against the dark side but given that the jedi have kept the sith from ruling far longer than what they have i say they dont and arent a bad example. "
They're a bad example because they screw up just as much as normal heroes do, except in their case it nearly led to them basically going extinct. Don't get me wrong, they won in the end in all that, but don't most super heroes do so as well? How are they more effective then? They kill? Please, that just means they don't deal with the same enemies all the time (but then again given the escape rate of the Sith, they might as well)
Posted by theiconic
@joshmightbe: i actually did a battle w ith this concept,the haters  really went  craze, even now sum speak on it and it was 5 months ago lol. but i still stand on the power of the force, as Vader said  dont be too proud of this technological terror  uv'ed constructed, the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the force....there are so many force powers  that are capable of stopping armies, let alone giant world eaters...remember yoda, size matters not, and if ur familure with The starwars universe theres a power called  shatterpoint  that can break the unbreakable and shatter it like glass no matter how impenetrable ....
Posted by Telcalipoca
@Decoy Elite said:
" @Telcalipoca said:
" @Decoy Elite said:
" The tittle is misleading, as the Superheroes(Jedi) aren't more effective than the heroes in the mainstream universe. Their villains(Sith) get away all the time, and at one point won and basically caused their version of Dark Reign, except lasted much, much, much longer.   Basically the Jedi kind of suck at their job and are a bad example. "
the jedi kill the sith there is no trial or interogation for them.If the sith have risen from their ashes all these ages is because you cant get rid of the darkside.So long as there are jedi theres a chance one will fall to the dark side so long as there is the force theres a chance for someone to learn how to use it for better or worse.There is simply no way to win permanantly against the dark side but given that the jedi have kept the sith from ruling far longer than what they have i say they dont and arent a bad example. "
They're a bad example because they screw up just as much as normal heroes do, except in their case it nearly led to them basically going extinct. Don't get me wrong, they won in the end in all that, but don't most super heroes do so as well? How are they more effective then? They kill? Please, that just means they don't deal with the same enemies all the time (but then again given the escape rate of the Sith, they might as well) "
since the war with the jedi and dark jedi(sith) only once did they win.When the dark jedi and jedi fought for the first time the dark jedi were banished from the known galaxy when they came back hundreds of years later they were crushed out of the dozens of sith lords only one escaped .Every single attempt afterward for milenias by the sith to gain control was  thwarted by the jedis each time the jedi sought to exterminate them.And they did for there have being periods of time where no sith activity happens or even exits these time periods are centuries by the way.But the peace cannot last so long as there is force or so long as the jediorder exist since even their own can be corrupted.So even if the sith were able to succed once their rule was less than an average persons life span while the jedi have vanquished the sith for centuries so yeah i do think the jedi do a good job and arent a bad example.
Posted by Decoy Elite
@Telcalipoca:  The Jedi still lost to the Sith and this led to almost all of them dying, a long tyrannical rein of Sith, and the death of an entire planet. How are they more effective than superheroes? Blathering on about how things "had to happen" doesn't change the fact that they were too stupid to stop Vader's heel turn or figure who the real main bad guy was.
Posted by LP
Posted by Telcalipoca
@Decoy Elite said:
" @Telcalipoca:  The Jedi still lost to the Sith and this led to almost all of them dying, a long tyrannical rein of Sith, and the death of an entire planet. How are they more effective than superheroes? Blathering on about how things "had to happen" doesn't change the fact that they were too stupid to stop Vader's heel turn or figure who the real main bad guy was. "
i wasnt saying the jedis were more affective than superheroes just defending them since you made them seem like they were incompetent .And i wasnt saying this had to happen the sith didnt have to win. just that there will always be sith.  a never ending war where jedis have won for milenias heroes dont even win against the villains or bring peace to the extend jedis have.How many times have the same villains slaughter innocent people robbed banks played with heroes lives?how often are the heroes always running about because of some super villains plan? every week? every month fighting a grp of the same villains?but even with everything they usually have things working for them.Just once did they fail once did everything they fought for turned against them which led to their fall but they did rise up.Jedis have protected an entire galaxy from various siths and other threats for milenias while superheroes struggle with 1 planet with the same suspects.  
 
and the sith rein was 17-19 years a rather short term in history terms.
Edited by NightFang
@Moomin123: I would love to see Darth Vader fight the Justice League.
Posted by Eyz

They shold start "killing randomly"..because then they would be committing felonies and have REAL reasons to get arrested (if vigilantism wasn't already good enough)
 
There's one thing in "helping the others", being an active citizen or protecting the innocents, but they can't start being judge, jury and executionner...
 
...Unlike Jedis!

Edited by brc2000

I've also never understood why superheroes aren't allowed to kill the occasional villain without it being a big deal, especially those who are difficult to contain. I'm not saying that I'd want to see all my favorite villains killed, as the villains are just as important as the heroes in superhero comics and a lack of them would make the books boring, but if the occasional one is, it really shouldn't really be a huge deal. People made such a huge deal about Green Arrow killing Prometheus, but for guys like Han Solo, James Bond, Robocop and John McClain, it's no big deal. I'd understand if people were against the more powerful and invulnerable Superman-like characters killing, but for the more down to earth characters, I don't see the problem.
 
I don't understand why it has to be "logical" though. We're talking about a medium where people get superpowers from nuclear explosions and radioactive spiders.

Posted by IrishX

Don't tell some people around here that Obi-Wan and others who kill are heroes. Clearly he is and so are many others that kill but some just don't seem to understand.....
Posted by Luthorcrow

Traditional comics struggle with killing to an almost silly level because they are meant to sell to all ages. In mainstream comics they also keep the world pretty black and white, uncomplicated because once you start looking at the larger context you realize it is a really rare situation where there is a clearly good and evil choice, and even more so when the public perception agrees on that point.

It is difference between the sanitized world of Superman vs. Alan Moore's Miracle Man series. It's not just killing, good or evil that gets white washed but even practical details such as basic physics. In issue #2 of Mircleman Mike Moran suffering from lost memories goes to the now grown Miracle Lad for help which results in a battle.  During the battle Miracle Lad throws a womans baby at super speed and Mircleman flys and catches the baby not realizing until he goes to hand the baby to the mother that impact of catching the baby at supersonic speeds left it broken and bloody.

It has nothing to do with setting but rather the sensibilities of the writer and how grounded they want their story to be.

Circling back to good Stars Wars vs new Star Wars you can see this to a lesser to degree in the Han Solo shooting Greedo scene.

Posted by RiddlingGambit

You'd think with so many superheroes around the fictional worlds they live in would be more peaceful. Instead, for every costumed superhero comes a dozen costumed supervillains. I'm starting to think most superheroes don't kill to protect their job. I could see Star Wars heroes killing without a problem just because the setting is so vast... any planet in any solar system within the galaxy basically. As to what gives them the right? Well, usually magic or money. 

Posted by The Impersonator

Superheroes are heroes who wears costumes. Heroes are heroes who doesn't wear costumes. Same goes for supervillians and villians.
Posted by Metatron_Da_Don

dont Star WArs ppl all have telekinesis? Force Choke etc

Posted by Dr. Detfink

Wasn't Baron Blood a vampire though? 
 
As for super heroes that kill, well the problem is...when they continue to do so, that's kind of like an LA police officer who plays the card, "He was reaching for a weapon..." it only goes so far before you're just as bad as the villain. 
 
In the cases of Punisher and Moon Knight, they're NUTCASES. They're not heroes. NEVER were.

Posted by MadClawMannn

awesome

Posted by Ultimate JSA
@Silkcuts said:
"Great article, you are right, it is all about universe setting. :D "

what he said
Posted by Ferro Vida
@Dr. Detfink said:
"Wasn't Baron Blood a vampire though?   As for super heroes that kill, well the problem is...when they continue to do so, that's kind of like an LA police officer who plays the card, "He was reaching for a weapon..." it only goes so far before you're just as bad as the villain.   In the cases of Punisher and Moon Knight, they're NUTCASES. They're not heroes. NEVER were. "

So, you're saying that you disagree with the idea that the ends justifies the means? It doesn't matter if the end result is that they save people because they are killing other people in the process? I don't entirely agree or disagree with you (though Moon Knight has cleaned up his act a lot in that respect). There will always be circumstances that require extreme measures. A few years ago there was a man out in BC who was arrested for the murders of over forty women. When he was in custody he confessed to a cell mate that his only regret was not getting to an even fifty. Is there any chance to redeem someone like that? I don't really think so. You can lock them away from the rest of their lives, but how much of a life do they have at that point? 
 
Not every criminal deserves capital punishment. Some of them do. War criminals are killed when they are arrested (correction, when they lose they are killed. If they win the write the history books). The big difference between soldiers killing and people like the Punisher killing is that the soldiers are state-sanctioned. But we're both using analogies that only work for so long.
Posted by marvelunivers_deleteme

Darth Mauk Vs Deadpool

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