The differences between Marvel and DC are in the weaknesses of their superheroes


Both Marvel and DC Comics have many unique weaknesses for their respective superheroes, but the style of weaknesses varies dramatically between companies — and DC’s method of limiting their heroes suggests that they cannot escape the Silver Age of Comics, no matter how hard they try. Since both companies use incredibly strong heroes, such as Captain Marvel and, of course, Superman, it is quite natural for screenwriters to impose strict restrictions on their abilities and find ways to completely cancel them. But in general, DC uses external weaknesses, and Marvel uses internal weaknesses — and that’s DC’s problem.

The 1940s were marked by the golden age of comics, when there were no established “rules” that superheroes had to follow. Thus, many of them were strikingly suppressed, for example, Alan Scott’s Green Lantern. The writers quickly realized that a hero who could achieve anything would be a pretty boring story, so Alan Scott’s “Green Lantern” ring could not affect any material made of wood. The DC editors didn’t know about it at the time, but it set an interesting precedent for their heroes in the future.

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The hero Shazam would immediately turn into Billy Batson if he ever uttered his name. Aquaman began to weaken after an hour of absence in the water (namely, in the salt water of the ocean). Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern could not affect any yellow object, Wonder Woman lost her powers even if her wrists were tied by a man, and the Martian Manhunter has a vulnerability to fire (which is sometimes psychosomatic in some interpretations. The best -known weakness of the superhero is Superman’s aversion to kryptonite, he weakens when the substance is nearby, and prolonged exposure leads to death. These are all external weaknesses in which the superhero loses his powers due to an element that does not originate from the strength or personality of the character.Perhaps sensing the trend, Marvel editors tried a different strategy.

Marvel characters’ weaknesses often stem from their personality and character flaws. While Tony Stark’s arc reactor is a physical weakness, his real weakness is his own ego, arrogance and self-destructive attitude. Spider-Man’s own guilt and selfish behavior often lead to disaster (for a vivid example, see the conclusion of the film “Spider-Man: Another Day”). Captain Marvel may be an analogue of the company’s Superman, but her anger, the “strong does the right thing” approach and inability to look to the future are the main weaknesses (all this is demonstrated in “Civil War II”).

Sometimes an external weakness can provoke an internal character flaw (the weakness of a Creature is not in exotic stones from outer space, but in its own self-esteem problems, aggravated by its inability to return to human form, for example). DC noticed the effectiveness of Marvel’s weaknesses and tried to erase their own; Aquaman no longer needs to be near water, and Wonder Woman’s Golden Age weakness has been completely removed. But the fact remains that Marvel’s weaknesses serve to make their characters human, even if they themselves are not, while DC Comics would prefer characters with exotic weaknesses that further distance the reader from the superhero.