The greatest and the most popular heroes in comics and pop culture who represent the average humans with burden and responsibility are Superman, Batman, Spider-man and Captain America. They all are iconic and have a sense of responsibility to protect the innocent and help the weak at all cost. But of all of them I always believed that Captain America is the greatest and purest of all three and in this write up I’ll try to prove it. Because even if you don’t like the character, Captain America has to be admired and respected for being the person that he is and doing what only he can do.
Big time props should go out to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby for creating a truly inspiring hero for all kids to see in December of 1940 with Captain America #1 from Timely Comics (which would later become Marvel). In that era a character in comic books actually punched Hitler was a big deal. He was most popular and enduring in those days as a pop culture icon.
Captain America is one of the few who rose from this disabled kid who lived for patriotism of his country. He read the propaganda and he bought into it all the way. So much that he agreed to be part of an experiment that would allow him to “serve” his country as a supersoldier and help win the war and then realized the lies within the propaganda. But that didn’t stop him from loving his country and trying to live up to the values of what got him there, even if his own country didn’t stand behind them.
Captain America is again better than Superman who was the first true comic-book superstar risen from the pages of Action Comics #1 in 1938. Superman started the trend that followed later and put him up high in the pantheon of our modern-day heroes.
Superman’s biggest flaw is that he represent everything good. No one can beat him and he’ll always win over the wrong. This is what gives the character the biggest flaws compared to Captain America. Cap despite being a Super Soldier he is still a man. Despite being a weak kid from Boston who became a Super Soldier and a symbol of peace and freedom still has to train everyday to stay this way. His suit makes him a target of all enemies. He is the most respected and recognizable hero in the Marvel Universe who inspires a nation and even other super-powered beings as well as powerful Gods from far off fabled lands.
He can’t fly at super speeds, survive direct hits from atomic missiles and lift buildings over his head with ease. He is a human being who shows the common man that each of us possesses all the superpowers we need to be heroes ourselves. For this reason I shall always believe that Cap is a better “pure” hero than Superman.
Another comparison is Batman who is just perfect. But he represents the darkness that Captain America can never embrace. Steve Rogers is not a rich kid like Bruce Wayne and whatever he has today is a result of his hard work and losses he suffered in the path. The two are very comparable when it comes to overall abilities, grit, determination and willpower. It’s anyone’s guess who really is the better (even though Cap is physically Batman’s superior). Both put their lives on the line against all comers and are usually the last ones left standing in battle. But that is where the comparison’s end. Batman uses fear, stealth, gadgets and his own plan regardless of what his teammates want also Batman is egoistic. Even Batman in the JLA/Avengers limited-series (2003-2004) steps back and is lead by, who else…Captain America!! Why? Because even he knew the Cap would do a better job than him. When it comes to pure RESPECT by his peers even Batman takes a back seat to Cap. This is why Cap is a much greater “pure” hero than even Batman.
Spidey is a true hero because the superhero life has never been easy for him. People always loved Cap (most of the time) and Superman. They’re recognized as heroes, supported by the government, and their battles are usually straight up right vs. wrong. Spider-man’s life, on the other hand, would be much better if he stopped being a hero. Being Spider-man has made his life hell and he sees no reward from it and is even recognized as a criminal, but he keeps doing it because it’s the right thing to do. Spider-man is a symbol for overcoming adversity, not giving up, and doing the right thing even when it hurts you. And this is everything needed to be a truly great “pure” hero. But truth be told, Spidey is this way because of Captain America. He looks up to Cap as the living, breathing and fighting symbol of freedom and wants to be just like him. That’s the big difference between the two; Cap is doing what he will always do in the face of adversity because he has too and everyone around him knows it and is inspired by it! And Spider-man is one of those many faces in the crowd looking at Cap for that inspiration. Even though Spidey is a “pure” hero in every sense of the word, Captain America IS the hero he’s trying to be.
Captain America is the symbol of hope in despair, light in darkness and yet everything wrong in the world that he stands against for. His morals, values make him what he is. He stood for vigilantes and masked superheroes in Civil War and ultimately took a bullet because he believed in his principles and his values didn’t allow him to take Tony Star’s side.
Steve Rogers truly deserves respect and is the purest and greatest Superheroes ever.