Just as the title says, these are things that I don't see enough of, or have never seen at all, which ought to be far more prominent. Let's just jump right in.
Peter Parker's feelings of inadequacy
Mary Jane Watson-Parker has issues. I've seen her as a struggling actress, a struggling supermodel, a model struggling to be recognized as an actress and to be seen as more than just a hot body, a woman struggling with addiction, a wife struggling with her husband's demanding career, a daughter struggling with abusive parents, and a victim struggling with a vague violation by Venom. In all of these cases, invariably she comes back to either a worry that Peter will not accept or understand her, or comfort in the knowledge that he loves her and will be there for her.
What I don't often see is the other side of the story. Sure, MJ's got some emotional baggage and issues with affection which cause some measure of insecurity in her relationship, but what about Peter? Peter Parker was a high school dweeb who never made it with the ladies 'til a spider bit him near the wrist (okay, okay, no more song parodies), he had a few flings, and more drama than most high school dweebs ever manage to work up, but he never really stopped being a guilt-ridden awkward wallflower. We see with decent regularity Peter musing about how lucky he is to have such a wonderful wife. What we don't see is the feelings of inadequacy he ought to have, at least once in awhile. Sure, he's a superhero, but he's a dorky high school teacher and photographer, and he's married to a moderately successful supermodel actress. Where are the thought bubbles that say "how'd I pull that off?" and "I don't deserve her" and all that?
I'm not saying that I think Peter should doubt his relationship, or that there should be unnecessary drama between the two. I'm saying as a high school dweeb that these are thoughts that float through a dweeb's mind when he's with a wonderful significant other. Spider-powers or not, you never totally get over being the guy at the dance without a date, or a dance, or dancing talent. Peter loves MJ, and MJ loves Peter, and that shouldn't change. But, as much as Peter ought to thank his lucky stars that he's with such a wonderful, beautiful woman, the natural corrolary is wondering if he's worthy enough to maintain such a relationship, if he's not dragging her down or holding her back or making her unnecessarily unhappy. I'm sure that Peter wants, above all things, to make MJ happy, and he knows that there's the possibility that accomplishing that task means setting her free.
And that's a story that can't be told with a single Peter Parker, thank you very much Joe Quesada.
Strangely enough, Superman isn't Spider-Man (I know this comes as a surprise to you, Chuck Austen). Superman should, at the end of the day, enjoy his life. He has two good jobs doing things that he loves, he has a loving family, a wonderful wife, and the most super friends in the universe. He's beloved by the whole world, but he can still head out to the farm and till a field in the peace and quiet.
Despite all this, it's not often that you see Superman smiling. Thanks to Kurt Busiek and the other folks involved with the wonderful Superman comics of late, this has changed somewhat. I hope the change remains around for awhile. Sure, stern looks and angry-silhouette-with-glowing-red-eyes have their place in Superman stories too. But, when he's just flying around or saving kittens or sliding into bed at the end of the night, he ought to be grinning.
Because for Superman, life is swell.
Ever notice that the World's Greatest Detective's usual idea of detective-ing involves little more than hanging some thug up from a half-constructed building by his ankles, and forcing the information out of him? Yeah, me too. While that makes for a cool visual and whatnot, used as frequently as it is, it makes Batman look fairly inept at the thing he's supposedly best at. Let's have less dangling and more detecting. You know, looking for clues, picking up trace evidence, running things though the Bat-computer, that sort of thing. It may not be visually stunning, but after awhile, neither is the same-old, same-old intimidation.
Come on, Batman, show us your mad skills.
Magneto vs. Nazis
I've got an upcoming post about Marvel villains, and this kind of spun out of that line of thinking. Magneto was held in the concentration camp at Auschwitz. His experiences there have really shaped his quest to assert Mutant superiority over the human race. He saw a group of humans, the Nazis, imprison him for being part of the "inferior" Jewish race. As an adult he seeks a child's revenge, asserting his race as superior and his former oppressors as inferior, except that he equates the Nazis with all humans, and takes "homo sapiens superior" as his race.
That being said, it's still the Nazis who imprisoned him and killed his family. And if there's one thing the Marvel Universe has in abundance, it's Nazis. One would think that, despite his desire to wipe out all of humanity, he'd have a special hatred reserved for Hitler's followers. Has Magneto really gone forty-plus years without teaming up with (off the top of my head) the Red Skull, Baron Zemo, Baron Strucker, Arnim Zola, or the Hate Monger? If he has met up with Marvel's Nazis, why are any of them still alive? I want to see Magneto beating the Red Skull--not with magnetic powers, mind you, but with his bare fists, desperately pummeling him for the suffering he endured. And I want Captain America to be watching, and completely at a loss as to which one he should help.
And that's an X-Men book, or an Avengers book, I'd actually buy.