Is the Doctor a Superhero?

Guest contributor Simon Beresford takes a look.


Most people tend to think that in order to be a superhero, you need to have superpowers. This is not always true. There are many superheroes that do not possess what we typically consider to be superpowers. For example: super strength, speed, the ability to fly or become invisible etc. Some superheroes rely solely on other things such as, technologies, hand-to-and combat, cunning and intellect.

I am going to try to prove that the Doctor is in fact a bonafide superhero, by comparing him to superheroes that do not possess what we typically consider to be superpowers.

Batman/Bruce Wayne

batman-knight-vs-daleksThe first superhero I will be looking at is Batman (Bruce Wayne), one of the world’s most iconic and most loved superheroes.

Bruce Wayne was born a normal human boy (by normal, I mean without powers). As a young child, Bruce witnessed his parents murdered before his own eyes. Traumatized from this ordeal, Bruce lived out his childhood at Wayne Manor with loyal family Butler, Alfred. Bruce swore to rid the city of the evil that had taken his parents’ lives. He spent his young life training himself to intellectual and physical perfection, learning a variety of crime-fighting skills, including chemistry, criminology, forensics and various martial arts.

Just like Batman, the Doctor uses various techniques to defeat his foes, but does not rely on superpowers. Much like Batman, the Doctor uses cunning and intellect if he can. Hand-to-hand combat not so much, although has been known to on occasion particularly in his Third incarnation. He was also was well equipped with all manor of gadgets.

Iron Man/Tony Stark

cyber-iron-manThe second superhero to look at is Iron Man (Tony Stark). Again another iconic and well-loved superhero.

Tony Stark, was something of a child genius, joining an undergraduate program at MIT at the age of 15, where he majored in physics and electrical engineering. At 21, his parents were killed in a plane crash, and he inherited his father’s business, Stark Industries. Within a few years he managed to turn it into a multi-billion dollar industry complex whose main contracts were for advanced weaponry and munitions for the U.S. government. Whilst in Afghanistan, Stark was involved in an accident resulting in shrapnel being lodged in his chest, and was told that within a week the shrapnel would penetrate his heart and kill him. Stark designed and built an electrically powered suit of armour equipped with heavy offensive weaponry. The armour also contained a device that enabled Stark’s heart to continue beating after the shrapnel had entered it.

Similarly to Iron Man, the Doctor favours the use of technology to help defeat his enemies. The Sonic and the TARDIS both possess technologies far beyond our human capabilities. Also just like Stark, the Doctor is often to be found inventing and tinkering with Technologies.

Other Comparisons

Other superheroes without traditional superpowers include, Green Arrow, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Hawkeye. The list is endless.

As we know, many superheroes are also in fact aliens from far-off worlds. For example: Superman from Krypton, Thor from Asgard, Silver Surfer from Zenn-La, Captain Marvel from Hala, He-Man from Eternia. And of course there’s the Doctor from Gallifrey.

So what makes a superhero a superhero?

tennant-riddlerTo my mind a superhero is someone either born with extraordinary abilities, or has manufactured abilities and or weaponry, that they decide to use for the greater good. More often than not, in extraordinary circumstances. No one can deny that the Doctor saves the day in all manner of extraordinary circumstances.

Another aspect that defines a superhero is his enemies, or the villains. Every good superhero needs an arch-enemy. Superman has Lex Luther, Batman has the Joker, Thor has Loki, and so on. The Doctor has possibly more arch enemies than all of the above put together, including the Master, the Daleks, Cybermen, Davros etc.

Final Thoughts

I believe wholeheartedly that the the Doctor is in fact a superhero, an alien superhero at that. He comes from a far off planet, defeats his enemies through intellect, cunning, technology and very occasionally with hand to hand combat. He even has a costume that is constantly changing, but is still distinctly the Doctor. He also has a sidekick to aid him in his adventures and battles. I believe that the companions are the heroes, but the Doctor is the superhero.

So what do you think, is the Doctor a superhero? Please keep in mind that I do not claim to be an expert on all things superhero and am happy to see opposing opinions on the matter.