Marvel Comics and DC Comics; how similar are they really?
Since the beginning of time (okay not really the beginning of time, but for what feels like forever) there has been a constant argument of which is better: the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) or the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I am not here to push my own thoughts on this issue as I really like characters from both universes. However, I am here to name some characters that have some pretty similar characteristics.
These characteristics are hard to look over and may seem like a total rip off of each other. The “who came first” might weigh heavily on the copycat aspect of these comic book characters; but if Zuckerberg can straight up jack the idea of Snapchat and make it a “new feature” on Instagram, why can’t we have similar superheroes and villains?
So, let’s break down the history of these characters, shall we?
16. Electro (MCU) vs. Black Lightning (DECU)
I am starting with Electro and Black Lightning because all I know of Electro is that Jamie Foxx played him in The Amazing Spiderman 2 (2014). Let’s see why they are so similar.
Electro: Originally born Maxwell Dillon in Endicott, NY. His father was a struggling accountant, which caused them to move around a lot. Because of this, Max became a recluse and found it hard to make friends. Years later he married a woman name Norma Lynn who eventually left him because work as a lineman was more important than you know, being a good husband. At work a fellow lineman was knocked unconscious and Max was tasked with helping him. When he did, he got struck by a bolt of lightning, thus giving him powers.
Biggest Nemesis: Spider-Man
Black Lightning: Born as Jefferson Pierce, Black Lightning went on to be an Olympic decathlon star, and later became a teacher; eventually principal. In his teaching his days, he got into trouble and fought with this gang called “The 100” and while the fight ensued, a student by the name of Earl helped him. Earl later gets killed for helping Pierce. Unlike Electro, Pierce was born with his metahuman electrical powers that a mentor by the name of Peter Gambi helped him hone.
Black Lightning is one of the good guys who has received help from none other than Batman himself.
15. Black Cat (MCU) vs. Catwoman (DCEU)
Catwoman (2004); One of Halle Berry’s worst movies anyone? Right. Moving on…
Black Cat: Born as Felicia Hardy to Walter and Lydia Hardy, Felicia’s life was a charmed one. Her family was wealthy and lived in Queens, NY. Believing her father was a “travel salesman,” her mother told her that he died in a plane crash. She eventually found out that her father was actually a cat burglar. When Felicia was just a freshman at Empire State University, she was date raped by her boyfriend (what a horrible, disgusting thing to have happened; but clearly formed from real events). Obviously she was angered and horrified, so she vowed to kill the bastard. She later discovered that he was killed in a drunk driving accident. Disappointed by not being able to carry out her vengeance, she followed in her father’s footsteps; donning the “Black Cat” identity, she chose to do so because: cats have nine lives, land on their feet, and crossing black cats is bad luck.
Catwoman: Selina Kyle was born to parents Brian and Maria Kyle. Living a much less charmed life that her Marvel counterpart, she lived in the slums of Gotham City. Her mother committed suicide, her father died of alcohol poisoning. Selina lived on the streets and was a thief while her sister was sent to an orphanage. She was eventually caught at 13 years old and sent to an orphanage; which she also escaped. She grew up and became a prostitute by day; cat burglar by night. One evening she stole a valuable totem from a museum and was interrupted by a ninja (named Kai) who stole the item from her. She followed him to a warehouse, which turned out to be a secret martial arts academy. Kai tried to convince his sensei that she was just a thief, but the sensei took to her. Learning all she could, she saw Batman in costume one night dripping blood and figured if he can don a costume and be feared, so could she. Robbing a local store, she was stopped by security guards who gave her the nickname “Catwoman.”
14. Ant-Man (MCU) vs. Atom (DCEU)
Ant-Man: Has everyone seen the MCU movie starring Paul Rudd? If you haven’t, you should; really funny. Anyway, Ant-Man born Scott Lang was an electrical engineer who couldn’t afford for his family, so he of course turned to a life of crime. He was caught, sentenced to jail, left early on good behavior only to have his daughter become ill with a fatal heart condition. Lang sought help from a Dr. Erica Sondheim who had been kidnapped. To save her and her daughter, Lang broke into the house of Dr. Henry Pym (the first Ant-Man) and stole his technology. Feeling guilty, Lang turned himself in, but Pym basically gave him the blessing to keep the suit—but to use it for good.
Fun Fact: He also dated Jessica Jones (which is now a Netflix original series).
Atom: Also known as Ray Palmer (who can also be seen in the Arrow series on the CW), “Atom” was an atomic scientist who obvi was also a genius working on ways to reduce objects in size using white dwarf star matter. On an expedition, Palmer became trapped in an underground cave that collapsed. Having to choose between life or death, he improvised his escape. He used a piece of the star matter and turned it into a lens, which if focused the right way, could shrink him. Get it, they both shrink, haha (insert your eye rolls here, people).
13. Reptil (MCU) vs. Beast Boy (DCEU)
Reptil: Humberto Lopez recruited by Tigra (who we will get to as well), goes to Sparks, Nevada to find him; although reluctant because he was so young. So, how Lopez gets his powers— His parents were paleontologists (if you need a frame of reference, think Ross from Friends; which I have conveniently also written an article about) and out with them on a dig, he found some type of crystallized bone. This bone had some type of weird energy that allowed Lopez to take on abilities of different dinosaurs just by thinking about them (what?). He also has the skill of empathy with other reptilian creatures as well as dinosaurs.
Fun Fact: Was elected leader of the student Avengers Academy.
Beast Boy: Garfield Logan was son to biologists Mark and Marie Logan. They took him along to the African country of Upper Lamumba, where they were conducting genetic code research. In sad news, Garfield came down with a rare tropical disease that apparently only animals could survive. Professor Logan, obviously desperate, treated his son with an untested machine he originally developed to isolate the common bond shared between animals and humans. Garfield recovered; but with green skin. A few years later, Marie Logan was threatened by a deadly Black Mamba, and the innate desire to save momma dukes brought forth Gar’s powers.
12. Tigra (MCU) vs. Cheetah (DCEU)
Tigra: Greer Grant was a fool in love when attending the University of Chicago when she met a rookie policeman named Bill Nelson. They married and at his insistence, she dropped out of school (get it? Fool in love). Anyway, Bill ended up being killed in an off duty shooting leaving Greer all alone. She tried to find a job, but knew she was worth more than administrative duties. She ran into an old professor, Dr. Joanne Tumolo, who hired her as a lab assistant. After some time, the doc told her she’d been working on a private project to help women reach their full mental and physical potential. After overcoming a lack of funds, the project was performed and Greer emerged with superhuman physical and mental abilities. Then, after trying to help the doc who had been kidnapped by HYDRA agents, Tigra gets shot by an “alpha radiation” pistol. Dr. Tumolo offered to save her life but had to perform a ritual that turned her into one the “Cat People” and thus, Tigra was born.
Fun Fact: Tigra has worked with the Fantastic Four.
Cheetah: Priscilla Rich was born into a family of wealth. Considered to be a “lovely” and “sweet” debutante, her role as leader of the Junior League Committee, was a sham. She was actually super insecure. During a fundraiser to honor Wonder Woman, the crowd dismissed her and all eyes were on Wonder Woman (Diana Prince). Jealousy got the better of her and she used a magic lasso along with chains from prisons all over the world on Prince (which was kind of a show for the fundraiser). Obviously Prince escaped and Priscilla was left feeling bitter still. Looking at herself in the mirror in grave disappointment, she saw herself dressed as a cheetah who is basically deceitful and relentless. So, Cheetah decided to follow Prince and this guy Darling (who was Priscilla’s original date) to the 400 Club planning to murder her. Instead she decided to frame her for the money raised at the Junior League Committee. Cheetah keeps stirring up trouble with the likes of the Amazons and Queen Hippolyta (mother of Wonder Woman) but doesn’t win. Talk about a spoiled brat, am I right?
11. Hawkeye (MCU) vs. Green Arrow (DCEU)
I will preface this backstory with the fact that I am a huge fan of the show Arrow and Oliver Queen.
Hawkeye: Clint Barton and his older brother, Barney, were the targets of an abusive alcoholic father and good for nothing mother who didn’t care about the abuse. Justice was served when they both died in a drunk driving accident via good old dad. Clint and Barney were sent to an orphanage and escaped. Whilst on the run, they fell into the company of a traveling circus. Since they needed a place to sleep and food, they did odd jobs for the performers. Here is where two performers Swordsman and Trickshot saw Clint’s potential and taught him acrobatics, archery, and knife throwing. While doing an odd job, Clint overheard something about stolen money, saw Swordsman with a stack of cash, confronted him and realized his father figures were crooks. Swordsman offered him a cut to stay quiet; he doesn’t; Swordsman then beat him and left him for dead. Clint bolted, and Barney was furious at him for leaving. He returned because he felt guilty, but was still unappreciated.
Fun Fact: After Clint witnesses Iron Man stop a runaway ride, he becomes inspired to use his archery skills to fight crime. Good old Tony Stark to the rescue.
Green Arrow: Oliver Queen was a spoiled rich playboy who inherited millions after his parents died. He never gave much to society. After being pushed off a boat by one of his own employees, he was presumed dead and lost at sea. However, unknown to everyone, he survived and was lost on a deserted island. He had a talent for archery and used this to help him survive in the wild. While trying to retrieve water from a well, he found the abandoned settlement had the remains of killed villagers in the well (traumatic much?). Angered by this, he knew those responsible needed to be brought to justice. Later on, a plane comes by the island, Ollie tried to signal it, they shot at him; he took it down with his bow and arrow. He then got off the island when some drug smugglers mutinied and took over a cargo ship. Dressed in disguise he found the ones responsible for the villagers. Later on down the road, he loses his fortune and becomes darker and more in tune with the streets he protects (which is where the goatee in the comics and his famous look comes from).
10. Magneto (MCU) vs. Dr. Polaris (DCEU)
Magneto: Born Max Eisenhardt in the 1920s to a middle class Jewish family, struggled with discrimination during the Nazi’s rise to power. In the 1930s his family fled to Poland, but were eventually captured. His mother, father and sister were executed. He survived; possibly from his powers manifesting at an early age. Anyway, he was sent to an Auschwitz concentration camp, and was reunited with a girl he fell in love with during his school days, named Magda. They escaped when Auschwitz was liberated and got married. They had a daughter named Anya. One night, Magnus (Max) was attacked and lashed out with his powers (which hadn’t surfaced because an instance with scarlet fever as a child), only to come home and find his house set on fire, with his Anya trapped inside. Enraged at being unable to save her, he used his powers to kill everyone surrounding the house involved. His wife Magda insanely scared, fled to the mountains never seeing him again. He took on the new role of Erik Magnus Lensherr and went to Israel to help at a psychiatric hospital. This is where he met Professor Xavier.
Fun Fact: After fleeing to the woods, Magda gives birth to Magnus’ twins (spoiler alert): Pietro (aka Quicksilver) and Wanda (Scarlet Witch).
Dr. Polaris: Neal Emerson was abused as a child, which presumably turned him evil and turned him to the dark side. He dipped out from the United States for a year and came back to find he was an uncle (via his brother, John and sister-in-law, Katherine). He wasn’t around for his nephew, but was quite fond of him. He developed a fanatical desire for magnets and was convinced his exposure to magnetic fields gave him more energy. He designed a special costume and mask that unfortunately caused his evil side to emerge.
9. Scarlet Witch (MCU) vs. Zatanna (DCEU)
Scarlet Witch: Wanda Maximoff is the twin to Pietro (Quicksilver) and also believed to be the daughter of Magneto. Her mother Magda was terrified of what Magneto’s powers could do, so she fled to Mt. Wundagore and gave birth there. Due to the mystical energy of the mountain, it gave Wanda the ability to use magic (on top of what she could already do). Wanda and Pietro bounced around and fell into the care of a superhero named Whizzer. However, upon discovering they were not his, he brought them back to Wundagore. There they were fostered by Django and Marya Maximoff. When Wanda grew older she was sexually molested by a boy her age and forced to use her powers against him (good, I hope she made it hurt). The villagers, being the douche bags they were, blamed Wanda (ridiculous, am I right?) and burned the wagon that had Marya inside, thus killing her. They clubbed foster dad unconscious and Wanda and Pietro escaped. Brother Pietro grew very protective of her (claps for an awesome brother).
Fun Fact: Hawkeye basically becomes Scarlet Witch’s Avenger bestie.
Zatanna: Here we have a character nicknamed after their actual name. Born Zatanna Zatara, her parents were John and Sindella Zatara. Sindella was a member of the mystic tribe of sorcerers called the “Hidden Ones”. Zatanna inherited her mother’s magic and her father’s sense of heroism. Her mom dipped out a little later by faking her own death and rejoining her tribe. Her father was left to raise her, in which he taught her how to harness her abilities. She was later raised by strangers because an evil witch by the name of Allura cursed her preventing her from seeing her father. Zatanna got help from the Justice League of America (JLA) and was eventually able to relieve the curse. She became a long standing member of the JLA and fights against super villains and the likes of bad guys.
8. Namor (MCU) vs. Aquaman (DCEU)
Namor: Born the first hybrid between and an Atlantean and a human, was named Prince Namor – the Sub Mariner. His father was a Captain on an expedition to find a “Helmet of Power”, and the ship he traveled on, The Oracle, got stuck in ice. He used explosives to blow them apart unknowingly damaging the ancient city of Atlantis below. When Namor grew up, he came to hate the surface world; however, he did come across the human torch. When Nazis attacked his home, he joined Captain America to stop them. A little while later he came across a man named Destiny who used his mental powers to give Namor amnesia. He came across Johnny Storm in a homeless shelter who recognized him, threw him into the water to jog his memory (half human half Atlantean royalty, guys) and it worked! He returned to Atlantis to find it in ruins and naturally assumed it was humans. He waged war against the surface world and was defeated by the Fantastic Four. He sometime later found the new Atlantis.
Fun Fact: Namor briefly joined the Fantastic Four; he also joined Avengers and later on the X-Men.
Aquaman: Arthur Curry. Mother named Atlanna, also an Atlantean princess; his father’s name was Tom, a surface man and lighthouse keeper. During a terrible storm, Atlanna was washed up on shore and rescued from harm by Tom. They fell in love and had Arthur. Although his father never asked his mother of her origins, he knew Atlanna and Arthur were different. When Arthur was two years old, his father found him playing in a pool where he had been chillin for like an hour underwater. On her death bed, his mother tells both him and Tom of her origins; revealing to them both that she can live and breathe underwater, and communicate with all marine life. After Atlanna’s death, Arthur’s father became determined to train him physically and mentally. After pops passes, he went back to live underwater becoming the King of the Sea.
7. Quicksilver (MCU) vs. The Flash (DCEU)
Quicksilver: Born Pietro Maximoff, basically adopted child of gypsies Django and Marya Maximoff; twin brother to Wanda aka Scarlet Witch. Orphaned, Pietro and Wanda bounced around Eastern Europe because sister couldn’t handle her hex powers and people would become suspicious. Wanting to atone for past crimes, they joined the Avengers; although Quicksilver clashed often with Hawkeye. A little while later, he lost his powers and went back to his birthplace Wundagore Mountain and somehow not only regained his powers, but increased them. He could now not only move fast, but could fly short distances by vibrating his feet at high speeds.
Fun Fact: Exposure to the High Evolutionary’s Isotope E made it possible for him to reach supersonic speeds of up to Mach 5, about 3,805 mph.
The Flash: (I love Grant Gustin as Barry Allen on the CW’s The Flash. Just wanted to throw that in there). While Quicksilver was born with his abilities, Barry Allen was not. After his mother was killed when he was 11, and his father was tried for her murder, Barry dedicated his life to forensic science. He didn’t believe for a second it was his father’s doing. Years later, Barry became a police scientist for the Central City Police Department. Working one night in the lab next to a ton of chemicals, he was doused when they were struck by lightning. He thought things were moving slower than normal, but quickly realized he now had crazy speed. Avid comic book fan that he was, followed in the footsteps of Jay Garrick’s Flash of fighting crime.
6. Deadpool (MCU) vs. Deathstroke (DCEU)
Deadpool: “The Merc with a Mouth,” born Wade W. Wilson into a dysfunctional family in a small town in Ohio, ran away as a teen and skipped the country. He would change his identity whenever something went wrong, and while bouncing around, received military training for his efforts. He moved to Canada and was tasked with killing a man named Wade T. Wilson, but accidentally killed T.’s wife. T. fled and Wilson kept the “T” in his name as opposed to the “W” to honor the namesake’s dead wife. Later on he is diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer (talk about karma) and underwent an experiment in the Weapon-X program to give him healing properties. He survived the experiment but became highly mentally unbalanced.
We’ve seen Deadpool (haven’t we?); Ryan Reynolds was born to be this dude.
Fun Fact: There is a four issue limited series in where Deadpool kills the Marvel Universe.
Deathstroke: Born Slade Wilson, at the age of 16 he wanted to enlist in the US Army. He ran away from home and showed some dominant skills which not only landed him where he wanted, but he was also quickly moved up the ranks. He trained under his commanding office Captain Adelaide Kane and shortly after became romantically involved. After his first son was born, the Army asked him to be a part of a medical experiment that was said to be a defense against truth serum (later the revelation that it was a test to make metahuman super soldiers). Anyway, his body reacted violently and made him super aggressive. After calming himself down, he realized it did work and he now had enhanced speed, strength, etc.
5. Iron Man (MCU) vs. Batman (DCEU)
Iron Man: Tony Stark son of Howard Anthony Stark and Maria Stark was always a prodigy. He graduated at the age of 19 from MIT with a double masters in physics and engineering. When he was 21 years old his parents were tragically killed in a car accident. He inherited Stark Industries which mainly manufactured weapons for the military. During the war in Afghanistan, he was at one of his plants and injured himself on one of his own land mines. That lodged shrapnel into his heart. He was then captured by a war lord and threatened to make a doomsday weapon. The shrapnel beginning to enter his heart prompted him to create a suit of armor, and he escaped his imprisonment. Thus later becoming Iron Man.
Fun Fact: Founding member of the Avengers.
Batman: Bruce Wayne, son of Thomas and Martha Wayne, witnessed his parent’s death at very young age. They happened to be billionaires. Obviously traumatized, he was raised by his butler, Alfred Pennyworth. We know about Wayne Enterprises, we know he lives in Gotham City, and we know he vowed to avenge his parent’s deaths. He grew up to become a vigilante with a symbol of the bat to terrorize people. He dons his own costume and makes state of the art equipment to help aid him in his fight against crime.
4. Thor (MCU) vs. Superman (DCEU)
Thor: Son of Odin, the All-father of the Asguardian Gods, and the elder goddess Gaea. He was raised to be the God of Thunder and heir to his father’s throne. Thor commands lightning, thunder and all elements of a storm with his indestructible hammer, Mjolnir. This hammer helps him fly and channel the elements; basically making him an all-around bad ass. After all of this, he became a royal douchebag thinking he was hot shiz, and his dad was like “nah kid, to earth with you.” to teach him a lesson in humility. He learned his lesson after becoming a frail human and finally becomes a worthy god.
Fun Fact: In the comics, he lived on earth with an alter ego of a handicapped doctor named Donald Blake.
Superman: Unlike Thor, Superman was rocketed to earth as a baby (born Kal-El) due to his home planet Krypton in the midst of exploding. He was adopted by a nice farming family named Jonathan and Martha Kent. He was raised as a human and renamed Clark Kent. He works in Metropolis for the Daily Planet newspaper. As he aged, his powers became stronger; fueled by the Earth’s sun (did you see Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice? If you did, you get this tidbit; if you didn’t, I promise you, you didn’t miss much). By day, he is Clark Kent, normal human. But when the world needs him? Off come the glasses, and in comes the mighty superhuman with god-like abilities named Superman. Also: kryptonite can kill him.
3. Black Widow (MCU) vs. Black Canary (DCEU)
Black Widow: Born Natasha Romanov circa 1928, she was raised by a Russian soldier named Ivan. After enemy soldiers attacked where they were, she saved Ivan’s life by joining the Soviet government’s covert “Red Room” facility. During her stay there, she was technologically advanced giving her a long lifespan and prolonged youthful appearance. So, she’s this hardcore weapon at the disposal of the KGB implanted with false memories to keep her loyal. Her memories were that of a ballerina. – At least they gave her a beautiful background.
Fun Fact: Black Widow was trained by the Winter Soldier and they eventually became lovers.
Black Canary: Born Dinah Lance, mother was a vigilante and father was a cop. She was the only child. In the Golden Age comics, she was cursed by the Wizard and was given an uncontrollable, devastating sonic scream. She did train for years in the company of heroes and donned the Black Canary costume to fight crime as well.
2. Norman Osborn (MCU) vs. Joker (DCEU)
Norman Osborn: Wow is Norman jacked up. Okay, son of a wealthy businessman Amberson. He had a fairly normal childhood, until pops lost the family fortune after a failure of his startup company. He became a violent drunk, thus causing Norman to believe only the strong survive. Having this realization caused him to kill the family dog. Let that sink in. Why the dog, bro, why?? So anyway, Norman was scared of the dark and dad thought to overcome that, let’s lock him in an empty dark house. Because, why not? So in his dark house nightmare, Norman felt as if he were being chased by a green goblin-like creature. Again in his twisted mind, this made him think that darkness was better than the light. Skipping ahead, Norman attends Empire State University where he fell in love with a girl named Emily. Despite his hunger for wealth and power, they still married and had a child name Harold. Eventually, Norman forms Oscorp with an old science professor; then framed him to become sole proprietor of the company. With his old counterpart gone, he experimented to make a strength enhancing formula using employees as test subjects (real classy guy, huh?). He failed but then found his old partner’s notes. In the lab one night, the mixture turned bright green, exploded, and caused him to gain strength and more intelligence than he already had. Thus, his sanity becomes obsolete and he becomes the Green Goblin.
Fun Fact: Also known as the Iron Patriot.
Joker: Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. (I couldn’t resist the menacing laugh) The Prince of Darkness himself has no actual origin, he just exists. It is said that before his transformation he was known as the criminal “Red Hood”, who later fell into a vat of chemicals presenting him as the Joker we know today. So the most popular version: (via The Killing Joke), he is referenced as an engineer at a chemical plant. He quits his job to try his hand at stand-up comedy. This was an epic fail on his part. Desperate because he needed to support his pregnant wife, he succumbed to a life of crime, planning to break into his old plant. He became Red Hood; the inside man; the leader; in the midst of planning he received a call stating his wife and unborn child were dead. Devastated, he called off the heist, but is forced to stay. At the plant, security is increased, and when he tried to run away, the other criminals were shot and killed as he jumped over a rail into a vat of chemicals. He washed up on shore; when he discovers removing his hood left him with a chalk white face, green hair, and red lips. All of this drama causes a psychotic break and the birth of Joker is presented. With that said, it is hinted in The Killing Joke, by the psycho himself, that sometimes he remembers his past this way, sometimes that way. So basically we don’t really know.
1. Avengers (MCU) vs. Justice League of America (DCEU)
Let’s make this short and sweet since I believe most of the population is aware of these two dominant parts of the universes, yes?
Avengers: Founding members are as follows: Ant-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, and Captain America (inducted after Hulk left). Funnily enough, the only member I don’t really know much about (Wasp) was the member who came up with the name “Avengers” after Loki tricked Hulk into starting shiz to distract Thor; as one does. I mean Loki is the Asguardian god of Mischief, so seems legit.
Justice League of America: OG members: Martian Manhunter, the Flash (Barry Allen version), Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Superman, and Batman. These heroes first came together when they tried to repel the Appelliax alien invasion. Unsuccessful alone, they banded together. Then they were like, “Hey we work well together, let’s make this a thing, yeah?” and bam: Justice League.
Alright folks, we have reached the end. Hopefully you learned something new and enjoyed it in the process!