I was watching the Christopher Reeve Superman the other day, and there was a thought that came to me about whether or not Superman would have been Superman if he had stayed on Krypton. What if Krypton hadn’t exploded? What if Superman had grown up Kal-El instead of Clark Kent?
I know that this question kind of gets answered in the Justice League Unlimited Series episode “For the Man Who Has Everything” which is based on a story written by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. In the episode, Superman experiences a dream like state due to an alien entity that latches on to his chest. The alien causes him to give him what his heart truly wants, but on the outside the real Superman is catatonic.
The question of whether or not Batman would have become Batman if his parents hadn’t been killed is brought up in the Batman the Animated Series “Perchance to Dream” episode. Bruce Wayne, hypnotized by The Mad Hatter, awakens in a world where his parents are still alive, he’s engaged to Selina Kyle, and he never becomes Batman. It’s a pretty awesome episode, because of course A Batman shows up and Bruce Wayne confronts him.
There is also a glimpse of what Batman would have wanted in “For the Man Who Has Everything” where the alien latches on to him for a split second and he envisions that his father fought and won against the man in the alley.
But I think that I just wanted to put this question out to the internet, because this also brings up a long debate between myself and @stin on whether or not heroes have the choice to be heroes or whether they are born to the role. I think it’s different depending on the hero you are talking about. The world always needs a Batman, but there wouldn’t have been a Batman if Bruce Wayne hadn’t lost his parents. Superman changed the world but what if Krypton hadn’t of exploded? Would curiosity eventually get to the son of Jor-El and would he have visited Earth regardless?
Over a couple of martinis this is what @stin and myself came up with as to what the thesis statements would be for the JLA:
Superman- “Because I can.”
Batman- “Because I have to.”
Wonder Woman- “Because I was born to.”
Martian Manhunter- “Because I am the only one.”
The Flash- “Because I should.”
Aquaman- “Because I choose to.”
Green Lantern- “Because I was chosen.”
I, of course, don’t want to mention that none of this matters now, because the universe has rebooted so many times, that I’m not sure which Batman or Superman I’m dealing with.
DC Comics reminds me of the new PAC-MAN game for the X-Box or Play Station. When you get stuck in a corner and the ghosts are coming in around you, there are only so many times you can bomb them away so that PAC-MAN can go back to eating fruit, but eventually the ghosts get out of their cell and you might have to bomb them again.
So I am basing these thoughts on past DC stories, and awesome animated series that they were based on. It’s almost as though DC is now living in a Doctor Who universe. Which Doctor is your Doctor? Which version of Batman is your Batman? It’s come to a world where we all defend our own Batman, or Superman, or The Flash, and who created them, or voiced them, or who played them. My Flash may be the one written by Mark Waid, or my Batman is the voice of Kevin Conroy, and my Superman may always be Christopher Reeve.
So the question is; would these heroes have become heroes if the circumstances were different? Some heroes may never of had a choice, and some heroes might have been born to the role.
Thanks for Reading!