Who do you take to lead your superhero team: Superman or Batman?

Fruitbat

social justice witch
Validated User
Who makes for a better leader on a team of superheroes? By that I mean, if you have two otherwise identical teams of superheroes (that don't currently include Batman or Superman, i.e. whichever one you choose, you don't get the other one. this isn't a Morrison Big 7 situation where you get both on the team regardless of who you make the leader) and you must choose either Superman or Batman to join the team and lead them, which choice would ultimately result in the more effective team?
Superman. Not only is he a more inspiring figure, and a better lead-from-the-front leader; but as a superhero team, we're there to save people. He's our ace, he's the one that can handle the biggest threat to buy us the time we need, and we can just trust him to handle that.

Bonus question
: Same scenario/question, but for Iron Man and Captain America. Who do you take?
Captain America. Better leader, better team player. He's not a powerhouse, he's going to be down working with us, but he'll know where best to deploy us all to maximum effect.

Also, if any robots need to be choked out, he's our guy.
 

Coyote's Own

RPG.net's friendly neighborhood Nuwisha.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Bonus question: Same scenario/question, but for Iron Man and Captain America. Who do you take?
In the combined JLA/Avengers team Steve was chosen as team leader without a question.
Everyone including Bruce agreed.

And that was all the Leaguers and all Avengers.
 

Save-vs-DM

Knight of Stumptown
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I gotta go with Superman, and if I can pick any version, I go with All-Star Superman. In that version he is a comic book super genius. Plus I just think he’s a better leader.

Same goes for Captain America.

Here’s another choice: who do you pick to lead your team of Villains: Lex Luthor or General Zod?
 

Coyote's Own

RPG.net's friendly neighborhood Nuwisha.
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Here’s another choice: who do you pick to lead your team of Villains: Lex Luthor or General Zod?
Luthor will have a Joker on the team and make him piss outside of the tent.
He made these things work, as well as they can in the past.
 

rickjthree

Social Justice Sidekick
Validated User
Here’s another choice: who do you pick to lead your team of Villains: Lex Luthor or General Zod?
I have to admit that one of the Things I Want To Write for DC If I Ever Got The Chance is an Injustice League where Zod, not Luthor is running the show. In the Green Lantern books, Zod has been an amazing villain, not just as a physical threat, but as a tactical one as well. A real powerhouse Injustice League, with folks like Sinestro, Circe, Zoom, etc, would be terrifying to see.

Anyway, Lex has run the Injustice League/Secret Society/Legion of Doom multiple times and it's hardly ever worked out well for the group in the end. It usually works out well for Lex, but he's the guy who skates while Ocean Master and Captain Cold get thrown back in jail.
 

awesomeocalypse

Registered User
Validated User
Villain teamup leadership is tricky, because the smarter a villain is the more likely they have some devious plot to undermine their compatriots and claim all the power for themselves at a key moment. This applies if you have a supegenius like Luthor running the show, but even with someone like Zod who isn't really brilliant in that way he's going to have to contend with the fact that someone else on the supervillain team likely is, because DC's roster of villains is pretty heavy on brilliant mad scientist plotters. Either way the story likely ends with the smartest guy on the team walking away while everyone else gets fucked.

The most effective villain teams tend to be ones where the leader has both overpowering force and vast intelligence and where the various "team members" are all just clearly subservient to the one super boss, ala Darkseid and his servants or Thanos' Black Order or even Magneto with most incarnations of the brotherhood where he is both the most powerful and most intelligent person on the team (and even then often people like Mystique and Mastermind will end up betraying him). In any situation where "team powerhouse" and "team smart guy" are two separate individuals, or where multiple team members qualify for "team smart guy", on a villain team there is likely to be trouble and internal conflict (e.g. basically every single incarnation of the Sinister Six, many incarnations of the Legion of Doom, etc.)
 

awesomeocalypse

Registered User
Validated User
Also the whole "Batman beats up the mentally ill and poor" angle is a kinda silly dismissing of genre convention, akin to calling characters in a musical insane because they spontaneously burst into song for no reason all the time. Beating up muggers and other everyday thugs is just part of what a lot of superheroes do, and not at all unique to Batman--the friendly neighborhood Spider-man's roster is every bit as full of unhinged maniacs and street level goons as Batman's is, yet Bruce is the only one who ever gets called a monster for fighting his opponents. Its also very obviously not relevant to his worth as a leader or superhero team member, because he's been a part of many, many superhero teams without his basic superheroing becoming an issue (probably because lots of characters, e.g. green arrow and black canary, would be total hypocrites if they were to criticize Batman on that front).

His sporadic "countermeasures against teammates get turned against them by villains" plotlines is a more valid criticism of his leadership and value to a team, but not anymore so than the myriad times Superman gets mind controlled and kicks the shit out of the whole team before they barely stop him. No hero is totally immune to occasional plotlines where villains turn them or their plans against other heroes.
 

awesomeocalypse

Registered User
Validated User
As for my own overall answer, I think all things being equal, meaning the team doesn't have an obvious major void in either the powerhouse or brains department, I take Batman to lead. The team is going to be more effective at catching on to threats before they spiral out of control, they will be better at attacking enemies weaknesses and neutralizing their strengths, and they will have sweet gear and awesome headquarters and vehicle options befitting a world class superhero team.

I also pick Iron Man to lead. He brings a bit more power, decent tactics enhanced by first rate tech options, and similar resource advantages to Batman. Steve is definitely a better leader, but I don't think its by a massive enough margin to make up for all the other advantages Tony offers.
 

FrivYeti

Yeti On The Lam!
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Also the whole "Batman beats up the mentally ill and poor" angle is a kinda silly dismissing of genre convention, akin to calling characters in a musical insane because they spontaneously burst into song for no reason all the time. Beating up muggers and other everyday thugs is just part of what a lot of superheroes do, and not at all unique to Batman--the friendly neighborhood Spider-man's roster is every bit as full of unhinged maniacs and street level goons as Batman's is, yet Bruce is the only one who ever gets called a monster for fighting his opponents. Its also very obviously not relevant to his worth as a leader or superhero team member, because he's been a part of many, many superhero teams without his basic superheroing becoming an issue (probably because lots of characters, e.g. green arrow and black canary, would be total hypocrites if they were to criticize Batman on that front).
This is doubly true because it has been established in very great depth that Batman uses the vast majority of his wealth as Bruce Wayne helping the poor, up to and including giving jobs at Wayne Industries to ex-cons who no one else in Gotham will give a fair shake, and going out of his way to try and help rehabilitate various members of his rogues gallery that no one else trusts. Frequently, the goons that Batman is beating up are the very people he turns around and gives money to to get them back on their feet.
 
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