Q&A #183: What is your favorite superhero comic book trope or cliche?

In Q & A, a weekly feature of Fantastic Fangirls, we ask our staff to tackle a simple question — then open the floor to comments.

What is your favorite superhero comic book trope or cliche?


Just about every superhero has a secret identity. They usually do it to protect their loved ones from being targeted or harmed. Or because they’re Batman and they don’t want people playing with their toys. Some secret identities work pretty well. But I love me a good bad secret identity. I mean, Spider-Man got Doctor Strange to cast a spell on the entire world to keep his secret identity safe, he was that made at it. “What? No, me and Spidey are just BFF. Now let me go disappear in the midst of this catastrophe so that he can show up and save the day.”

But really, the best bad secret identity is Clark Kent.

a panel from Superman

Yup, that’s Clark giving an impassioned resignation speech at the Daily Planet. So impassioned that he tore off his glasses to talk about Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Because he’s so obviously NOT Superman.


My worst enemy is my best friend. Magneto and Xavier. Harry shouting “Don’t hurt Peter!” after he’s made a deal with Doctor Octopus for Spider-Man is one of my favorite moments of Spider-Man 2 and that is the superhero film dearest to my heart. I find Lex Luthor more compelling in Smallville than other storylines because he’s Clark’s close friend. And I secretly want Iron Man 3 to be about the boy Tony went to high school with.

a still from the animated series Iron Man Armored Adventures

I never get tired of that story.


For me, the “Evil Twin” trope never gets old. I think all superheroes (or comic book characters for that matter), have a dark side. It’s part of what makes them so relatable.

an image of the Justice Team fighting dark versions of themselves

So what about you? What is your favorite superhero comic book trope or cliche?