Sunday, July 05, 2015

Heroic Measures

Superman never made any money
from saving the world from Solomon Grundy
- Superman's Song - Crash Test Dummies
Have you priced a Fortress of Solitude lately? Even in less-than-hospitable locales like the the arctic, it's still real estate and they cost a pretty penny. A good deal more than you average beat reporter's salary for the Daily Planet. And how much do you suppose laying in a good year's supply of web fluid would run you? I'm guessing that freelance photographers from the Daily Bugle would have to sell a lot of pix of some awfully interesting characters to buy all the raw materials to whip that stuff up. And keep it a secret from your Aunt May? Doesn't seem likely.
Batman, on the other hand, seems all set up for the superhero lifestyle: great big house with just a loyal and paid manservant to keep things on the down low. A family fortune that provides seemingly endless capital for the production of gadgets and potions and vehicles for fighting crime. The kind of crime you find in dark alleys and mean streets, not in skyscrapers and boardrooms. We would all like to believe that Bruce Wayne made all his money in the most honorable and non-demeaning ways. Making money off the backs of the oppressed workers might end up with Wayne Enterprises having to lay off some of their less vital employees, leaving them to have to scrape by in the only way they can. Turning to a life of crime, perhaps? Full employment would obviously be the goal of Stark Industries in order to keep any potential bad guys from popping up as a result of the gripes of some disgruntled ex-employee. Heaven forbid that that disgruntled ex-employee turned out to be working on some disintegrator ray or indestructible robot army. As long as economics didn't play a part in it. Superhero-ing is a rich man's game. 
Unless you're Luke Cage. Mister Cage hails from Harlem, and was a gang member in his youth, committing petty crimes and getting into scrapes with the law. His best friend framed him for drug possession, and he was sent to prison, where he ended up being used for experiments that gave him his super powers. He escaped from prison with his newly created strength, and he sets himself up as Hero For Hire, working for whomever can meet his price. Doctor Doom solicited his services, and when he failed to pay up, Luke ended up palling around with the Fantastic Four. And before you know it, he's flying around in their jet and hanging around with all those other silver-spoon/surfer types. Luke, like Supes, could have broken into any bank in the United States. But he didn't. He just started looking for his own fortress of solitude. Probably on the Upper East Side. 

No comments: