• Matthew Kaufman

The Justice League vs The Avengers: The Watchmen

"Who watches the Watchmen?"

- Watchmen (2009)

In both major comic book established universes, those of Marvel and DC Comics, there exists a “super team”. A united front of the various heroes of their own comic series, standing together to tackle the threats and problems that are larger than what any one of them could handle. In Marvel Comics, this team is the well known Avengers. They have been the star of a few small movies you may or may not have heard of. On the other side of the aisle, DC Comics has their answer in the form of the Justice League.

Both teams share a lot in common. Including it’s membership and the various heroes, there are often large similarities. Both teams have beings that are entirely larger than life while also sporting characters that are entirely human. The much beloved Iron Man character in the Avengers, is similar to Batman in a lot of ways. Both solve problems with their ingenuity, both are just human beings without any “real super powers”, and both fund their heroship by owning large companies. However, there is a large key difference between Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark, and it’s something that impacts both of their super groups.

Tony Stark, better known as Ironman, has seemingly unwavering faith in the Avengers and the opposite is true. There is a scene in one of the earlier Avengers’ movies where Thor has such large faith in the rest of the team that he even allows them all to attempt to raise his legendary Mjolnir hammer. This trust is paid in return as the Avengers held faith and allowed Tony Stark to be the one to perform the “reverse snap” responsible for bringing everyone back. Simply imagine the amount of trust you must have in another person to allow them to have near unlimited power in the form of the Infinity Gauntlet. While it is suggested that the other members of the Avengers were ready to step in and stop Tony had it gone awry, they were willing to trust him with that power. In this manner, Marvel Comics gives us the answer that “The Watchmen watch the Watchmen”. They show us that the Avengers are who watch over the Avengers.

In that fashion, DC Comics tells us a very different story. Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, has a very different stance towards his fellow super friends. Bruce Wayne, while befriending them all completely, is prepared for every situation and every outcome. He is a calculating individual who has already thought through every possible result. Even to the extent that he has prepared for the outcome such that his super friends, the Justice League, are no longer suitable to be their own “watchmen”. This is shown in the form of the “Agamenon Contingencies”. They are a series of detailed plans of what to do and ways that every member of the Justice League could be subdued, should the need arise. Whether it’s the invincible Superman, the impossible to catch Flash, or any of the other members, Batman has left behind a series of plans to bring each and every one of them down.

Detailed, thorough, and not requiring any specific skills or powers, these are plans that could be enacted by anyone. In this manner, Batman is leaving the ability to watch over the actions of the Justice League in the hands of the world they wish to save. All a normal person would really need to bring the Justice League to its knees would be the motivation and this series of plans. That even includes Batman. Bruce Wayne, even prepares for the possible outcome such that he himself must be brought to answer and gives out a list of his own weaknesses and ways to beat him, though leaving the comment to “Think carefully before you do this.”

So what does this tell us about our own lives? The last time I checked, we do not live in a world of super heroes nor do we need this level of thinking right? But there’s still something to be taken from this thought process. Take for example, if you were to institute a new policy of any kind. In most circumstances, that policy shouldn’t be taken or put in place in such a way that you wouldn’t want to be a recipient of that policy. If you’re, making a new rule that all of your co-workers will have to follow, ensure that it’s a policy you would never mind following yourself. In that manner, behave like Batman.

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