The Superhero Sacrifice
With the abundance of superhero movies and TV series, it is easy to get caught up in the fantasy and glory. Even with modern superhero stories including the dark struggles they face, it still misses the full picture as the hero always wins at the end. They overcome their struggles and are victorious. We connect to the characters through the realism and get lost in them through the fantasy. What would happen if we brought more realism to these characters? These are the five reasons why you might change your mind about wanting super powers.
Privacy & Safety
As seen in a multitude of comics, superheroes hide their identity with a mask or in the case of Superman, a pair of glasses. It is necessary that they protect themselves as well as their family and friends. Eventually, they’ll slip up, and those they care about are forever in danger. Not only that, as soon as a hero loses their privacy, they will personally be at risk 24/7. There would be no chance of living a normal life after that.
What if they don’t slip up? They get to enjoy a life of paranoia. They must always act cautiously. Given the availability of global surveillance, even Google maps, going somewhere in costume marks them as a target. They must find ways to keep any followers off their trail, as though they were on the run.
Imagine going home in costume all the time. Someone will eventually notice.
Crime doesn’t wait. Similar to any other kind of emergency, such as a medical emergency, the protector needs to be available, regardless of who they are with or where they are.
It is easy to dismiss this for the reward of feeling heroic initially, but after some time, it will wear them down. Think of a parent of a newborn; they get no sleep. They eagerly welcome the toddler stage. Multiple interruptions get old.
Money vs. Being a Vigilante
Saving people is a wonderful thing, except when it starts costing money. So what are the options? Work for the government? They now tell the superhero what to do and when to do it. In other words, they own them.
Nobody should own a superhero unless it’s a toy that comes with attachments. Clark Kent worked as a reporter and did superhero work. He would leave when necessary for hero business and was a successful journalist. Though, most superheroes aren’t Clark Kent. Most jobs won’t let their employees leave whenever they feel the urge to fly.
Batman happens to be a millionaire, business owner, and vigilante. Less than 1% of the population fits that description. Assuming some interesting freak accident back story occurs, it is more likely to happen in the 99%. So get ready to start dodging the law, getting fired, or starting a Patreon page where you sell yourself to the masses.
An unquitable* job
The first day a superhero steps out to save someone is the first day on the job. The job becomes repetitive. As seen in Megamind, Metro Man grew tired of the game and decided to quit. He had to fake his death and then go into hiding. The other way to quit is actually to die.
While suddenly gaining superpowers sounds amazing, it causes everything to change. Before becoming superheroes, they had lives, hopes, and ambitions. Now everything they are is in this one identity. They don’t get to choose their path. All of their decisions throughout the day revolve around their superhero job. In a way, it’s similar to a chronic illness like irritable bowel syndrome where when the urge to go strikes, find a bathroom quickly.
There are many reasons to crave superpowers, but maybe you should wish it for a friend instead. Sacrificing your life for the greater good sounds appealing until you understand that you are giving up everything you care about for strangers.
*Notes: I might have made up a word in point 4, but you get my point.