It seems like most superheros are either born that way (Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Ancient Mariner, for example), or are made into a superhero without their consent (Fantastic Four, Hulk, Green Lantern and Spiderman, for example). Many of the born superheros are outsiders living in human society and trying to make good (like the X-Men and the others I listed earlier).

I've found five exceptions, but, except for one, those seem created by outside influences:

  • Batman (but he has serious issues and it springs from the trauma of his parents' murder)
  • Ironman (but he had no choice to have to put the power source in his chest and it seems circumstances kept him going as a superhero)
  • M.A.N.T.I.S (from the TV series) (He makes the exo-skeleton on his own, but is still driven by a need for revenge on the bad guys)
  • Captain America (he volunteered for the experiment, but had no idea what it would do to him)
  • Green Arrow (who seems the only superhero by choice that I can find)

Other than the Green Arrow, are there any superheros that basically looked around, decided, "I want to do something to help, and I have the money or ability to do it!" ? Even the ones I listed above who made a choice to be a superhero seem to have been driving.

Are there any others besides Green Arrow who are superheros by choice?

(I'm not asking for a long list, so please don't get upset and say it's a list question. Just an example or two will prove to me Green Arrow isn't a fluke.)

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    I think you're wrong to dismiss Superman. He arrived on Earth with the super-abilities, but he chose to use them for good. He could have been the tyrant to end all tyrants.
    – Kyle Jones
    Jan 21, 2012 at 9:17
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    @KyleJones but he didn't choose to gain them.
    – AncientSwordRage
    Jan 21, 2012 at 9:40
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    I'm afraid this is a case of (like with one of my recent questions) where it clearly stated it's not asking for a list but people are MAKING it into a list by refusing to read. :( Jan 21, 2012 at 22:42
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    Just because you're not asking for the complete list doesn't make this not a list question. If anything, this makes the answers even less useful since they're guaranteed to be incomplete. As a rule, the answer to “is there any other example” questions is always yes anyway.
    – user56
    Jan 22, 2012 at 17:43
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    Wait, Bruce Wayne didn't choose to become Batman? Tony Stark didn't choose to become Iron Man? The devices of them becoming superheroes don't eliminate their choices. Bruce Wayne easily could have just accepted his parents' deaths. Tony Stark easily could have chose not to make the Iron Man armor. Even Captain America decided to use his abilities for good. As did Spider-Man, Superman, and wonder Woman. Just because they have the abilities or tools or motivation to be a superhero, that doesn't mean they had to become heroes.
    – Robert
    Feb 19, 2015 at 20:57

4 Answers 4


How about the heros in Watchmen? Doctor Manhattan is a traditional superhero, and I guess he falls into the "forced on them" category, but most of the heros are just normal humans.


Batgirl. Looking at the Wikipedia article there were many incarnations, but the Barbara Gordon one that I remember got started by intervening in a kidnapping. She kicked some kidnapper butt one night and decided that she liked it.


The Green Hornet seems to have been a choice although the origin stories are murky for some story lines.

Doctor Strange chose to learn the mystic arts.

There are a number of heroes that, like Batman, chose the superhero path for vengeance, such as The Punisher, Daredevil and Rorschach.

  • I remember a little of Doctor Strange from years ago, but had forgotten him. And didn't realize it was a choice for the Green Hornet. I'm still on the fence, on my end, about whether vengeance is a choice or an obsession that one can't control. I'd say that with Batman, it's definitely out of his control.
    – Tango
    Jan 22, 2012 at 6:12
  • For the most populat GH storyline, the TV one, Britt Reid's father was convicted of a crime. He dies in jail before being exhonerated, and young Britt's faith in the system dies, so he decides to provide a helping (green) hand. Mar 8, 2013 at 2:50

The three (deceased) Grasshoppers from the GLA continuity fit the bill:

The first is Doug Taggart

...an employee of Roxxon Oil who pines after fellow Roxxon researcher Cindy Shelton...Though it is never so stated, the implication is that Roxxon designed and built the gear which is the source of Grasshopper's powers.

Then there is Neil Shelton

Neil Shelton was a security guard for Roxxon who gained use of the Grasshopper suit some time after Doug Taggert's death.

The last is Unnamed, but the implication is that he/she also chose to be the Grasshopper.

  • If Batman is a "super"hero, then we need to clearly define "super." He has talent/skill developed by training/exercise, like many of the others mentioned. Maybe "powers" is what needs to be defined. :-)
    – WGroleau
    Oct 9, 2015 at 18:06

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