Skip to main content

The 4 Superhero Archetypes: Which Is the Best Archenemy?

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

I'm not a writer; I'm not that good with grammar . . . honestly, I'm hardly literate, but I love comic books and want to talk about them.

Heroes always win. We see that in all comic books, movies, shows, etc. No matter how long it takes, the hero always finds a way to defeat his villain and save countless lives (or whatever). With that being said, the other day, somebody asked me: "If you were going to become a criminal, which defender of justice would you want to be squaring up against?" Immediately I said, "That's easy—" but I had to stop myself . . . this was going to take some thought.

Next, my friend says to me, "Obviously, I'd want to go up against Batman. He's got no powers; he's an easy pick." Which I replied hastily with, "Are you insane?!" Clearly, he had not yet considered the morals or ethics of the heroes.

When it comes to this specific topic, I feel the strong need to be HIGHLY strategic, and you need to break down the types of foes you will be declaring war on. In the comic book sense, you have roughly 4 categories of heroes to pick from. You have:

  1. Regular Crimefighters (No Powers); Ex: Green Arrow, Blue Beetle (T. Kord)
  2. Antihero Crimefighters; Example; Ex: Batman, Red Hood
  3. Regular Meta (With Powers); Ex: Superman, Spiderman
  4. Antihero Meta; Ex: John Constantine, Deadpool

In essence, you need to decide what type of @$$ whoopin' you are ready to regularly receive . . .


1. Regular Crimefighters

Let's start by differentiating between regular crimefighters (CF) and antihero crimefighters (ACF). Crimefighters are the on-the-streets individuals who aren't graced with the ability to fly, shoot lasers, or throw buildings. They need to rely heavily on cool gadgets, good intel, and most importantly, the capacity to throw a crippling punch. The difference between them is the methods by which they complete their goals.

Your regular CF will have a set of values that they fight to uphold and traditionally want to restore peace and justice with minimal force or altercation. If one of these heroes are compelled into engaging with you and your devious plot, you should expect a well-trained beating, with swift incapacitation and minimal damage to your person.

For instance, if you are planning on robbing a Seattle bank, unless you appear to pose a serious threat, you can probably expect a quick net-arrow to tie you up and then maybe receive a few strikes from the Emerald Archer to ensure that you're taken down. Plot vanquished. Just remember, they are very capable of beating the snot out of you IF they feel they need to.


2. Antihero Crime Fighters

Moving on, next is our antihero crimefighters. An antihero is the hero of a story who completes their objectives using untraditional means or who lacks conventional heroic attributes. They're the darker, grittier heroes you read about who don't mind a little bloodshed in their actions, as long as it saves lives, preserves justice, or gets them paid . . . ACFs have the same skills, resources, and goals as the CFs, with about 50% of the morals.

Say you are planning to make some ransom money by kidnapping a young Gotham City heir. You have it all planned out, and you meet your team at the rendezvous point. Odds are, due to their superior surveillance capabilities, the ACFs are probably already aware of your plan and are just waiting for you and your squad to show up. These heroes will use the black of night to make their shadowy presence known. They will most likely strike a little fear in your heart before beating the crap out of you. Once they pounce, there is almost no stopping what they are going to do to you.

Scroll to Continue

Where a fight with a typical CF will leave you like you just lost a professional boxing match; an encounter with an ACF is going to leave you like you just lost a fight with an angry bear. Whether with guns or fists, you will be left broken and bloody, surely with several shattered bones and puncture wounds. It will take months, if not years, to recuperate from these injuries.

Unless you are the next Bane or Joker, your appetite for crime will be stripped from you, and you'll live in fear for the rest of your life, hoping that you don't accidentally do something to attract their attention again. You'll ask yourself every day, "Was it worth it?"

Punisher MAX #6

Punisher MAX #6

3. Regular Metas

Now we have our metas. The shining example of what a superhero should be and how they should act. Never resting, while using their incredible powers and abilities to defend the innocent from harm. They are the bright light at the end of a dark tunnel that tells civilians, "everything will be okay."

You need to be careful with these. Meta Heroes can throw you through a wall just as quick as they can carry you off to prison. If you are going to go up against a meta, you are going to need to find ways to not be caught OR be able to swallow that pride and know when to surrender.

It's plain and simple: When you try to pirate a ship full of honest sailors and Aquaman holds you by your feet over a hungry shark, are you going to spit in his face or say you're sorry? You also need to consider that getting caught could bring you less harm than you expect. Assuming you aren't an extreme danger or threat to the people around you, if you get caught, metas can easily incapacitate you without much bodily harm.

If you are creating a ruckus in Metropolis, Superman doesn't need to crush you into dust to stop you. He could just pick you up and carry your shameful arse to the nearest police station . . . seems like you got off easy.


4. Antihero-Metas

Finally, we've got our antihero-metas. These guys are troublesome. Same levels of danger as a traditional meta, but with way less mental stability. These heroes usually plummet to the ranks of Antihero-meta when they've been corrupted by the dark forces they handle, or they've just seen so much horrible s#!% in their lives that it breaks their spirits, and they forget what exactly they were fighting for.

These heroes seem to mind their business or only take action if someone pisses them off. They are often too preoccupied with their various missions or ways-of-life to be bothered with petty crimes. If you ARE unfortunate enough to cross paths with an antihero-meta, I'd imagine it's going to hurt. Their methods are likely to be confused with that of the villains! Honestly, you could end up inside-out, floating down to hell...It'll probably be pretty unpleasant . . .

X of Swords

X of Swords

Which Archenemy Would You Choose?

So, after considering the types of foes we can go up against, I think making a regular meta my archenemy would be the best way to go. You may call me crazy, but you really have to consider how they operate. These heroes care for EVERYONE. It would be relatively simple to arrange a series of distractions for your adversary to buy yourself some time to pull off your crime.

Their powers indeed give them quite the edge, but with their moral standing, you aren't going home in a body bag or an ambulance. Like I said earlier, the heroes always end up winning, so why make it hurt more for yourself?

Choosing Your Archenemy

Related Articles