Seriously. You can click here to read the article about Master Legend and the many other members of the Justice Force. Reading the article, I wavered between being stunned, awed, and splitting my sides laughing. These guys have a super-heroic stance, special vehicles, and various gadgets to help them in their never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the protection of their local communities.
I guess it was bound to happen eventually. The new millennium has seen cloning, the supercomputer of the Internet, and even discussions about the potential for time travel and teleportation. Superheroes were bound to emerge at some point. And this isn’t just a fly-by-night fluke. This is a growing movement, according to another Times article on the rising surge of superheroism.
Of course, they sound a little crazy. And inspiring. And everything in between. These people actually put on masks and wander the streets searching for a crisis to solve.
And they even solve some! It might be as mundane as handing out bottles of water to strangers, as a random act of kindness. It might be as practical as raising money to help a struggling tenant keep his apartment. Or it might actually involve phoning up a police commissioner – or whoever answers the phone and will listen – to give a helpful crime tip. In the case of Master Legend, a police officer confirmed that he receives occasional contact from the mysterious hero, which has actually led to some arrests. Zowie! These superheroes are actually fighting crime! Take that, you bad guys, you!
Whether you feel the need to don a mask and cape – which I would not encourage most people to do – you can be a hero just like those “real” superheroes. All you have to do is step out of your comfort zone to help someone in need.
When I was a kid, I saw an inspiring film, “Hero at Large”, about a struggling New York actor, Steve Nichols (John Ritter). Always ready to help friends with acting job leads or memorizing lines, Steve’s own career seems destined for failure. His latest job involves dressing up as a superhero named Captain Avenger in order to promote a new movie. Engrossed in the role, Steve seems to be the only one who “gets” it. That whole idea of crusading for truth and justice, and “looking out for the little guy”, as he puts it.
Or maybe he’s just a little crazy.
In any case, this idealistic young guy buys some milk at a corner grocery store on his way home from work, when three kids try to rob the owner at gunpoint. Using his costume to surprise them, Steve confronts the small gang and frightens them off. Soon, headlines are filled with the local crime that was foiled by the true-life “Captain Avenger”.
Life gets crazy for Steve after that. He soon finds that the city of New York is hungry for a real-life hero, and they want him to do more. So he does.
But when some slick publicists discover his identity and urge him to start staging his acts of heroism to inspire the masses, Steve gives in to their pressure. A few random acts of phony heroism later, and Steve is exposed as a fake. No one takes any further interest in his belief that anyone can choose to be a hero.
Until the end. After Steve has effectively been run out of town, he passes by a burning building. Hearing that a child is still trapped inside, he races in from the rooftop, wearing his crimefighting suit once again. Police and firefighters watch and wait as “Captain Avenger” retrieves the child and drops her to the airbag below.
But before Steve can drop to safety himself, another explosion blasts from behind him, and he disappears from view.
A moment later, a construction worker witnessing the scene announces, “I’m going in!” Ordinary people rush in, one by one, to the dangerous blaze. A few minutes later, they finally emerge, carrying a hobbling “Captain Avenger” to the safety of the waiting crowd.
You don’t need a fancy name or a costume to be a real hero. You just need to step out when people need you. How often do we see a crime or emergency situation, and just drive past? In today’s society, it’s easier than ever before to call the authorities to come and help someone in trouble. How often do we see that a friend is hurting, but we’re too busy or too uncomfortable to give them a shoulder to lean on?
If more of us rescued one another from life’s everyday crises, perhaps fewer people would feel the need to wear capes.
Find more reviews of Hero at Large at amazon.com!
Thursday, April 30th, 2009