What makes a good super heros story? Discussion split from Superman & Lois Show

The best Superman stories concentrate on Clark Kent. The original Adventures of Superman did that – most of the episodes involved Kent dealing with the situation, and only showing up as Superman at the end.

Does this go for all superheroes or just Superman? How does Clark Kent deal with an Darkseid before Superman shows up?

That’s kind of my point, I should have said it better. TV/movie twins are either totally alike or totally different. Granted, my twin experience is limited to two sets, but neither was the polar opposite of the other. (One set, however, was identical guys whose parents named them Shawn and Sean, pronounced Shawn and Seen, of course.)

He doesn’t. He deals with life with a double identity. He deals with his relationship with Lois. He uses his skill as a reporter to uncover crime created by people who are smart enough to realize not to confront him directly.

Once Darkseid shows up, I’m not interested. Fight scenes are silly, boring and tedious to watch. The story is what happens between them.

It’s the same with other Superheroes. “Who would win in a fight?” is the bane of Superhero stories.

Um… yes, for most Superheros that is largely true - although I’m not a fan of their personal lines turning into soap operas.

The exception would be Superheros that have a detective aspect (in my opinion). Situations where they have to use intellect and cleverness as well as “powers” to solve the problem(s). Or where they have to work around a significant disability - in the case of Daredevil that’s a literal disability. Sure, he has his “radar sense” but he’s still truly blind. If someone says “push the red button” he has no way to know which button is red (this was lampshaded at least once in a Daredevil/Spiderman team up) Touch screens are not something he can use. A clock covered with glass is useless to him, which is most clocks. Everyone can see through a window except him. And so on. When he’s well-written how he deals with that can be as interesting as his relationship with Foggy Nelson, his law partner.

The Flash was interesting for years not because of his silly rogue’s gallery but because he had a married life. When well-written, Batman was interesting as a detective and not just a guy with a gadget for every eventuality in his utility belt.

The downside, of course, is that given the production schedule of comic books not every book or story is great, or well-written. Sturgeon’s Law.

And, of course, Clark Kent doesn’t deal with Darkseid - that’s why the world needs Superman.

I suspect “kryptonite” will be invoked at some point. Or that whoever these meta-humans are, none of them have the full suite of Kryptonian powers and/or have some sort of weakness or limitation.

I also liked the balance between small-scale human/family issues and big Superman problems.

I think the teen angst is at a level that makes the show interesting but doesn’t overwhelm it. It’s normal, but serious, teen angst (which in the case of Sarah gets very serious) which is being folded into the overall storyline. Yes, clearly Jordan and Sarah are going to be an “item”, but for once it’s the nerdy, dark-haired introvert getting a girl instead of the blond-haired blue-eyed jock.

I also think they’re doing a decent job of balancing sibling rivalry with the fact the twins do love and care for one another. They fight among themselves, but they’ll join ranks against a threat from outside the family. Jonathan doesn’t say he loves his brother, but his sacrifices for him show that he does. Which makes the apparent lack of relationship between Lois and her father glaring in contrast. Sure, there’s probably off-scene stuff, but I’d like to see those two interacting as family. Maybe dad getting pissed about moving the family to Smallville and arguing with his daughter about that, because clearly dad has some concerns about his daughter’s choice of husband. Maybe it will be Lois that tells her dad that Jordan is displaying powers and they thought dealing with this at a farm would be easier/better than doing so in Metropolis.

We’ll see.

I still remember getting frustrated by Overpowered Superman as a kid, and was excited when Spider-Man came along… “Hey, here’s a guy with problems!”

So I was pretty psyched as we walked out of the first Tobey McGuire Spider-Man movie. My kid turned to me and said “You’re just jazzed that it was pretty much The Peter Parker Movie.”

Smart kid. I loved the scenes with him trying to figure out his powers (c’mon, who didn’t smile at the cafeteria tray stuck to webbing? And his surprise at avoiding a bully’s punches). Much more intriguing than any fight scene.

I am totally unfamiliar with DC characters including Superman but what happens then? Does he call the police? Publish a story? Or does Superman capture them? Is there even a main police officer in Superman books?

I think you don’t get the audience for superhero stories. If you stripped out all the villains and have Clark Kent reporting on white collar crime while arguing with Lois about what kind of drapes to have in the living room, I think readership would die down in a hurry. People do indeed turn to comics to see who would win in a fight. This is a bit like how you don’t understand that Alien was a horror movie set in space, but you go on and on about how it’s a terrible scifi movie.

That may be true in some versions but the latest tv version(the only one I know) his vision is like looking thru a night vision scope, He sees everything, just in different colors. Foggy even gets a little pissed when he finds out.

I’ll pass on the Flash because I know nothing about him. However, Batman doing detective work did not stop him from beating the crap out of people all the time. Nor does his utility belt have much stiff in it, only 4 that I can think of. There is no bat shark repellent or bat jetpack or bat parachute.

That’s what I said. Reality Chuck said it was best when Clark Kent handled the stories. I wanted to know how he was handling it until Superman was needed.

Does this mean every superhero movie has to be an origin story so we can see people learning their powers over and over again? Because that would get old fast. We need less origin stories, I think the vast majority of the audience knows the origin story already. If you must have a origin in the movie, do it as a short flashback while the superhero does a voiceover description.

What Spider-Man needs is better writers who can actually write witty remarks for him to say while fighting, a staple of Spidey stories. Maybe actors who aren’t going thru puberty so they don’t have the screechy high pitched voice.

Ehhh… to me it was pretty plain that it still wasn’t real vision. At best, he’d be considered functionally “very low vision/highly impaired” even if not totally blind, as in “no light perception at all”. He still couldn’t pick “the red object” out of a collection of objects. He still can’t get anything from a flat screen. He still can’t see through windows. He’s still very much handicapped visually.

Hell, Batman used to shoot and kill people in the really old days.

And how much and what he has in the utility belt various a lot with the era, writer, and story. The point being he’s crazy-prepared for anything. Hell, he’s even known to have a stash of kryptonite in most continuities.

And the “bat parachute” is his cape, silly. Which sometimes is also the “bat hang-glider”.

Thanks to @What_Exit for splitting this out. I think it’s a topic worthy of separate discussion.

I think the Spider-Man movies illustrate what many of us mean are trying to say. This century we have seen three distinct Spider-Mans (Spider-Men?) with three different approaches to the character.

The Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies cast Tobey Maguire in the title role. As @digs has said, he made for a great Peter Parker. I wouldn’t be surprised if the casting director specifically looked for someone who could play Peter with the Spider-Man aspect being secondary. Still important, but secondary. The stories concentrated on how being Spidey impacted Peter’s life, juggling between home and school/work, love and friendship. These movies were quite successful, liked by both critics and fans.

The second set of movies (Amazing Spider-Man) had Andrew Garfield in the title role. He was a great Spider-Man, getting delivery of all the Spidey quips right, but fell completely flat as Peter Parker. Among other problems, he’s much too good-looking to be believable as Peter. I personally couldn’t tell you what Peter’s personal problems were, if he even had any problems. This set of movies were much more poorly received than the first set.

The third, current set of MCU Spider-Man movies has Tom Holland playing Spidey/Peter. Peter is back to being a high school kid, with high school problems as well as larger Spider-Man problems. Tom Holland is completely believable as an unsure high schooler as well as a Spider-Man not entirely comfortable with his powers nor the problems he’s being asked to confront. It’s the MCU, so of course the movies have made a bajillion dollars, but the movies work really well in and of themselves.

Superman will capture them and take them to jail.

I understand it’s a horror movie set in space. But I prefer my movies – horror included – to have intelligent characters trying to deal with a situation, not a bunch of idiots running around showing less intelligence than headless chickens. Alien is just a contrived excuse for jump scares . Trying to excuse it by calling it a horror movie is tantamount to saying all horror movies are stupid, too.

But for Superhero movies, the best deal with issues without fighting. I haven’t seen it, but people are raving about Wandavision. How many fight scenes does it show?

Just the one. It was resolved by not fighting.

Then Clark Kent will publish the story. Supes isn’t above a little self-promotion. :slightly_smiling_face:

(Lois: “Clark, it’s funny how you scoop me every time Superman shows up.”)

Not in the comics, but TV’s The Adventures of Superman starring George Reeves had Inspector Bill Henderson as a recurring character.


I’m glad I was unaware of this character. Sadly, like Thanos, he’ll be making an apprearance in the movie franchise. Another overpowered villian that can’t be stopped, until he can.

This to me sums up all the reasons I don’t read the comics:

While Darkseid is a deity and immortal, having lived for several hundred thousand years, he is not invincible and has been killed on several occasions.

Baron Munchausen: And that was only one of the many occasions on which I met my death, an experience which I don’t hesitate strongly to recommend.

I like what the MCU does, they make stories starring super heroes not ABOUT super heroes. They’ve obviously made plenty of normal super hero stories, but also heist movies starring super heroes, space adventures starring super heroes, spy thrillers starring super heroes, action comedies starring super heroes, all the way up to whatever Wandavision was. There are almost always guys and gals punching each other, but it’s all part of a grander story in a multitude of genres.

According to fandom.com, these are just some of the things he has carried in his utility belt. Note the second to last.

Batarangs: throwing weapons

Bat-Darts: tranquilizer darts


Bat Stungun:


Flash-Bang Grenades:

Tear-Gas Pellets:

EMP Grenade:

Acetylene Torch:

Bat-Cuffs: Bat-shaped handcuffs

Bat-Heater: A small bat-shaped tool used for heating objects or melting ice.

Batlight: A standard flashlight

Line Launcher: A device that shoots steel cables out from both sides.



Cryptographic Sequencer: Used to remotely access secure computer terminals

Collapsible Bat-Sword: A sword similar to lightsabers

Grapple Gun/Bat-Grapple: A projectile meant for use in scaling large surfaces.

Bat Bombs:

Lock Pick:

Master Bat-Key: A master skeleton key.

Night Vision Bat-Goggles: Infrared Goggles

Bat-Gas Mask: A mouth-covering utility that can filter out hazardous particles.


Thermite Grenades:

Evidence Bags: bags for carrying crime scene evidence.

Fingerprint Dusting Kit:

Bat-Tracer: Used as a tracking device

Communications Devices: An earbug or handheld system used for communication with others.

Cryo Capsules: Small pill-like capsules containing a cryonic acid

Explosive Gel Gun:

Energy Deflector:

First-Aid Kit:

Kryptonite Ring:


Micro-Cassette Recorder:

Micro-Processor Power Source:

Miniaturized Bat-Toolkit: A smaller, useful toolkit.

Miniaturized Smoke Grenades/Pellets:

Minicam and Recorder:

Oceanic Repellent Batsprays: A non-lethal chemical spray used to repel oceanic creatures, notably sharks.

Ultrasonic Bat-Beacon/Batcall: An electronic device that puts out high frequency calls to attract near-by bats.

So to you a good comic would have Clark driving around town questioning people for 24 pages and then turn up as Superman to capture people in the final panel. Again, you choose not to understand why people read comics. If this was such a popular idea, believe me the comic companies would be putting out Clark Kent or Bruce Wayne comics instead of Superman and Batman.

This shows you don’t understand horror movies either. Many horror movies are stupid, that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun to watch. Nobody watches a horror movie and think it will be up for an Oscar.

Wanda vision does indeed have fights in it. It ends with a spectacular fight between various characters. Not to mention the horror aspect of the whole town being mind controlled while at the same time being aware that it’s happening.

I’d wager that most of those were one time use, I wouldn’t be surprised if most Batman fans have ever heard of those. Usually it’s just batarang, smoke bombs, cuffs, bolo and that gun that magically shoots ropes all over Gotham.

He doesn’t understand Alien, either. His biggest “fault” with the movie is that Ash let Kane onboard instead of leaving him outside, or at least quaranteening him, thereby dooming them all to stupid horror movie deaths one by one. Completely forgetting that acquiring a xenomorph was Ash’s main job on board, crew expendable. “All other priorities rescinded”. It’s right there in plain text. It actually benefits the Company’s plan if everyone dies.

It works if the mystery is intriguing and cleverly wroght. Detective fiction manages to do it. And there’s nothing wrong with it being some super powered villain: it’s best when it doesn’t devolve into a fight scene. The key to Superman is to avoid fight scenes, but rather have a clever supervillain challenge him.

I don’t care about an Oscar-worthy performance, but I don’t want to see stupid people doing stupid things and especially people doing them for no other reason than set up random scares.

There’s no fun in being startled (since most modern horror movies are startling, not scary) and they’re too formulaic. Basically they are contemptuous of the audience. There are bad movies, but you seem to be saying that they are deliberately bad.

Alien aspires to be good, and shouldn’t get a pass because it’s horror.

The mind control is a smart way to do horror, and the show doesn’t have to have a fight scene in every episode to be good. Someone also pointed out here that the solution was avoiding a fight.

I prefer a superhero to outsmart the villain instead of punching him out. There were many flaws in Dr. Strange but it did have one of the best Marvel endings because Strange wins by being clever.

I feel the same way about ballet. It’s really great until they start in with all that dancing.

There are detective fiction comics? Other than one offs or limited series I can’t think of any popular ones.

Pretty much the entire comic reading universe disagrees with you. If those stories are so great where are all the issues of Clark Kent, Reporter At Large? Again, you don’t seem to understand why people read comic books. You may not like them but you are totally wrong on what the comic book readers want.

Why would you even watch a horror then? That’s exactly what most of them are. And really, as an adult you have been scared at a horror movie? I can’t imagine a horror movie that would actually scare me.

Again, you don’t understand horror movies. Alien was a good horror movie. Just because you don’t like something does not mean it’s bad.

I may have to let you have this one. Dr. Strange was the only marvel movie I skipped when I binge watched all the MCU movies last year. However, the fact that it had Bandersnatch in it makes me think the whole movie was probably bad. Just my opinion.

While Bill Henderson originated in radio’s The Adventure’s of Superman, and didn’t show up in the comics until a couple of decades later, he is actually also a character in the comics (he’s currently the Metropolis Police Commissioner).

More recently, Maggie Sawyer is a supporting character that has appeared in various Superman and Superman-adjacent properties - and she actually originated in the comics. Her prominence has risen and fallen a few times over the years; she was probably most prominent in the late '90s, when she was a major supporting character on Superman: The Animated Series.