As I sat down to watch the fourth season premiere of Heroes: Volume 5, I was struck by all the reasons I keep coming back to give this show another chance. This season is about Redemption. When the show debuted a few years ago, my husband and I were glued to every episode. We would discuss, dissect and enjoy each and every episode as the characters were inexorably drawn into each others orbits. Peter Petrelli and HRG were definitely my favorites. Both were men with personal missions and convictions. HRG began creepy, but his love and support for daughter Claire humanized him.
Heroes appeal to the need in all of us to save others or to be saved. Peter is leading a heroic crusade to save the world. Noah points out to him that he keeps track of all the people he saves, he knows all their names, and he knows where they are and how they are. Most if not all of the people he has saved have no idea who he is. Peter likes his life, he likes his life simple where he can use his abilities along with his training as a nurse to be the best paramedic he can be.
The best heroes are the ones who are driven to a life of righting wrongs, saving others and fighting crime. These heroes are often representative of powerful arch types and possess a personal pain that hinders their ability to connect with others. Their method of connecting is to save others. They get an emotional boost, but reinforce their own isolation.
Heroes often seek the company of heroes because these are the only people who can understand their mission, their drive, their purpose or their isolation but another hero. In comics, television and the movies each hero’s journey is very personal. I think that’s why ‘heroes’ relunctant, borne or driven are all so appealing to the reader and to the writer.
Heroes of Earth and Sky
Superman seems like an easy hero to write for because he is so powerful, but it is that super power that makes him so difficult. Powers can actually hamper a writer because you don’t want to rely on them too much, but you can’t make your character super powerful and not use the powers. Powers need rules, heroes need villains and balance is vital to your character’s healthy development.
Some of my favorite heroes are those without any super powers at all. Batman, for example, is a fantastic example of the driven man, haunted by inner demons spurring him on to fight against the very crime that hurt others. Batman is a challenge to write because he embraces his fears and his darkness in order to save others.
In the television show, Peter has his own issues, he resents the actions of his family and the Company. He is a dreamer, he wants to save the world, but he is driven by his own inner demons. His empathic abilities to absorb other powers puts him in Superman’s league, but HRG who is driven by the desire to save the world from rogue powered beings relies on his wits and his skills, much like Batman. I really do love the darker heroes.
Which heroes are your favorite and why?