I think that American superheroes are dumb. The grand majority of them are able to defeat evil because of wacky mutant powers, or because they were born on other planets where all people just naturally had wacky mutant powers, or, in the case of a small few like Batman and Ironman, because they have used their ridiculous wealth to construct technological gizmos that give them similar abilities to the aforementioned wacky mutant powers. I much prefer the Asian brand of superhero, who can accomplish ridiculous feats through the application of immense skill. This is the essence of kung-fu: doing something so well and so often that the effects look miraculous to those with less skill. And so Asian "superheroes" can run up bamboo trees and have sword-fights in the branches, they can throw knives that curve around buildings to hit their targets, and they can flit from rooftop to rooftop in such a way that they look almost like they are flying. And a staple of the "kung-fu" - or more accurately named "wushu" or "wuxia" - movie is that the hero can defeat scads of bad guys using his martial abilities alone.
And I feel Biblically justified in my preference of Asian superheroes because the Scriptures themselves contain similar stories of martial acumen. In 2 Samuel 23, for instance, the "mighty men" of David are described. Listen to the descriptions of those three men that the Bible calls "the Three" of David:
These are the names of the mighty men whom David had: Josheb-basshebeth a Tahchemonite; he was chief of the three. He wielded his spear against eight hundred whom he killed at one time. (v. 8 )
And next to him among the three mighty men was Eleazar the son of Dodo, son of Ahohi. He was with David when they defied the Philistines who were gathered there for battle, and the men of Israel withdrew. He rose and struck down the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clung to the sword. And Yahweh brought about a great victory that day, and the men returned after him only to strip the slain. (vv. 9-10)
And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils, and the men fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and Yahweh worked a great victory. (vv. 11-12)
These guys were awesome! You could literally make a whole movie about the event recorded in verse 8 alone, and it would be a summer blockbuster to be sure! But notice this: that awesome scene that we have hinted at in verse 8 is all that we are ever told about it in the Bible. That's the kind of thing that people would read, and yet God chose to only make a one-verse mention of the whole story. Instead, He filled the whole of chapter 22 with some long poem; or maybe it's a song or something. I mean, we don't want to read a song! We want to read about superheroes!
That song in chapter 22 of 2 Samuel, though, is actually about the real Superhero. You see, those mighty men were nothing but tools in the hand of the true Hero. Verse 12 of chapter 23 shows the reality. There in the description of Shammah, the third of the Three, we are told, "But he took his stand in the midst of the plot and defended it and struck down the Philistines, and Yahweh worked a great victory." The same was also said back in verse 10 and the description of Eleazar's big victory. God doesn't spend a lot of time in the Bible describing human victories because He is the one that brings them about anyway. Therefore, He expends a lot space in His Word declaring just how awesome He is: He is the true Superhero!
Josheb-basshebeth (how's that for a potential name for baby boy?) may have struck down 800 men at once - a feat worthy of a good wushu movie - but, aside from being the one who actually gave Jo (can I call him Jo?) that victory, Yahweh once struck down 185,000 men in a single night (2 Kings 19:35). Oh yeah, and there's that time that He killed every single living thing on earth except for the eight people He saved (along with some animals) in a boat (that He designed).
So I want to end this essay on superheroes with some quotes from that "boring" chapter that I mentioned earlier that stand as a tribute to my favorite Superhero: the One who has already saved the day.
Yahweh is my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer, my God, my Rock, in whom I take refuge, my Shield, and the Horn of my salvation, my Stronghold and my Refuge, my Savior; you save me from violence. I call upon Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies. (vv. 2-4)
In my distress I called upon Yahweh; to my God I called. From His temple he heard my voice, and my cry came to His ears. Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked, because He was angry. Smoke went up from His nostrils, and devouring fire from His mouth; glowing coals flamed forth from Him. He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under His feet. He rode on a cherub and flew; He was seen on the wings of the wind. He made darkness around Him His canopy, thick clouds, a gathering of water. Out of the brightness before Him coals of fire flamed forth. Yahweh thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered His voice. And He sent out arrows and scattered them; lightning, and routed them. Then the channels of the sea were seen; the foundations of the world were laid bare, at the rebuke of Yahweh, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils. (vv. 7-16)
He rescued me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but Yahweh was my support. He brought me out into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. (vv.18-20)