What’s the worst thing about being a superhero?
Some might say it’s the way your home planet was not only gigantic beyond belief, but also somehow made out of igneous formations, the merest sliver of a pebble of which will kill you. Bad death, too. One minute you’re flying, you’re a God, and the next, there’s a tiny piece of rock zooming towards you and then you die.
Some might say it’s the stress and tension of keeping up a secret identity. Those people are idiots, of course. We’ve long passed the point where humans essentially put on secret identities wherever they go and whatever they do, and they wear the fake personalities so hard that they forget which was the original version.
(Clark Kent loves Lois Lane. Lois loves Superman. Superman spurns her because he wants her to love her for who he is, namely, Clark Kent. Except Clark Kent is NOT who he is; Kent is, in fact, as opposite to Superman as possible. So what we have here is someone with a desirable real self who wants to be loved for his specifically-undesirable fake self, and somehow, this makes sense to us. What even HAPPENED to us?)
Having origins and backstories that keep changing, just as you’ve got some kind of handle on who and what you are? Yeah, that’s terrible, but it’s not the worst.
The worst is when you have to pretend to be a Supervillain and get punched out.
But it’s quite necessary.
Whatever happens in the world, we cannot let the mundane folks, much less criminologists and generals and the various Heads of Secret Services know that, this whole time, there was never a “them”. It was always “us”.
Why in the world would superpowered beings divide up into heroes and villains? It’s impossible to maintain that level of consistency, especially if you’re going to operate in more than one culture.
That’s why our Villains spend so much time going on about how evil they are. They focus us on their self-identity as Villains, in a rather cruel mockery of ordinary human actions, and they do it to make sure you KNOW you’re being robbed by mega-jerks, and ONLY mega-heroes can save you. Conveniently.
Nobody likes the part where you do a heel turn and tell everyone you’re a monster, but on the plus side, it’s one of very few professions where you get to claim the reward money issued for your capture.
Perverse incentives are a wonderful thing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a building. I’m going to knock it down, then put glasses on to disguise myself, and rebuild it.
I own the building, so the insurance money pays for the loss and then the rebuilding. It’s worth a couple ultra-powered wallops to the nose to collect on it; having a secret identity means that you never have to worry about double indemnity.