Like the rest of the entire world, I went and saw The Dark Knight this weekend, and also like the rest of the entire world, I was impressed with this darker take on the Batman mythos. I’m all for having Heath Ledger win the Oscar, and my superhero-comic-loving-nerd-patrol side could gush for hours about the intensity of this movie. But my animal-protector soul had a serious problem with a few scenes. Batman beats dogs—who knew?? P’shaw! And to think we gave him a spot on our coveted Top 10 Animal-Friendly Superhero list!
While I love that The Dark Knight lived up to its name by exploring the noiresque Frank Miller-inspired themes of Gotham’s protector, they didn’t need to make Batman into a dogphobic man! Batman is an icon, a superhero genius that beats up gun-toting thugs using only his iron fist of justice—KA-POW! He looks damn good in pleather while owning the streets, yet in The Dark Knight, he was punching out dogs left and right. Sure, it was self-defense, but doesn’t the man with the James Bond gadgets know anything about peanut butter treats and deflecting devices?
Because of this serious misstep for what’s otherwise a masterpiece, we’ve decided to take all the write-in votes for Hellboy seriously, knock our batvocate pal off the list, and replace him with the kitten-cuddling man in red. Check out our NEW and improved list of the top 10 animal-friendly superheroes:
10. Hellboy—This superhero may be someone that would make you cross the street if he came your way (the red skin and horns might be a bit intimidating), but he’s just a big teddy bear with a love for kittens (and many successful attempts to save them).
9. Aquaman—The King of Atlantis, Aquaman can commune with sea creatures, whom he considers citizens of his ocean realm, and routinely protects them from being abused or exploited by the surface-dwellers.
8. Black Panther—As the leader of the African nation of Wakanda, the Black Panther has banned the evil White Gorilla Cult from his country. Members of the cult seek to gain power by killing one of Wakanda’s rare white gorillas, bathing in their blood, and eating their flesh (um, gross). The villain known as Man-Ape gained his superpowers by doing exactly that—incurring the wrath of the Black Panther and becoming one of his greatest foes.
7. Superman—In a one-shot “PSA comic” entitled “Superman: For the Animals,” Supes rescues a kitten from being thrown off a bridge by a group of kids named (seriously) Ballser, Charlie, Donuts, and Eightball and, in the process, teaches everyone a valuable lesson about not picking on anyone weaker than you—including animals.
6. Captain Planet—He just wants to save the planet from the evil Captain Pollution! And that, of course, includes all our wildlife friends who live there. Point of fact, though: “Heart”? NOT an element.
5. Thor—In the Ultimate Avengers animated movie, we find Thor out at sea with a group of activists protesting whale slaughter. If only his fellow Norwegians in the real world got the picture that whaling is a thing of the past!
4. Beast Boy—Everyone’s favorite Teen Titan also happens to be vegan (and not just because he’s been hanging out on peta2.com like pretty much every other teenager). You would be, too, if you had the metamorphic ability to turn into any animal and therefore had a little compassion for the ones that get eaten.
3. Animal Man—This lesser-known DC hero can mimic the abilities of animals and is an ardent advocate for animal rights. He’s a vegetarian, and in Animal Man #15, Animal Man saves a group of dolphins from cruel fishers and drops the villains in the ocean to drown—only to be saved by one of the very dolphins he was trying to kill.
2. Wolverine and Jean Grey—In X-Men Unlimited #44, Wolverine catches three neighborhood boys in the act of torturing and killing animals for kicks—and offers to return the favor on behalf of his furry friends. Using her psychic powers, Jean Grey instead makes the boys experience in their minds the pain and suffering that they caused to their innocent victims. In the next issue … Colonel Sanders!
1. Wonder Man—In Civil War: Frontline #5, part of Marvel’s epic Civil War story arc, Wonder Man is interrupted on his way to an important function by two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents looking for answers about a mysterious aquarium store bombing (read the book). The important function? A PETA banquet. ‘Nuff said.
Posted by Christine Doré