I’ve realized that on a deep level I cannot connect to Superman as I myself am not necessarily an immigrant by common standards. Let me explain. Like many immigrants who had no choice but to migrate, Superman was thrust here by his parents, and upon landing became a “god” amongst men.
He, because of his alien heritage, had been gifted every advantage and had to struggle merely to fit in, versus just being who he is and standing out.
Here I am a Black, Native American, and Puerto Rican man who, by definition, can’t identify with being an immigrant. On the one hand, I was here already and my land was taken away. On the other hand, I was taken away from my homeland, and not with the promise of a better life. For the latter, I yet again had my land taken away from me. I am a citizen of a country that barely recognizes my people as one of its own. So immigrant, I am not, but I empathize. We all (especially now) share so much of the same emotions.
Back to the heroes. Batman, though born into wealth, had to work more than most other heroes to stand out. He’s one of the only (original) Justice League members without extraordinary abilities. He is by definition an ordinary man. He took what resources he had at his disposal and used them for his benefit but not purely for selfish means, well at least most would say. He trained himself in a number of disciplines, pushed his brain, body, and spirit beyond that of any mere mortal man. He, after all, is now walking amongst “gods.”
Clark holds almost every advantage in this universe. He can go beyond the means of man and harness the powers of our yellow sun for his life force, power, and more. Bruce, in turn, has the same except we see him as a billionaire white man, whose power is his privilege. Now let’s take a second and take away the label of immigrant. Let’s put them on even standings. Can we? Yes. How? If we merely look at them as characters who use their situations for good and have different means of doing so, we can see that they’re both advantageous of their situations. Shouldn’t we all be? They both were dealt poor hands and could have gone down different paths, if not for some guidance, discipline, and well intentions.
I think I identify more with Bruce more because I am a mixed-race man, and would have to work that much harder to even be recognized by “The League.” I have to use my every advantage to even the playing field and keep myself in the conversation. Batman has to outthink, outperform, and overcompensate for so much because of his disadvantage. He has a contingency plan to take out the entire Justice League but has none for himself according to the League. When asked why he simply stated: “The League is my contingency.” If the greatest heroes ever went rogue and decided to use their powers for good, who would stop them? Someone surely has to, but he trusts that if he needed to be stopped the League would do so, and that speaks volumes. He’s someone who will fight tooth and nail to accomplish the goal/mission, but at a cost. His price often is a lot higher than that of his fellow heroes. He has hardened himself because in his mind he is still the child who saw his parents murdered in front of him. Try as Clark can, he can only empathize with losing his homeworld, but – to my knowledge – didn’t experience watching his world be torn from him as Bruce did. He works every day to protect not only the people of this world, but himself from being that boy again; scared and alone and wishing nothing like that would ever happen again.