In the world of comic books (or anywhere else), it’s usually the underdog that somehow manages to stay right up there with the best of the heroes. For example, characters like the Batman are still called superheroes even though they have no super human (Meta human) powers whatsoever. They haven’t been born mutants, or bitten by radioactive bugs, nor are they aliens from dead planets or gods of any kind. These are simple guys, with more money and brains than most of us and have decide to do fight for truth, justice and all that. What is unique about these heroes is the fact that aside from skills, they rely quite a bit on technology and that’s the key in this day and age of modern marvels.
Here are a few of my comic book crime fighters that use high tech gadgetry to best their maniacal villains.
At the very top of my list is the ‘Bat-squad’ of course. The incomparable Batman and his various side kicks (as well as the ones who’ve moved on to make their own way in the world) rely on the very latest technological marvels that money can buy. From totally tricked out Bat-Mobiles to super computers that process more data on crime than NASA does on space and utility belts that hold more crime fighting equipment that CSI Miami’s whole lab, these guys are ready for anything. Of course there’ll be no arguing that the Bat-Mobile is by far the best bit of tech Batman owns. To quote Val Kilmer in Batman Forever – “It’s the car right? Chicks love the car.”
Team Batman images sourced from – http://nightwing1975.deviantart.com/
Bob Kane’s legendary comic book character has even managed to best Superman on many occasions with bits of Kryptonite infused technology. He matches his wits with some of the craziest villains in the DC comic book universe and somehow artists, writers, movie makers and others have always succeeded in throwing in a few interesting gadgets along the way to help the Dark Knight and his team fight crime.
The Bat Cave in all its glory
I especially like the new Bat-Suit in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. It’s been crafted to be almost exactly what Bruce Wayne would spend his money on with a cape that doubles up as a glider and folds away into his suite to his built in infra red/thermal sensing goggles that are outfitted into his cowl. Of course Tim Burton’s Batman in ‘Batman Returns’ has a Batrang with a display that allows the Batman to preset where thugs are standing and calculate the flight pattern so it can locate and clobber them but good.
When Tony Stark, inventor extraordinaire; devised an almost endless power supply to sustain his life, he also needed a way to free himself from terrorist who kidnapped him. His solution, a super powered exo-suit loaded to the hilt with tech. Of course, working with limited materials, his initial prototype was no more than chunks of metal welded together with guns and mini missile launchers and a flight pack added on.
An Exo Suit to envy
The suit was later modified into the sleeker, sexier and loaded to the hilt with gadgetry version that’s seen in the movies and the new comic books. It boosts his strength, offers all kinds of sensor and stealth technology, with fatal as well as non-fatal weaponry and let’s not forget it helps him fly at speeds some jet fighters reach. I even have a collector’s edition comic book where his jet boots short circuit so out pops a few wheels that still allow him to get around. With provisions for substance in remote areas (like outer space) and solar charging cells for life supports, as well as an AI that’s more advanced that Robocop, the Iron Man suit is just about the best comic book tech there is in the entertainment genre.
After Superman saved his life, Dr. John Henry Irons was a changed man. In the wake of Superman’s death, he believed it was then his responsibility to look after the people of Metropolis who were left without a hero. Possessing no superpowers whatsoever but being a weapons expert, he, like Tony Stark, built a suit of armor. Like the old African American folk hero whose name he bore, Irons designed and developed a sledgehammer that was more than just a tool to bang in a few heads.
Not as teched-out as Iron man, but it does the trick
He returned home to Washington DC and redesigned his suit to battle and withstand high tech weaponry that he himself created for a company called AmerTek. The weapons, called Toastmasters, were being used in gang wars and he took it upon himself to defend the innocent. Using his costume bearing the legendary ‘S’ symbol of Krypton like Superman, he was called the Man of Steel till Superman called him Steel, for short. Like Iron Man, his suit is also equipped with jet boots for flight and also boosts his strength a great deal. His sledgehammer is also a powerful weapon that features lethal and non lethal ammo firepower. You might say Steel is the DC version of Iron Man to quite an extent. I wonder who’d win in a battle.
Another of DC universe’s popular characters, Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow, was no more than a rich playboy who was suddenly thrust into situation where he had to fend for himself. While stranded on a desert island he was forced to hunt for food. He put to fashioned a crude but capable weapon, one of man’s oldest in fact, the Bow and Arrow to help him hunt and survive. He honed his skills while living on the island alone and began designing all kinds of additions to standard arrow for a multitude of purposes.
After managing to return to civilization and his wealth, he decided to put his new skills to use fighting crime. He’s not endowed with any super powers and in many stories proves to be quite morally ambiguous. His costume is designed to look like some sort of modern age Robin Hood but his quiver is loaded with all kinds of specially designed arrows. He relies primarily on his archery skills but does use a bit of technology once in awhile to aid him in his crime fighting duties.
The original Blue Beetle, Dan Garret, was a police officer who donned a bullet proof costume and mask to fight crime. He later passed the mantle on to his student Ted Kord who was the Blue Beetle of this century. An inventor and athlete, Kord used many gadgets and gizmos, like Batman, to fight crime. He’s never really been a mainstream superhero but pops up every now and then in a variety of interlinked DC stories. Aside from a utility belt he also built a flying craft in the shape of a Blue Beetle that houses all kinds of firepower as well as a crime lab. Something like a flying bat cave, of sorts. He was also in possession of a blue scarab which was a relic of an old alien civilization. It was initially thought to be magical but later on described as artificial intelligence of a superior race.
He's not as popular as the others, but is a hero nonetheless
The new Blue Beetle is a young boy named Jaime Reyes who found the Sacarab which became infused with his spine turning him into the Blue Beetle. He fights crime with the Teen Titans.
The Green Hornet and Kato
Britt Reid, aka the Green Hornet, and his side kick Kato have been a crime fighting duo for a long time. Although I don’t believe the 2011 movie did too much justice to the original TV series or radio broadcasts, it did showcase a fantastic amount of technology that could have been associated with the Green Hornet of the 21st century. The Hornet was noted for avoiding the use of lethal weaponry, like the Batman, and yes also had a tricked out car.
Kato seems like the real hero
Unlike Batman though, the Green Hornet somehow always ended up in trouble forcing his side kick Kato to leap into action and save the day. Kato was also his chauffer. The original Kato in the original TV series was played by the awesome Bruce Lee. In the latest movie featuring the character, his car proved to be a seriously hardcore contender to take on even the Bat mobile (not the Tumbler).
That’s my list. If there are other characters you may know of who use technology and not super powers to fight crime go ahead and post them below in our comments or follow the thread.