So, there’s this girl. She’s tragically orphaned and richer than anyone on the planet. Every guy she meets falls in love with her, but in between torrid romances she rejects them all because she dedicated to what is Pure and Good. She has genius level intellect, Olympic-athelete level athletic ability and incredible good looks. She is consumed by terrible angst, but this only makes guys want her more. She has no superhuman abilities, yet she is more competent than her superhuman friends and defeats superhumans with ease. She has unshakably loyal friends and allies, despite the fact she treats them pretty badly. They fear and respect her, and defer to her orders. Everyone is obsessed with her, even her enemies are attracted to her. She can plan ahead for anything and she’s generally right with any conclusion she makes. People who defy her are inevitably wrong.
God, what a Mary Sue.
I just described Batman.
Seriously, though, this is important.
But Batman is canon, not a fanfic char.
I know what everybody’s always trying to say with this, but “Mary Sue” is fundamentally about a fanfic OC that readers find absurd in various ways, with that sense of the OC muscling into canon with their super-special awesomeness.
The term “canon Sue” is an oxymoron, and there’s different ways to express the idea that one’s official characters are too powerful, or you’re distorting canon to make it so.
DCAU “Batgod” is the latter thing, though on the other hand, the writers did a good job of showing how alienated he let himself become, which undermined the notion that he was perfect.
In populist fiction, your protagonist is usually going to be the most powerful / special person in some way, to say why the story should be about them. But there’s still a possibility of excess.
This excess is a separate concept in fanfic vs canon, even though it’s fundamentally the same idea, because fanfic and canon come from separate places.
The only real problem is that “Mary Sue” is a gendered term, which it shouldn’t be. The simple fact of disliking overpowered protagonists should be gender neutral.
Sadly, there are still double standards.
Jaime Reyes is perfect tho
- is Mexican-American
- puked in the Batcave, and called Bats a “psycho nut-job super villain” in the same day, and is still respected by Batman
- takes out the garbage for Milagro because she’s scared of the dark
- buys Milagro Boostle action figures because Babsgirl was sold out
- befriended a sentient piece of alien tech that was intended to take over the world
- stopped an alien civilization from taking over the world
- with a letter
- immediately told his parents, and best friends, about his new hero identity because he loves and respects them a lot
- uses his super hero abilities to fly his grandma around
- loves and respects his super badass girlfriend
- calls Eddie “Sizzle shorts”
- makes his own sound effects during fights
- defeats evil WITH SCIENCE
- is a huge nerd
- informed people about his dead skin cell and sweat paper
- loves and respects his predecessors (WWTKD?)
- Befriended an old villain
- wants to become a dentist to pay off his parents’ mortgage and Milagro’s college tuition
- and this
Jaime Reyes, beautiful perfect, Jaime Reyes
But that all changed when The New 52 attacked…
(i mean. Maybe it got better. I gave up after three issues and the book got canceled a few months later so…)