5 Superheroes Who Are Great at Their Day Jobs (and 5 Who Aren't)

By Monique Jones in Comics, Daily Lists
Monday, July 2, 2012 at 7:57 am
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Superheroes are known for saving lives, helping their community, and being all-around good guys. Superheroes are not known for holding down steady jobs. Mainly, because saving lives, helping their community, and being all-around good guys usually gets in the way of getting into work on time (or at all), helping customers, and making a decent wage. This is problematic because a lot of superheroes have bills to pay. Additionally, being a good superhero has no bearing on whether they're good at their jobs. Sure, they can stop an alien invasion, but when it comes to the work they're actually paid to do, they seem clueless. Other superheroes, on the other hand, earn every dollar they make. They truly live up to their title of "superhero" by being able to hold down a steady job, meet deadlines, and still save the world on a regular basis!

Below are five superheroes who are great at their day jobs and five who aren't so hot. Knowledge of some of these first jobs were thought to have been lost to the annals of history, but when you're terrible at a career, people always have a way of finding out.

THE BEST:

5) Iron Man
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It's pretty much a no-brainer that Tony Stark is good at his job since, as CEO of Stark Resilient, part of his job is being Iron Man. How is that different than other superheroes? Well, similar to Batman, Stark's job as the CEO of Stark Resilient allows him to not only create technologically-advanced equipment for the good of the earth, but it also allows him to continue to modify his suit, which keeps him at the forefront of most of the Marvel superheroes.

Just as important is his ability to keep his father's legacy alive. He might have lost his company to Obadiah Stane, "fired" Iron Man after accidentally killing the second Titanium Man, and battled intense alcoholism, but through it all, he managed to keep most of his business-making faculties. Let's face it; business is in Stark's blood.

4) Spider-Man
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One could argue that Peter Parker is actually bad at his job -- according to J. Jonah Jameson's standards, Parker takes subpar pictures -- but he's still employed as photographer for the Daily Bugle. The biggest reason is because he's got one skill that none of the other photographers seem to have; he's able to photograph Spider-Man, and Spider-Man sells papers. Yes, he always knows where the cameras are because he's taking pictures of himself, but his artistic background gives him the ability to work the camera for the money-making shot. Not only that, but JJJ feels a bit of kinship to Parker. It might be hard to tell, but JJJ thinks of himself as a father figure to Parker, steering him along the correct journalistic path. He also became Peter's relative after his father married Peter's Aunt May, and it would look bad for JJJ to fire his family member.

3) Batman
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Bruce Wayne is a funny individual. On one hand, it looks like he's a playboy who screws with his father's money. On the other hand, as owner of Wayne Industries, he's a very good businessman that helped to expand the company his parents built. Wayne was able to create a host of offshoot developments and companies, including Wayne Technologies, Wayne Healthcare, Wayne Aerospace, Wayne Pharmaceuticals, and even Wayne Foods. All of these offshoots not only help Gotham run as smoothly as it can, but it also provides Bruce tons of alibis, research facilities, weapons and equipment, transportation, and much more. Wayne Industries has also acquired several different companies, including Holt Holdings and Kord Industries, taking the Wayne brand to even higher heights. While Lucius Fox is the CEO of Wayne Industries, Wayne is the man who kept his parents' company afloat.

2) Professor Xavier
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You can probably get the picture by now; "being good at your job" is largely subjective. Sure, Professor Xavier puts the students of Xavier School for Gifted Youngster in harm's way. But, it's not as if he's putting all of his students in danger -- just the ones who become a part of the X-Men. He has also personally trained his X-Men, ensuring that they are able to defend themselves skillfully and efficiently, so, in a way, he is thinking about their safety.

Despite what you might think of Professor X as the leader of the X-Men, Professor X is caring, compassionate, and sympathetic to the needs of his students as the head of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. He's also a stalwart champion of his students' rights in society. His riches also allow him to continually revamp his school to better his students' training. If you needed to go somewhere to learn about your special gifts, it would benefit you to try to attend the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Just look at your alternative -- joining Magento's brotherhood offers nothing except hardship and marginalization.

1) She-Hulk
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It's great to get a competent lawyer, but it's better to get one that can kick the defendant's butt. As a current member of the Superhuman Law division of the law firm of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway, Jennifer Walters is one of the best criminal defense lawyers out there. Not only is her physical appearance intimidating despite her confident personality, she's successfully handled cases no ordinary lawyer could handle. Some of past clients include Dr. Michael Morbius, Speedball, Danger Man, Spider-Man, Hercules and more. She's also lent her legal talents to Heroes for Hire and the Magistrati. Not only that, but Walters has also been a champion for civil rights, the rights of the mentally ill, and the implementation of ethics in the courtroom.

THE WORST:

5) Dr. Manhattan
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A general flaw of scientist comic book characters is that they go too far with their experiments and end up ruining themselves. However, Jon Osterman can't even say that he ruined his life while trying to do something for the betterment of man! He has his forgetfulness to blame for being a terrible astrophysicist. Osterman is bad at his job simply because he was stupid enough not to realize that the intrinsic field experiment test chamber he's had to have worked on for months had a safety feature on it and couldn't be left unattended. He should have known that he needed to have someone standing at that doggone door or it might lock! If he was that absent-minded on that day, how much more absent-minded and clumsy was he on a regular day?! His lack of foresight should have been an even bigger career liability than it seems to have been.

Sure, he turned into what could be considered a "superhero," but even that is a tragedy because he's not just a super-powered human--he's now an immortal god filled with nuclear power who is being used by the U.S. government as a weapon! He can see into the future and the past at the same time, and he has no emotions about any of it! But even with his emotionless void of personality, he seems a little depressed. It's your own damn fault, Dr. Manhattan.

4) Superman
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The writer of this article is a journalist. As such, the writer has a searing hatred for how Clark Kent slums his way through his job as a reporter for the Daily Planet. Yes, he's Superman, but he's also got a Metropolis lifestyle to pay for. Being a journalist takes up many hours of your day, especially if you're working on an article that takes months of research and interviewing. You can't get anything done on a day-to-day basis if you're constantly flitting off to fight crime. With so many absences, he should be put on probation. To give credit where it's due, it is clever of Kent to write for the news section of the Daily Planet in order to learn about the city's criminals, but he could very well buy and listen to the police scanner at home instead of being so suspicious at work. How he's getting paid for so little work is astounding.

3) Mr. Incredible
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When The Incredibles' Bob Parr quit his life as a superhero, he began a new life -- of life insurance. Being a claims adjuster might not have been the greatest career choice for someone so concered with the public welfare, since he spent most of his work time giving people the money they needed instead of minimizing it to save his company money. You can argue that Bob's anti-bottom line-agenda made him a good claims adjuster or a bad one, but you can't argue that when Bob threw his boss through several walls after his boss tried to stop him from stopping a mugging, he instantly ended his career. How many people are going to hire someone who hospitalized their last supervisor? Besides a supervillain?

2) Bonnie King/Miss Arrowette
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It would seem that Bonnie King's career as a superheroine wasn't as illustrious as others of her ilk. After becoming inspired by the Green Arrow and Speedy's tales of adventure, she decides to apply her Olympic-level archery skills to a life of heroism. Instead of being a welcomed member of Green Arrow's team, however, she's a huge thorn in his side. Not only that, but she is extremely clumsy. Let's not even get into the fact that she used weapons that would make most feminists angry; hair pin arrows, hair tint arrows, needle and thread arrows, mascara arrows--the list goes on and on.

It's bad enough that she was bad at being a superheroine, but she was also bad at her day job as a secretary! This is probably because she spent so much time trying to be a superheroine. King eventually retired and later forced her daughter to become the second Arrowette, a move that almost always works out for everybody.

1) Wonder Woman
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People seem to forget that Wonder Woman a.k.a. Diana Prince had a job outside of being a superheroine and the Princess of the Amazons. She also secretly served the U.S. Army as a nurse and later as a secretary. Her guise as a nurse is probably more akin to Superman's guise as a reporter, however, that's where the similarities stop.

First, she used her job to get close to the man of her dreams, Maj. Steve Trevor (during the time she was created, it was thought that the only thing women cared about was getting married). Secondly, while it's debatable as to how much experience she had with nursing (Amazonian nursing has to be different than American nursing), it is sorely apparent she has no experience being a secretary, another job she takes simply to be close to Trevor. For example, Trevor's secretary can't help but notice that Diana doesn't use any of the specified shorthand most trained secretaries use. It's a relief to women comic book readers that she was later fleshed out beyond all of this man-chasing.

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