In 2020, the best way to be a hero is to stay isolated as much as you possibly can. The only way we can all defeat the super-villain of COVID-19 together is to do everything in our power to stop the spread. So if you’re going to venture out into the free world, you’ve got to make sure you’re wearing the right kind of facial protection. As Terry McGinnis told us all during DC FANDOME, a mask like Batman’s with the mouth and chin cut out simply isn’t going to cut it. So who can we look to as examples instead? Here’s a sampling of DC’s most COVID-compliant superheroes.
Let’s begin with Jason Todd. He may be the rebellious one in most other aspects of his life, but he takes COVID-19 deadly serious. Whether wearing his entire head-covering dome or the more recent, “Outlaw” era gas mask number, Jason comes well prepared for any occasion against airborne pathogens. After all, a lifetime of experience against Scarecrow and the Joker prepares you for this sort of thing. (Honorable mention would go to Cassandra Cain, if not for the fact that she seems to rip her mask off at every damn opportunity.)
Even if he wasn’t defended by powerful magic, the gold helmet keeps anything from exposing Doctor Fate -- whoever might be wearing the helmet -- to any manner of airborne disease. As inscrutable as Fate can often be, the sheer physicality of the Helm of Nabu can proves just as impermeable.
BLUE BEETLE (Jaime Reyes)
Like so many other heroes, pioneering Blue Beetles Dan Garrett and Ted Kord fall victim to the “Batman Fallacy” of keeping your mouth exposed. Not so for Jaime, who’s covered for all situations by the scarab on his back. Not quite practical advice for those among us who aren’t fused to a techno-organic alien symbiote, but at least Jaime’s free to protect the streets of El Paso without a worry.
STEEL AND S.T.R.I.P.E.
Why stop at a mask when you can build your own protective shell? Whether it’s a superpowered suit or a full-on mech suit, John Henry Irons and Pat Dugan are ready for anything whether there’s a pandemic or not. (But until this is over, Natasha and Courtney are GROUNDED.)
THE ATOM FAMILY
We’re not talking about Ray Palmer or Ryan Choi here. They could take some lessons from the original Atom, Al Pratt, along with his son and godson, Damage and Atom Smasher. The Atom of the JSA and his progeny all wear a pullover blue mask inspired by classic masked wrestlers, a tribute to Pratt’s own scrappy origins.
Take it from the world’s biggest Question fan: Vic Sage likes to do everything a little bit extra. The Question doesn’t just wear a mask. He uses a chemical bonding agent to make sure the mask CAN’T BE REMOVED unless he applies a counter-agent. So when The Question goes out into the virus-blighted world, you can be assured that he commits.
Larry Trainor gets a special mention here, because he's been living with a COVID-like reality for his entire career. If he ever removes his bandages in public, it would prove fatal to everyone around him. If we were all as thoughful in protecting those we care about, we’d have this thing beat in no time.
It’s no con-job: of everyone on this list, the way Grifter protects himself and others from the spread of the novel coronavirus is probably the most practical. You don’t have to be fancy about it. Just tie something on your face that’ll keep you from spreading disease, or catching it yourself! It’s not rocket science. There’s only one course of action better for this situation…
STAY AT HOME!!! If it’s at all possible for you to accomplish your daily routine by limiting your contact with other people, then the most positive thing you can do is take those actions. From 1989-2011, Barbara Gordon was ahead of her time by showing all of us that the greatest acts of heroism can be taken without ever leaving the watchtower. She showed us that computers and modern technology can keep us together, even when we’re a world apart. And examples like Oracle are exactly the kind of hero we need in the world today. So heed the Oracle’s prophecy, if you can: be a hero. Save the world. Stay at home. And if you can’t… wear a mask. (And hey, why not -- if you’re Jason Todd, wear a mask *under* your mask.)