Just what makes a good hero? Not a popular hero, but a good hero. There have been many popular heroes or maybe anti-heroes. Examples of being popular are Wolverine, Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, Punisher, Wonder Woman, Hulk, and Green Lantern. Superman is the all-American boy scout. Batman is the Dark Knight Detective. Wonder Woman is an Amazonian princess. Spider-Man is a wise cracking do-gooder. Green Lantern is a galactic cop. Hulk is a mindless savage (classic hulk that is). Wolverine is "the best there is at what he does". The punisher, well, he kills.
Wolverine and Punisher are anti-heroes. They do what they do and it's not always the nicest thing they have done. I admit to being a fan of Wolverine. Not so much of the Punisher. Wolverine, in my opinion, used to be more interesting. He didn't know his own past and was searching for it. He was a killer initially but was trying to better himself and stop flying into his berserker rages. He went from a loner who needed no one to a friend and team mate who could be counted on. But it seems that he has morphed back into the "do what needs to be done" guy and has lost the search for humanity. I realize a character can't stand still and needs to change and be interesting, but it almost seems too easy to write him as a bad ass killer with no regard for repercussions. The Punisher o the other hand just does what he thinks is necessary. I feel for him and his origin. His family was killed in front of him and he just kind of lost it. I wouldn't mind him being in a miniseries that shows why he became the way he did. But keeping him around in a monthly series where at some point some hero or team should take him down for what he done just doesn't work for me. Why would heroes let this psychopath keep doing what he is doing? Why would they team up with him? I realize if people buy the comic then Marvel will keep making it. That's the way capitalism works, but logically I can't buy it (no pun intended). So, they are popular, but are they good?
Batman. Is Batman a good hero? He suffers from the death of his family. His parents were murdered right in front of him. He definitely has mental issues. He dresses as a bat and terrorizes the underbelly of Gotham City. He doesn't kill (well, he says he doesn't) unlike the Punisher. He has trained himself to fight crime with honed fighting and detective skills. He is just a normal human. He puts himself out into danger without special powers. So is he a good hero?
Wonder Woman has the powers and abilities of the Amazons from Paradise Island. She is probably the second strongest character hero in the DC Universe. She is idealistic. She fights for right. Wow, I don't have a lot to say about her. I find her boring a lot of the time.
Spider-Man, young Peter Parker, was bitten by a radioactive spider. Instead of getting a rash or dying, he gets the relative strength of a spider and can "stick" to walls. He definitely didn't start out on the right path. He was a picked on high school nerd who used his new powers selfishly. He made money with them and inadvertently allowed the murder of his uncle Ben. This made him realize "that with great power comes great responsibility". He turned it around and uses his abilities to defend and protect.
The Hulk is Bruce Banner, usually. He has had many forms. He has been a mindless brute, a super scientist, a mafia enforcer, a leader of others, and other things. When in control of his actions he doesn't necessarily lead the charge to protect others, but he doesn't shy away from people in need.
Green Lantern is a title. They are the wielders of a green ring which uses their own willpower to project light constructs to police sectors of space. The most famous Green Lantern is Hal Jordan of Earth. There are other Green Lanterns on Earth: John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner. They get their powers from the Guardians on the planet Oa.
Superman is from the planet Krypton. He rocketed as a baby to Earth as Krypton was exploding. He was raised as a normal Earthling (I love that word) by John and Martha Kent. He gets his powers from Earth sun. He is a living power battery converting the sun’s rays into the energy that powers him. He is the strongest hero in the DC Universe. He is there to help anyone for any reason. He almost sacrificed his entire life to save the Earth from Doomsday.
So from these descriptions who is a good hero? Well, I guess it a subjective question, but it's my blog. A good hero inspires. A good hero is willing to protect others no matter how dangerous. A good hero is willing to sacrifice. A good hero knows when to push the limit and when to stop.
So, in my opinion Superman, Wonder Woman, and Spider-man are good heroes through their actions. Batman and Green Lantern are heroes in a classic sense. The Hulk is a hero when he has to be. Wolverine had the chance to be more, but writers have almost made him a generic anti-hero. The punisher is repulsive and should be incarcerated.
Wow, this didn't go in the direction I had initially thought it would. Well, I look forward to seeing if I have caused any thoughts.