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Although they are both superheroes who fight crime, Batman and Spider-Man are as different as chalk and cheese. While the former is a grim and brooding millionaire, the other is a wisecracking freelance photographer.

However they do have something in common; both are inventors par excellence.
Although Batman has no superpowers, he uses technology and ingenuity to defeat villains like the manic Joker and the cunning Catwoman. The Bat Suit is constructed out of impact-resistant graphite composite, fire-resistant Nomex and bullet proof Kevlar, making it strong enough to repel bullets and fire balls.

And so what if he can’t fly? Batman’s cape is designed to give him the ability to glide. The ‘ears’ on his mask are equipped with antennas and earpieces to amplify ambient sounds and enable communication with allies while his utility belt contains an array of gadgets including grappling hooks, ropes, cords and handcuffs.

On the other hand, thanks to a radioactive spider bite, Spider-Man has superpowers such as extraordinary strength, agility and ‘spider sense’. Spider-Man too has a number of gadgets to enhance his powers. These include spider webs used to swing from building to building, web shooters from which he slings the spider webs and the thermo-reactive foam dispensing Spider Balls (capable of destroying enemies).

Spider-Man is not as rich as Batman, which is why his suit was nothing to brag about in the beginning. In fact it needed frequent mending especially after a particularly long chase or fight. But during the Civil War storyline, another billionaire superhero – Iron Man – enabled Spider-Man to create a full fledged suit of armour. Decked in red and gold, it was bullet proof and came with a set of ‘tentacles’ which could latch on to surfaces and had built-in cameras which provided Spider-Man with an extra pair of eyes.

Both superheroes continue to evolve and reinvent themselves every few years; the fact that they will don new incarnations in forthcoming movies this summer is proof enough of this.

– Tariq Qadri

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on July 1, 2012.