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A Guide to Superheroes for Parents Part 3

DC characters - The Justice League of America

Still with me? Great, onto DC

Now all of your most popular DC heroes can be grouped together as the Justice League of America: superman, batman, wonder woman, green lantern and green arrow (don’t confuse these two like I did for 6 months), the Flash and Aquaman are the key figures. Let’s find out more:

Batman

Hopefully this is a recap, if you don’t already know about Batman, well there’s no helping you!

Bruce Wayne is a rich philanthropist and owner of Wayne enterprises... I’m not sure what they do... He doesn’t have any superpowers... Yep, that’s right. He’s just a run of the mill vigilante in a bat costume. He has bat cave where he keeps his bat mobile and other bat stuff and lives in Gotham city.

Now the villains he comes up against are many but also very well known. You’ve got The Joker (he’s the freaky clown one), The Riddler (wears a green suit and tests Batman with riddles), The penguin (a short man who inexplicably uses an umbrella as a weapon), Mr Freeze (he wears a cryogenic suit and shoots an ice gun), Poison Ivy (has a deadly touch and can do mind control). These are just some of a group of villains known as the ‘rogues gallery’. As well as having lots of enemies Batman has friends (yep, that’s right, he’s not a recluse like the heroes we’ve already met) Alfred his butler helps him lead his double life, there’s Robin (actually there’s more than one Robin, one of which is a girl and one is his son...I know, mind blown right!), and Catwoman (though she could at times be in the nemesis category... it’s not a healthy relationship!)

In case you’ve missed the hype there’s a LEGO Batman film coming out on February 10th.

Superman

Superman is not as popular amongst the kids as he was when we were growing up. It’s rare to see a superman costume at the parties. Chances are you already know more about Superman than your kids do. That’s assuming you’ve held onto every bit of information you gleaned from watching TV reruns of Christopher Reeves every Christmas and Saturday night’s New Adventures of Superman (Dean Cain...) On the off chance that some important stuff has happened in your life since the early 90s that has pushed this essential trivia out of your head... then allow me to give you a quick summary.

His day persona name is Clark Kent a reported for the Daily Planet in Metropolis. Actually his real name is Kal-El. Clark Kent is the name his adoptive parents gave him when he arrived from outer space as a baby. He’s an alien, which is why he has a different skill set to the rest of us; he can fly, he’s really strong, really fast, has x-ray vision, can freeze stuff, he can withstand most attacks except...

Kryptonite!!!

It’s a shiny green mineral from his home planet that zaps his powers.

The biggest and most long standing villain he comes up against is Lex Luther, a meglomaniac. And I can’t talk about Superman without mentioning Lois Lane. It’s one of those complicated on again off again relationships but he’ll always go back to her, (to get what he wants and then wipe her memory before he has to show commitment).

Wonder Woman

Yes, we have got this far through the article before an iconic female superhero is talked about! There are a lot of female superheroes but they all the famous ones seem to be female versions of the male counterparts: Supergirl, Spiderwoman, Batwoman. If this bothers you check out these which will give you lots of great overlooked superheroes to teach your daughters about.

Princess Diana of Themyscira aka known to us as ‘Diana Prince’ aka Wonder Woman is a demigod and has trained as a warrior. Those pretty bracelets are actually very strong shields which can repel bullets. She carries a ‘lasso of truth’ (not a whip as I had thought), if you capture someone with it they can only tell the truth. (just in case you were thinking that lying to a warrior demigod was the way forward).

Her nemesis is Circe (I confess I had to look this up): I’ve never heard of her and it’s quite likely your kids won’t have either.

Random fact: The guy who invented Wonder Woman, William Moulton Marston also designed the first lie detector machine.

Green Lantern

Green lantern is a job not a person. :o To become green lantern you could try submitting your CV to Green Lantern Corps. If you get the job you’ll be given the ring! and it can do almost everything if you have enough will power. From conjuring up giant green stuff to transporting you across the galaxy you are limited only by your imagination. You also have to know how to charge the ring by chanting an oath:

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil's might,
Beware my power, Green Lantern's light!!!

Well that’s one version of it anyway.

A former green lantern, who got sacked for abuse of power, Sinestro will be your biggest nemesis. He has a yellow ring which is powered by fear instead of will.

Green Arrow

Real name: Oliver Queen (he’s another billionaire business man with a company named after himself).

How he became a superhero: he trained...

( Look, I’m not going to lie, he’s basically exactly the same as Hawkeye except he belongs to DC comics instead of Marvel) He has demonstrated the ability to shoot an arrow down the barrel of a gun, split a drop of water while it slowly leaves the tap etc. but can’t we all ;) oh and he wears a green suit... hmm.. and archer in a green suit...where have I heard of that before...

The Flash (♫ahhh... saviour of the universe)

Or is it just me that hears the Queen track in my head every time I hear his name…

The flash is a forensic scientist called Barry Allen. After lightening hit a shelf in his lab he became super-fast. Yes, he runs fast, but he can do everything else fast. If he snaps his fingers he can do it so fast the resulting sound is a sonic boom, and the power he gets from going fast means he can run up buildings (without using the stairs) or outrun time.

<spoiler alert if you’re watching the TV series> The reverse flash, Professor Eobard "Zoom" Thawne, is a 25th century sociopathic speedster who has travelled back in time. He wears a yellow flash suit. I was disappointed, as I’m sure you will be, to discover that a ‘reverse flash’ does not mean that he can only run backwards...

We’re nearly there... just one more...

Aquaman

King of Atlantis, lost underwater kingdom. You might be wondering why, if he is king in his own land is he hanging out in ours. Well his mother is an exiled queen forced to live amongst us and he has been raised as Arthur Curry. He’s super strong and fast. He can communicate telepathically, though he chooses mostly to talk to sea-life creatures who will come to his aid. He can, of course, also survive under water as well as on land.

Hi nemesis is Black Manta. He has enhanced strength and endurance as a result of some serum he took to cure autism. He has a suit that allows him to go deep underwater and survive. He designs and makes his own suit as well as various weapons in his attempts to seek revenge on Aquaman, who accidently killed his father... oops.

So, there you go superhero 101 training complete. You’re on your own from here on in...

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