A superhero is someone who possesses two general qualities:
a.) a commitment to upholding good, justice, and way of uprightness
b.) supernatural ability or abilities that enable him or her to perform extraordinary feats of heroism
The fine line that exists between superhero and supervillain can be compared to the difference between an ordinary hero and an ordinary villain. Time and time again, we see heroes like Captain America and his soldiers as a team fighting Hydra agents and all around the world. Both the Cap and the soldiers are heroes – the former just happens to be a super soldier with enhanced physical prowess, strength, indestructible shield, and a noble cause.
What separates a superhero from a supervillain is his or her moral code. While villains often don’t have ethics or conscience, these qualities shape a superhero’s character. They his drivers. A villain’s driver can include: self-gain, deriving satisfaction from harming innocents, and/or the love of power. Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of what motivates villains to do what they do – clearly, the range of villain types vary widely across multiple spectrums. Some are methodical, and others are insane. Some are clean, some are rough around the edges. Some prefer brute force, and others tend to use strategy to achieve their evil ends. But the common denominator is that they’re out to create mayhem, and a superhero is (thankfully) there to stand in their way of bringing destruction to lives and public property.
A superhero usually carries out his or her deeds without high regard to him or herself. While they fiercely will protect those around them whom they love and care deeply for, they will often put themselves on the line again and again to make sure the evil being perpetrated is stopped. It would seem the solemn words of Peter Parker’s uncle Ben is heard in the ear of every superhero who has ever stood in the face of evil and injustice: “With great power comes great responsibility”. Self-sacrifice is a quality praised by most. In the headlines, an Army soldier who throws himself into withering enemy fire to aid a fallen comrade is frequently seen being awarded a high honor from the President of the United States. For his bravery and disregard for himself, he is honored. The same goes with superheroes. They are heroes because they put others first. Superheroes would suffer in place of strangers because of their noble character, and this is what is at the core of a superhero.
Let’s consider Batman, Daredevil, Green Lantern, and Spiderman: what do all of these heroes have in common? Before donning the cape and cowl, Bruce Wayne was taking on thugs wearing a ski mask and gloves. Matt Murdock took to the streets similarly in a black mask covering just the top half of his head and face, wielding an old stolen police billy club as his weapon. Hal Jordan didn’t have any costume until his fateful encounter with the Ring. And Peter Parker earned side money facing opponents in a pro-wrestling ring, wearing a red ski mask and sweatpants. All these heroes started out with just a desire to do good, and when they were endowed with super abilities, they used them to carry out what was already in their character to begin with. A superhero is a person who has the heart of a hero and supernatural powers and/or abilities.