Superheroes and the truth about courage 1 comment


It’s a great time to be a geek. So great in fact that many non-geeks are converting.

It started with Bryan Singer’s X-Men and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man (they weren’t the first, but they were popular), and while I’m not a fan of where either of those very promising franchises ended up, you can’t deny that they began a trend. Marvel Studios wouldn’t be where they are today without them.

I love superheroes as much as the next geek, and I’m beyond excited for the new round of Marvel/DC movies coming out in the next few years. But sometimes I get concerned that we’re so focused on awe-inspiring, reality-shattering superpowers that we forget the value of plain ol’ courage.

All he does is shoot arrows

Hawkeye, SHIELD Agent Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), in Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Hawkeye, SHIELD Agent Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner), in Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron

I read an article the other day that ranked Marvel’s Avengers from 1 to 20. I think it was intended to be and ranking of power levels, but they put Black Widow (Natasha Romanov) very high up on the list. Not saying that she isn’t powerful. She can stand her ground with the toughest of them. It’s not her that concerned me. It’s her best buddy, Hawkeye, also known as Clint Barton.

They ranked him at 18 because, “all he does is shoot arrows.”

And I suppose that’s true. He does shoot arrows most of the time. But that’s his thing. Like Tony Stark’s tech, Hulk’s temper, Thor’s hammer, and Captain America’s shield. It’s what Hawkeye is known for. But the first thought I had in response to that ranking was that, yes, he shoots arrows, but that’s all he has.

Arrows are all he has against highly advanced technology, alien weaponry, monstrous strength, and artificial intelligence bent on destroying the entire world. He is entirely, completely, and utterly defenseless in comparison to his team mates, and he doesn’t once let any of that stop him from doing his job.

True courage

Hawkeye may not be a superhero, but he’s my hero.

That’s courage. Real courage. Knowing you’ll most likely lose but standing up to be counted anyway because it’s the right thing to do, because you have a responsibility.

Maybe others have unlimited resources at their disposal. Others might be taller, stronger, smarter. Even others might have natural talents and skills that you don’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fight for what you believe in.

Hawkeye, SHIELD Agent Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) in Marvel's The Avengers

Hawkeye, SHIELD Agent Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) in Marvel’s The Avengers

If you were to rank the Avengers on courage, Hawkeye would be in the top bracket. Not to say that the others are less noble, but for them, endangering themselves is a matter of principle. It takes courage to walk into battle when you’re protected by armors or powers, but what kind of courage does it take to willingly put yourself in danger, knowing that the only protection you have is your own wits?

That’s extraordinary. And that’s the kind of hero we should be celebrating.

Yes, celebrate the ones who have everything and choose to use it for good. But even more so, we should celebrate the ones born with nothing who work to achieve their goals and are still willing to put it all on the line for the sake of someone else.

Hawkeye may not be a superhero, but he’s my hero. His courage, his loyalty, his love for his friends and his family, his sense of humor and fairness make him someone to admire. Maybe none of that adds up to the power of a flying suit of armor, but those are qualities I can use in my own life, when flying suits of armor aren’t an option.

So rock on, Hawkeye. You’re at the top of my list, because the powers you have are priceless, rare, and eternal.

Have you got a favorite superhero? Why is he or she your favorite? 


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