Superhero Ethics

10 Comic Book Heroes; 10 Ways to Save the World; Which One Do We Need Most Now?

Travis Smith

A survey of modern society shows our most trusted political and cultural institutions suffering gross abuses of power and breaches of ethical norms. A fresh scandal seems to arrive with each news cycle. Passions are inflamed. Prejudices stoked. Ideology warps the truth, and tribalism pits neighbor against neighbor. Our once reliable republic feels like it’s dissolving beneath our feet.

As the tumult escalates, the average citizen cries out for leadership, for someone to restore our faith in high ideals and to renew our belief in the greater good. That leader has yet to emerge, but suppose we could choose from the pantheon of popular superheroes? Who among them is best suited for the challenges we face today? Who among them is most worthy of our praise and emulation?

In Superhero Ethics, Travis Smith gives the answer. He judges the greatest superheroes on their moral worldview, on how they go about combating Evil and pursuing the Good. In each chapter, he pits two heroes against one another, judges them on their ethical code, and decides who is superior. At the end of the book, a single superhero is crowned the most virtuous of all, the hero our time demands, the leader we need today.

Introduction: Challenge of the Superheroes

Chapter 1: Hulk vs. Wolverine: ​​​The Best of the Beastly

Chapter 2: Green Lantern vs. Iron Man: Beacons of Imagination

Chapter 3: Batman vs. Spider-Man: Responsibility and the City

Chapter 4: Captain America vs. Mr. Fantastic: Ideals in Action

Chapter 5: Thor vs. Superman: Gods in a Longbox

Conclusion: Contestation of Champions