With election season at an end, and another four years of an Obama presidency ensured, we thought it was time to take a look at another political showdown. Forget Obama versus Romney… we want to know if the American people would rather have Captain America or Lex Luthor as their President.
The clear favorite has gotta be Cap. After all, most people would rather live under the rule of an American hero than a supervillain. But is this question really as clear-cut as it seems? Let’s take a look at the fictional Presidencies of these comic book icons.
Created by: Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Origin story: A scrawny soldier takes a dose of a super-serum that transforms his physique almost instantly. Working with the Army, the Avengers, and S.H.I.E.L.D. over the years, Cap has tirelessly protected the American way of life.
Best Known For: Punching Hitler in the face, surviving being frozen in a glacier for two decades, opposing the Superhuman Registration Act.
Notable strengths: Great physical strength and agility, expert tactician, inspiring leader. Uses a shield made of vibranium in combat, which absorbs the energy of any attack directed at it.
Notable weaknesses: Can be shot with regular bullets. Easily manipulated by villains who threaten civilian lives. Arguably, too trusting of his own government (depending on who’s writing him.)
Term of Presidency: Considered a run back in the 1980s, but rejected the nomination. This past September, Cap was made President by a special election in Ultimate Comics Ultimates #16. But he won’t be sitting in the Oval Office: Cap will be in the field, rebuilding, reuniting, and reconnecting the American people.
Political leanings: Bleeding Cool notes that old-school Cap is a bit more liberal than the more conservative Ultimate Captain America. They describe him as “very much on the right” and “a little bit nutty, [like] Glenn Beck after a lifetime in the gym.”
Most badass moment as President: Cap’s only been President for about three issues now, so his true badassery is likely a bit down the line. However, accepting the position of President, and then immediately jumping into a fighter jet was pretty awesome.
Created by: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
Origin story: In the Golden Age, Lex was a super-genius with a dirigible and a love for instigating war and playing with robots, then got re-imagined in the 1980s as an evil corporate exec.
Best Known For: Being bald, or having a massive shock of red hair. Killing his own parents. Trying to kill Supes with Kryptonite every chance he gets. Created three Superman villains: Parasite, Bizarro, and Metallo.
Notable strengths: Genius with a penchant for advanced tech. Ridiculous amounts of wealth. Occasionally uses a robotic battle suit to fight and fly.
Notable weaknesses: Power mad, to the point of self-destruction. He once gave himself cancer because he refused to take off a ring made of kryptonite.
Term of Presidency: Luthor was elected as the nation’s 43rd President back in 2000, but lost power in 2004 after getting too arrogant during a battle and revealing his villainous intentions. He left the Presidency in disgrace, leaving his Vice President, Pete Ross, to pick up the pieces.
Political leanings: There have been a lot of great quips about Luthor’s character over the years, but my personal favorite is my friend Larry’s assessment of Lex’s time in the Oval Office– “President Luthor is a mix of all the worst aspects of Nixon, Donald Trump, and Mitt Romney.”
Most badass moment as President: Despicable as it was, it was pretty impressive that he was able to convince the entire country (and the JLA) to hunt down national heroes like Superman and Batman in the wake of the “kryptonite asteroid.”
Every American wants to have a President that makes them feel secure from foreign enemies. Surprisingly, both Lex and Cap have that ability.
Let’s start with Lex, who defeated the ultimate in foreign threats: aliens! In the Our Worlds At War storyline, President Lex is able to coordinate the Army, superheroes, and supervillains alike to defeat the alien Imperiex. It was an impressive victory, and scored him some major political clout. There was just one problem: Lex had known Imperiex was coming all along, and even used the situation to his benefit by making some shady deals with some bad guys.
As for Cap…well, for starters, he punched Adolf Hitler in the face. He’s a decorated war hero, thwarted would-be terrorists, and stopped anarchists in their tracks. He’s mostly been focusing on domestic issues since accepting the Presidency, but that’s to be expected given the fact that America is tearing itself apart in the Marvel Universe right now.
Given the amount of natural disasters and collateral damage the average American city sees in comic books, it’s important for a Marvel or DC President to take care of his citizens.
Lex’s first order of business upon taking office was to suggest a moratorium on the sale of fossil fuels, hoping to put “a flying car in every garage.” How great would it be to live in a country that was so dedicated to stopping global warming?
Lex was also responsible for rebuilding Gotham after the quake that destroyed the city. Of course, Lex had an ulterior motive: he used his participation in the rebuilding efforts to mask the fact that he was altering real estate records and putting most of the city’s property under his name. Despite his evil intentions, it’s arguable that rebuilding the city generated jobs and restored confidence in the economy.
Captain America’s term as President is still unfolding, and he has a lot of work ahead of him. Texas has seceded and wants to detonate a nuke, Sentinels are everywhere, and HYDRA is working with Thor’s son to destroy the US once and for all. He’s working hard, but he’s yet to make any real strides so far.
It’s clear: it would be way better to live under President Cap than President Lex. Sure, Lex did all the right things, but for all the wrong reasons. And really, would you trust a President that framed Bruce Wayne for murder? Let’s not forget that by the end of his time in office, he was dosed with Venom and went totally insane. The people’s choice is clear: Cap would be a way better President to live under.