Superheroes are characters we all want to be. We want their powers and their perfectly color-coordinated costumes.
This is probably why so many of us flocked to the theaters last weekend to see “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
When it comes down to it, every superhero has something to admire. Iron Man has a wonderful sense of humor, even when times get tough. Black Widow is a talented dancer and fighter. Captain America is a patriot full of integrity (and he is also my unofficial husband).
Even outside of the Marvel Universe, there are heroes like Batman who chooses to use his wealth to defend his home.
Admittedly, there is something to admire about all superheroes. That’s what makes them “super,” after all.
However, there are under-appreciated characters who don’t get their fair share of memorabilia or attention in the mainstream media and who represent more realistic and diverse audiences. Here are just a few heroes, particularly from the Marvel Universe, who need more love:
Daredevil (Matt Murdock)
This masked maroon hero was most memorably portrayed in a film by Ben Affleck all the way back in 2003. He has gained popular culture attention again with the premiere of the Netflix series, “Daredevil,” featuring Charlie Cox as the lawyer-by-day, crime-fighter at night.
The fact this hero is blind has been praised as a great representation for a community that is often ignored in popular culture. Murdock was blinded as a child from an accident involving toxic waste. He then overcame this potential handicap by training his other senses to be stronger and developing a “sonar sense.”
Not only does this make him an inspiring character, but it also makes him realistic. His powers didn’t come by accident or from a curse or a magic rock. It developed as a result of a strong will to be better and overcome adversity.
Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
Arguably, Hawkeye is the most under-appreciated team member in the Avengers. His only portrayal has been by Jeremey Renner in the Marvel franchise films “The Avengers” and recently released “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
As a lover of the underdog, it’s been frustrating for me to watch Hawkeye get very little screen time in these movies. Honestly, it’s impressive to me that he doesn’t actually have any powers, yet still manages to kick villain butt with a crazy-good arrow shot.
I personally get self conscious being in a class with people smarter than me. Can you imagine what it would be like working alongside some of the world’s most beloved superheroes? Super intimidating.
Also worth noting: he used to be a circus carnie and, in some comic lines, he is hearing impaired. Hawkeye is rendered deaf by a sonic arrow and has to use hearing aids, which is just so awesome for children and adults alike who have never thought themselves to be “super” simply because they have a disability.
Professor X (Charles Xavier)
Professor X is the founder of the X-Men, a subspecies of humans known as “mutants.” Not only does he wield the power of telepathy and have the ability to control minds, but he also runs a private school for mutants and fights for their equality in the human world.
If this isn’t a metaphor for the way our society views people who don’t fit into hegemonic standards, I don’t know what is. Oh, and also, as the movie franchise “X-Men” makes clear, Professor X is a paraplegic, meaning he occupies a wheelchair due to a spinal injury.
But, what’s so great about this character is that we are not made to feel sorry for him, but rather to view him as a leader. He’s a super genius with a lot of empathy for people who need a community of support because they are different.
Storm (Ororo Munroe)
Awesome female superheroes are few and far between compared to all the men we see portrayed as crime-fighting heroes. We see even fewer female superheroes of color.
Storm was one of the first black comic book characters, and the first black female character to play a major or even minor role in either Marvel or DC Comics. As a part of the mutant X-Men, Storm represents marginalized minorities and, historically, women in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.
What’s so amazing about Storm is not only her unique weather-manipulation abilities, but also the fact she is a leader who still has to overcome her own fears and whose story-lines don’t only revolve around falling in love with a man.
Collegian A&E Writer Erica Grasmick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @E_Graz_.