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Fatally lame superhero: Coming soon to a beer pub near you.
Guest Writer

The most humorless of superheroes
by Neil Anderson

his better be important, Jimmy," says Superman, as he lands next to an excited Jimmy Olsen, who had called Superman using his signal-wristwatch reserved for special emergencies.

"It's awful, Superman! You've got to do something! You can't sit idly by! You've got to protect us!"

"Speak your mind, Jimmy," says Superman, rolling his eyes.

"The Notorious Fence-Straddling Genius is up to no good again! He's got a master plan to conquer the world ..."

"Say no more. I'm off." Superman strikes a disco pose as a necessary prelude to flying away.

"But ... he's offering cash incentives to all health-care professionals willing to move to the rust belt! And he's promising to forgive all Latin American foreign-aid debt!"

Superman's brow knits in the all-too-familiar perplexity that accompanies contemplation of the Notorious Fence-Straddling Genius's megalomaniacal – but in some features, humane and compassionate – plans for world domination.

He shakes his head. "Fence-Straddling Genius. I hate this guy."

Making blind men see: Jennifer Garner in "Daredevil."

The above account has absolutely nothing to do with the new movie based on the "Daredevil" comic book. The studio would have been better off had it made a movie based on Superman.

Daredevil has always been a fatally lame superhero.

Lawyers make lousy superheroes (I'm a lawyer and no one's ever told me I'm their hero). It would make sense, in a way, for a prosecutor to be a superhero, since prosecutors witness bad guys getting away all the time.

But a prosecutor as superhero raises concerns about prosecutorial misconduct and cavalier disregard for civil liberties. Mind you, I like Dirty Harry movies. The best part of those movies is when Harry gets chewed out by his pansy, bleeding-heart-liberal boss. But since superheroes have secret identities, you don't get those scenes in, say, "The Vigilante" (to name just one prosecutor-turned-superhero).

Daredevil, of course, is a defense lawyer, which is even worse because besides being ethically shaky, it's incredibly stupid. Bust 'em by night, defend 'em by day?

What society promulgates values that could possibly create a need for a masked adventurer of that sort? Kafka's "Amsterdam"? (By the way, does anyone know if there's ever been a torts-attorney-turned-superhero?)

In fairness to the movie "Daredevil," I have not seen it. But that's only appropriate, because Daredevil, if he existed, could not see this movie! He's blind! That's his schtick! Am I the only person who sees something odd about this? A blind superhero?

Admittedly, the situation is ripe for comedy, but it's an avenue that's gone largely unexploited by the many writers who have written "Daredevil" over the years.

Pourous defense: The studio would have been better off had it made a movie based on Superman.

The only example I can think of is a story written by the talented Frank Miller, in which Daredevil stole some documents from a mob boss and delivered them to the police, only to be condescendingly informed that the "documents" were in fact newspapers.

Generally speaking, though, Daredevil is the most humorless of superheroes.

And though I have a deep-seated belief in the efficacy of homoerotic vigilante justice, it is with a heavy heart that I recommend everyone wait to see this movie until it hits the beer pubs.

See more from Neil in our archives.

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