Supervirtues: 10 Virtues to Strive For, and Heroes Who Embody Them

Warning! Warning! This is a really long post! The author is a geek and got carried away and needs to practice two-part posts!

I hate New Year’s resolutions.

Perhaps “hate” is too strong a word. I just don’t hold with them, I suppose. I mean, I can appreciate the desire to improve oneself, and I can see the poetry in making oneself a new person with the new year. What I hate about them is how they work, or, rather, how they don’t work. They just feel so obligatory, and people make them without really intending to hold to them. It’s either something big and impossible, vague and imperceptible, or small and unnoticeable. And if one fails, eh, no biggie, it was just a New Year’s resolution, right? Nothing special, nothing serious. That’s not really improving oneself, that’s just going through the motions. Meanwhile, a genuine desire to improve does not need to wait for a special occasion, ya know?

If you want to improve yourself, then you should do so. Right now. Today. This instant. Waste no time. If you fail, try again. And keep trying. The only thing that can truly stop you from being a better person is you.

That’s what I believe.

Of course, that begs the question of what, exactly, we should be striving for. Or at least it did with me, as I considered this, and I was reminded of an experience I had several years ago in college.

As part of the subject of Ethics and Morality, our professor asked us what the most important human virtues were, in our opinion. A number of answers were thrown out, and we were asked to prioritize them, say, the top five most important. We did so, and he showed us the results of when a similar question was asked in a survey or something like that. The overlap was amazing, not only between our answers and the answers all these strangers had given, but how all these strangers, from all across the world, had given such similar answers as well.

It would seem that, across all of our borders, our lands, and our cultures, humanity shares some very basic values. We might disagree on exact priorities and practice, but we still share many human virtues. I find that to be encouraging.

In the spirit of this introspective discussion, I decided to make a list of virtues that I, personally, deem to be most important for us, especially myself, to strive for. An inspiring topic, I hope, but that, alone, would hardly be fun, right? So I decided to spice things up and challenge myself to find examples we can look to and learn from. Namely, comic book superheroes. 😉

I mean, who better to learn virtue from than heroes, right? And what are heroes for if not to learn from?

“We are the guardians of humanity, by every definition!”

This is, of course, not a comprehensive list of virtues, there are many still missing, and I hope you, my audience, can help me extend this list indefinitely. 🙂

And, it goes without saying, but this is just my personal opinion. I would love to hear yours as well.

Now, without further ado, I present… the Ten Supervirtues!

(insert dramatic fanfare and wild cheering, “thank you, thank you…”)

Let’s start things off right at the top. What is the single most important of human virtues? Well, many have differing opinions, but I say…

1. Integrity

Remember that survey I told you about, with the similar answers? It turns out, integrity was somewhere on pretty much everyone’s list of top five virtues. Hardly surprising. I mean, if you can’t trust someone… then you can’t trust them.

Just imagine of no one was honest, ever. If no promise was ever kept, no contract upheld, no bond unbroken, then there would be no human civilization. If we could not trust each other, we would be nothing more than animals. It is the glue that holds society together, a society that has survived countless evil men with power because, however evil they might have been, they were still bound by their word. It was the only way they could do business. I doubt it is coincidence that our society is in such trouble now, when lies and fraud and infidelity of every kind is running rampant.

I can’t think of a better example of integrity than what is arguably one of the greatest and earliest of all superheroes: Steve Rodgers, aka Captain America.

I dare you to name a better example. 😉

He keeps his promises, he speaks the truth as best he knows it, and he hold to his convictions no matter the cost. He is the most trusted and trustworthy figure in Marvel comics. That is why others follow him, because they trust him.

Even more, however, I choose Captain America to represent Integrity because he also provides an object lesson in the perils of forsaking it, even for a moment, once you have made it your foundation.

In the popular Civil War storyline (in the comics, not the movies), he is forced to go on the run and lead a resistance movement against the encroaching tyranny of the government, which wants to regulate superheroes, infringing on their human rights and endangering all of their loved ones. Tony Stark the Iron Man takes leadership of the government faction, the idea being to take control of the situation in order to forge a peaceful resolution. He and his partners, Mr. Fantastic and Hank Pym and the rest, make a huge number of mistakes, and they do a lot of wrong, but they manage to confront the Captain and his followers, and they ask for a chance to talk. They want to talk, they have ideas, they have a plan. Stark offers a hand in peace, looking for a compromise where everyone can win. Captain America extends his hand in return, agreeing to talk peacefully for five minutes, and everyone on Iron Man’s side cheers.

Except, it was a lie.

In this one instance, this one mistake of Captain America’s, to not listen, and even to sneak attack Iron Man with a device planted in his palm that shorts out the suit, is the equal of all the mistakes made by the other side put together. This is when the Civil War truly begins, when it could have ended, and the result is untold suffering and death. Even the Captain’s own death, eventually, could be dated from this moment where he broke his integrity.

Interestingly, the Civil War ends when he surrenders. Not because he was losing, but because, at a critical moment, he saw that he was winning “everything except the argument.” He questioned himself at last, and found himself wanting. Even broken, it drove him to do the most honorable thing he could.

2. Compassion

Compassion may well be my most favorite virtue. Without the ability to love, to care and put the needs of others before our own, we are nothing, hollow and empty and dead, and everyone suffers for its lack.

I especially like how it exemplifies how virtues work together within civilized society. Like bones and blood in the human body, Integrity is essential for society to exist, and Compassion is vital to its survival. One may limp on while losing the latter, but not for very long.

It is with the addition of Compassion to Integrity that obligations become loyalty, relations become family, and strangers become our fellow man.

Heroism, at its most basic, is a selfless act of helping others, independent of any reward or recognition, and the more dramatic examples tend to include risk. Thus, pretty much any superhero is an example of Compassion to some degree, even the awful ones. Thus, my quandary with this one: choosing a hero who not only exemplifies it, but does so especially more than others.

This might be why I couldn’t choose between two particular heroes. Or maybe it’s because they’re so similar to each other that they teach the same lesson: one does not need to be weak to be kind.

So, I chose a pair of tough guys: Logan the Wolverine and Ben Grimm the Thing.

The Fantastic Four is a group of pretty phenomenal heroes. The First Family of Marvel, so to speak, and, if I recall right, the first of Stan Lee’s endeavors to create a team of superheroes to compete with DC’s Justice League. He’s created plenty more of such groups since, but there’s nothing quite like your first. And, in competing with the larger-than-life League, the Fantastic Four are famous for their epic adventures as they traverse dimensions in time and space that boggle the mind to contemplate. Yet, amidst all of this wonder, right alongside the brilliance of Mr. Fantastic, the power of the Human Torch, and the skills of the Invisible Woman, there is Ben Grimm. He’s a normal, down-to-earth guy from New York, albeit one now made like an animated pile of rocks, and he grounds the team with his sensibility and his unshakeable loyalty. The Thing is nothing if not loyal.

He’s also quite the tragic figure. He was easily the most affected by that cosmic storm, his physical features altered so drastically that he barely resembles a human anymore. This traumatic change has been a source of pain for him ever since, even if it’s also the source of his super strength, which is on par with that of the Hulk. Yet, whatever his inner turmoil, he never fails to put others first.

I think my favorite moment of this, actually, comes at the climax of Civil War. The city of New York is thrown into chaos as heroes are fighting each other in the streets, and Ben has friends on both sides of that fight. Yet, as the battle rages, he can be found not in the middle of the fight, but on the street itself, down and ground level, protecting all the innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. Out of everything he could be doing in the middle of the crisis, he’s looking after the little guy.

Where everyone else was at each others’ throats, he was sheltering people from a storm of fire, with no regard for what would happen to him then or after.

Compassion.

As for the Wolverine, I don’t think there’s any more classic tough guy than him. While the Fantastic Four are off in whatever-world, the X-Men are constantly on the ground, in the middle of a fight. Even their very existence is a war just to live in peace. They are constantly putting their lives on the line for others, and the world still does not accept them. There’s always someone coming after them because they stand in the way of open warfare between mutants and the other humans. That is a hard way to live, let alone having done nothing to deserve it, and Logan’s life, especially, has been a long and traumatic, filled with pain and loss.

Small wonder he tends to keep people at a distance whenever he’s left to his own devices.

And yet, in the middle of all that, he may well be one of the most selfless of superheroes. Just glancing through the movies, he stops to give Rogue a lift inside his car after refusing to let her stowaway in the back, he goes after her when she tries to run away from school, he literally gives his life (or life force) to Rogue, he puts himself between his friends and danger all the time, he spurns Mystique’s advances when she impersonates Jean Grey, he chooses his bond with the X-Men over his quest for answers about his past, he later kills the woman he loves in order to save others and end her suffering, he constantly saves people unrelated to him, he suffers long, hard days in order to care for the Professor after his brain deteriorates, and, most of all, he eventually, finally, lays down his life in battle to save his daughter and her friends.

Greater compassion hath no man than that, and it seems to be the norm for these two.

The Thing and the Wolverine: heroes among heroes because of their hearts.

3. Wisdom

While I’ve just barely waxed eloquent about the importance of Integrity and Compassion, it should be noted that is very possible to have both of those and still be mind-numbingly stupid. I mean, how many times – how many times? – has it happened, where things have been going great for the good guys, and then some stupid, naïve, well-meaning idiot comes along and ruins everything in five seconds flat?

One needs to be able to stop and think things through on occasion, to approach the problem at hand with a certain degree of self-control. One needs to be able to restrain oneself, even one’s greatest virtues, to know when to stand firm and when to bend instead of break. Most of all, one needs to be able to see the facts as they truly are and understand what they mean. And not just in a limited sense, but as they fit in the big picture.

Thus, Wisdom.

There are at least two kinds of wisdom, I think. The kind that comes from experience, where we’ve learned for ourselves how things work, and the kind of simple, childlike understanding that cuts through the world’s complications to find the simplest explanation. The latter kind often needs experience to refine it, but that doesn’t make it wrong, and it may well circle back to a greater understanding of itself in due time.

In that spirit, I choose Wonder Woman, aka Diana Prince, as an example of this.

Throughout her history, Diana of Themyscira has always been one of the strongest superheroes out there, and especially one of the strongest women. She certainly exemplifies many of the virtues I chose for this list, not the least of them being her compassion, her kind, empathetic heart. But I think the greatest of her abilities is actually her understanding of the world, both as one who has been naïve and as one who has learned through experience.

There’s no greater example of that than the recent movie. She comes from a world where things are simple, and enters one that is more complex and very strange. She sees the good and the bad of humanity, and she sees them within the same people. When she stands at a crossroad, in a position to either judge or protect humanity as a whole, she chooses the latter. Right on the heels of a great, personal loss, exactly when it would be easiest to lose sight of the big picture, she chooses to rise above her anger and her pain. She sees, there is more to humanity.

Other examples of her wisdom are scattered all throughout the comics: when the villain Maxwell Lord took telepathic control of Superman, she chose to bend instead of break, making the hard, ugly choice to kill the enemy because there was no other way; later, in the 52 storyline, where she counsels someone in need even as she seeks her own inner peace after that choice and the resulting fallout;

4. Courage

If there is one downside to choosing to act wisely, it is sometimes forgetting to act immediately. There is such a thing as thinking too much and doing too little. And even when one knows what one must do, there is a difference between knowing and actually doing. Thus, to carry the weight of Wisdom, Compassion, and Integrity, we must have Courage.

Most people seem to think that being brave is the same as being fearless. I disagree with that. I believe there is no true courage without true fear and uncertainty. It’s easy to start a fight you know you’ll win, easily, that’s how people become bullies. It might even be easy, in a strange way, to start a fight you’ll know you’ll lose, since you know the outcome already and can go out in a blaze of glory. It’s more difficult to start a fight that you don’t know you can win but can’t afford to lose or give up on, and certainly can’t afford to avoid. And that’s only a more dramatic example.

Courage is not bound to violent conflict. It’s also the resolve to stand up, calmly, against the turmoils which saturate our lives. It is the quiet ability to take a hit and get up again with grace and dignity.

In the spirit of both of these, I choose, representing Courage, none other than what may be the single most famous sidekick in all of comic book history: Robin.

I’m thinking specifically of Dick Grayson. Tim Drake isn’t an entirely bad example either, but I will focus on Dick right now. 😉

When Robin was first introduced, he was, basically, the token kid in the superhero adventure, meant to lighten things up and appeal to the intended younger audience. Over the decades, however, he grew into so much more. We learned that he was originally an acrobat in the circus alongside his parents, until they were taken from him in terrible tragedy. Bruce Wayne, recognizing a soul in pain he well understood, took the orphaned boy into his home, and did his best to raise him. Soon enough, he was joining Bruce in the field, and Batman and Robin became as classic and Lois and Clark. In time, the boy grew up, went to college, stepped out of his mentor’s shadow as Nightwing, and continued fighting the good fight.

He is, in short, a man of great Courage. He swung through the air even when he was just a boy, and he’s been doing so ever since, without the benefit of wings. He felt the agony of losing his parents, and he lived his life. He was not driven the same way Batman was, and was not trained in a gazillion styles of fighting, yet he fought alongside him, and all the great legends of the DC universe, a force to be reckoned with as he faced down all the same menaces that gave nightmares to most children and adults. He rose from his past as a mature adult, and he stepped out on his own, independent of Batman, and when Batman, of all people, calls for help, he comes. He, the first Robin, set the bar for all the rest of Batman’s sidekicks and associates.

Courageous indeed is the first Robin.

5. Humility

You may notice, as we proceed through the rest of these Supervirtues, that each successive one is now geared especially towards tempering the previous one. As any virtue taken too far can become a vice, the idea is to balance out that peril with another virtue. And the danger of too much Courage, I think, is rather well known: we become brash and reckless. We move too fast and take things too far. We become driven by our egos, and soon we find all of our virtues being choked and corroded from within, until even our courage becomes cowardice.

To balance that, I think, there is nothing better than Humility.

People often confuse Humility with self-abasement, or even submissiveness. I think, really, Humility is simply remembering our limits, remembering we can be wrong, and remembering our place. It’s not ours to make others be “better,” according to our limited definition of such, and certainly not by force. It’s not ours to rule one another, but to serve.

In that spirit, this may surprise some, but to represent Humility, I choose none other than Superman.

I can already hear the confused muttering and disagreements. I mean, come on, Superman? Him? Humble? Superman, who is one of the most powerful being in the entire DC universe? Superman, who walks through a hail of bullets without a care? Superman, who is a proud, preaching, sanctimonious symbol for the entire world, and cosmos, representing truth, justice, and the American way? The veritable god among men, humble?

Actually, yes, and for those exact reasons.

Superman, or Clark Kent/Kal-El, is powerful beyond belief, and he is absolutely certain his way is the right way. But what does he do with that power and certainty? Does he conquer the world? Does he dictate how people should live their lives? Does he take the law, and life and death, into his own hands? Does he lay waste to armies and demand the survivors worship him?

No. He does not.

(at least, not outside brainwashing and alternate apocalyptic timelines and such, but we are not counting those)

He doesn’t do any of those. He just serves. He flies around, saving countless lives. He does so in the open, for everyone to see, but he accepts no worship. He is mighty and almost invulnerable, but he has faced foes and power far greater, which have left him nearly dead. He generally stays out of the way unless there is some imminent danger. He knows he is no god, and he knows that power is not justice. Might does not make right.

Superman is nearly almighty, and yet he only protects and serves.

Humble, no?

6. Confidence

Out of all the virtues on this list, Confidence might be easily be the one I most struggle with, myself. It’s easily confused with pride, ego, and arrogance. Even in the best case, how many times are we warned against overconfidence?

And yet, we desire confidence, and admire those who have it. Confidence is easily one of the most attractive qualities in any person, and, contrary to popular opinion, it doesn’t require acting like a self-absorbed jerk. Also, it’s not the opposite of Humility, but the result of such.

Confidence is the fruits of Humility.

Many people make the mistake of pursuing Humility too far, to the point of self-abasement or even self-abuse. We become afraid of being too big, too good, too strong. That, as a wise person once said, is our greatest fear, and it is nonsense. To be humble is to understand oneself, and that is always left incomplete if it only includes one’s flaws. True Humility brings a knowledge of one’s strengths as well, and if one knows that, truly, with assurance, then how can one not have Confidence?

Humility tells us we are not above others, and Confidence is the knowledge that we are not below them either. We can walk as equals among everyone else, no matter how great or small they may be.

As such, I can think of no better example than he who just might be the single most famous of all superheroes, the Dark Knight himself: Bruce Wayne, the Batman.

For all that he is dazzlingly brilliant, obscenely wealthy, highly trained and well-equipped, and severely self-disciplined, driven by a powerful will which is rooted deep in compassion and sorrow, Batman remains a perfectly mortal human. The crème de la crème of the species, perhaps, but, still, a normal, mortal human, with human limits. He one of the least “powered” of all superheroes, yet also one of the most powerful.

He prowls the streets and alleys of Gotham, stopping muggings and robberies every night, yet he also protects the entire planet alongside godlike figures. He saves a cat from becoming roadkill; he matches wits and wills with madmen; he, possessing no superpowers, overcomes murderous freaks on a regular basis; he intimidates street thugs and professional hit men; he rescues street vagabonds in the same breath as he undermines alien invasions; he outwits and intimidates Lex Luthor, and drives even the mighty Darkseid into a corner without striking so much as a single blow; he stands in guardianship over a city, and a planet, and all of creation.

In short: Batman terrifies the wicked, and reassures the innocent, because he is the epitome of Confidence. He knows his strengths as well as his limits, and does not shrink from using them. He is the equal of any man or woman, and he knows it.

7. Discipline

Discipline is control.

When someone is disciplined by someone else, they are punished, they are controlled. When some is disciplined, they are in control of themselves. It takes practice and mental fortitude, sharpening the ability to focus and restrain oneself.

That’s why I chose Discipline to counter the downside of Confidence, because the former automatically restrain the swelling of the latter with objectivity. One can certainly remain Confident when one is in control of oneself, recalling one’s strengths and weaknesses and working to compensate for both. If Confidence is stepping forward, then Discipline tells us where to put our feet.

Meanwhile, overconfidence inevitably leads directly to a complete lack of self-control, especially when one realizes that one is no longer in control of any given situation. It takes self-control, and therefore discipline, to maintain one’s head when everything goes to Hell.

To represent Discipline, I’ve chosen the Immortal Iron Fist, Danny Rand.

The Iron Fist is a superhero that is somewhat famous in certain circles, and is certainly more so now, after his recent adventures on Netflix. He was not entirely well received, and I think that’s a bit of a shame, but I digress. I choose the Iron Fist for two reasons.

Firstly: he really is pretty disciplined.

I mean that in both ways: he was heavily disciplined by the monks of K’un-Lun, and he is self-disciplined as well. The latter did not always come through clearly on Netflix, but it was still visible. In other of his appearances in other media, like comics and cartoons, I recall he is often the most level-headed person in the room, calm and controlled, and drawing on ancient wisdom to guide himself and others.

That’s not so surprising, really. He lost his parents in a terrible incident, he was raised and trained by exceptionally harsh monks, he gained his superpower by facing a dragon – a dragon, people – unarmed, and he goes straight into danger to protect others. After all of that, even a fraction of which would unravel the sanity of most people, it’s safe to say he’s had plenty of practice in self-control. This comes through in his fighting style as well, which is very controlled and precise.

Second reason: he also illustrates the extreme of Discipline.

What I think of right now is in his Netflix series. It happens frequently, where Danny or another monk will begin to come apart with a swelling emotion, the calm sea turning turbulent and frightful for just a minute or two, until they regain control. They stop and reassert Discipline, grasping whatever they are feeling and shoving it down, throttling it and becoming calm again. Anyone can tell you how dangerous that behavior is, bottling up one’s emotions until they suddenly erupt, as Danny and others do.

Thus, my next virtue.

8. Humor

To apply oneself to a task, and complete it as quickly as possible, one must have Discipline. But it is very easy to become too controlling, both of oneself and others. A bow that is constantly strung tight will soon lose its spring, and become useless. One must be free to feel, occasionally without restraint, or one might break. One might even be broken already, and barely holding oneself together, and all it will take to shatter is one particular blow.

One must be controlled, but one must also be flexible.

And none are more flexible, or healthy, or happy, than he who can laugh.

Laughter is medicine for the soul. Laughter is the proof that life is worth living. And laughter is the relaxation of a tense mind and soul. To deal with the great problems of life, one needs a sense of humor.

And for Humor, I choose the Flash!

There have been plenty of “Flash” figures in DC Comics, including Barry Allen, Jay Garrick, and Wally West, but whoever dons the mantle of a speedster, especially the crimson one, they tend to be the funniest man in the room. Super speed just rather naturally lends itself to mischief, and what is mischief if not an excuse to laugh? That can easily be taken too far, of course, as many a mischief-maker has learned when their pranks went awry, but the Flash does not.

I think my personal favorite version of the Flash is from the DC Animated Universe. He was just so good at what he did, and he made everyone smile. He brings down baddies with a grin, tricking them and trapping them. He plays the part of the fool, concealing both his cunning and sacrifices. He cares about people (he’s a really strong candidate for the Compassion slot), knows everyone in his city by name, always gets the kids at a local orphanage something for Christmas, and he even semi-befriends some of his enemies. He is the heart and soul of the Justice League, the light that keeps their own darkness at bay. And he is more mature than people often gave him credit for, even capable of bearing terrible loss with sobriety and dignity.

All of this because he was flexible enough to laugh.

9. Faith

Speaking about flexibility, it must be said that one must know when and how to bend in order to avoid breaking, but also when to stand firm and unyielding. There are times when it is better to bend, and times when it is better to risk breaking instead, because sometimes it is better to fail than to compromise. The key to knowing the difference lies in knowing what you fight for, and staying true to your cause.

Thus, Faith.

The number of times that people have justified doing terrible things with sweet words of grand goals, they are beyond counting. The tragedy of a noble goal, corrupted beyond recognition by its most zealous adherents, it is a travesty, and it is where many of our villains come from. They make one compromise, and then they make another, and another, until it all goes so very, very wrong. And one day the person looking back at them in the mirror is no longer the servant of a cause, but a traitor to it.

What they say might be correct, but what they do will be very wrong.

The ends may sometimes justify the means, but the means must either dignify or undermine the ends. We must remember, always, what our goal is, because as mad as it may be to do terrible, counter-intuitive things in service to it, it may also seem mad to not do so, to not do “whatever it takes” to achieve our aim. In those hours of doubt and darkness, one must remember one’s guiding light. One must trust that the cause itself is worth staking everything on holding true to it, whether it meet with success or failure.

To which, I choose none other than Nick Fury to represent Faith.

Two men, very similar. One had faith in humanity. The other did not.

The only one on this list who doesn’t have a superhero alter-ego, Fury is famous, in certain circles, as the Director of SHIELD, and he is infamous for his scheming, conniving, double-dealing trickery. He is a most capable commander, well-acquainted with trouble and every method of dealing with it. He is sneaky, underhanded, capable of lying through his teeth, and guards a vast library of secrets. Oh, he does a great deal of “bending” indeed.

Yet he also stands firm. All the secrets he keeps, all the balls he has in the air, all the lies he tells, they are all geared towards a central purpose: protecting the freedom and security of innocent people all over the world. That purpose makes him a shifting shadow in some situations, and an immovable mountain in others. He quarantines Tony Stark when the man needs it, so he can save himself; he brings the Avengers together despite the frown of his superiors; he refuses to obey the order to nuke New York City so long as there’s a chance of victory; when Shield is revealed to be hopelessly corrupted by Hydra, he follows Captain America’s lead to out all of their secrets, to burn Hydra’s house down and destroy what he himself built.

My favorite moment for Nick Fury is in Winter Soldier, when his old friend, and revealed enemy, Alexander Pierce is trying to justify his actions and persuade Nick to his side. He tells Fury that they have the power to safeguard the entire world, if they simply strip the people of their freedom and slaughter the people who won’t bow down. A world of peace and order, if Fury has the courage to take that next step with him. To which Fury responds, “I have the courage not to.”

And that, right there, is my definition of Faith.

10. Balance

I’ve talked about a lot of virtues and what they mean, and it’s time to wrap this up with what may, in fact, be the most important of them all. Part of what makes each of the nine virtues I’ve listed so far so important is how they counteract the flaws found in the others. I’ve said it so many times in the last few minutes alone: any virtue taken too far becomes a vice. So don’t take it too far. And don’t stop just with what I’ve mentioned, pursue everything, all the virtues, as best you can. But above all, remember to keep yourself balanced.

Balance is that point between two extremes where one may stand and live for eternity. Balance is the combination of all virtues, to become whole and complete. Balance is having all of the above virtues and then some, to have everything functioning in harmony, culminating in the greatest of strengths.

Balance is essential.

And if you’re wondering what hero I could possibly pick to represent this, I choose what may be the single greatest and most famous of them all: Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man!

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can! 😀

Come on, you knew I’d have to mention him at some point. 😉

I choose Spidey for several reasons, foremost being that he strikes me as the single most well-balanced hero of all. His physical strengths, his mind, body, and heart, his performance under pressure and his record in battle, all of them are stellar.

And you want to talk about these Supervirtues?
Integrity? Check.
Compassion? Check.
Wisdom? Check.
Courage? Check.
Humility? Double check! (with great power comes great responsibility!)
Confidence? Check.
Discipline? Check.
Humor? Huge check! With an underline and a circle, with a thick highlighter!
Faith? Check!
Balance? Check (obviously).

There’s also how balanced Peter is as a person. He’s not a paragon of virtue, he makes mistakes all the time, and he learns from them. He takes responsibility, perhaps too much so at times. He has plenty of friends, but he’s a bit of a loner, possibly the only man who doesn’t really join any of the many superhero teams he’d be most welcome to. He’s a hero, but he’s also human, a common thread throughout Marvel, and represented by none better than him.

Conclusion

So, if you’ve read the last six thousand words, thank you, and I hope you enjoyed it!

What do you think? What are your favorite virtues? And who (superhero or not) do you think provides an example of them? Sound off in the comments below!

And Happy New Year! 😀

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