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In superhero comics the world is identical to our own aside from horrific collateral damage being wreaked every week. Super villains regularly destroy cities and murder millions. The mundane crime rate is unsustainable orders of magnitude higher than in the real world.

Clearly something is maintaining the status quo so that civilization doesn't collapse. The ashes of cities are raised up good as new; the mountains of corpses are resurrected and sent back to their jobs. Life goes on as usual. Another day, another world ending disaster.

Why would that world even remotely resemble our own? If people are living in Purgatory, why aren't they acting like it? Why do civilians keep going about their daily lives? Why do criminals keep committing crimes if everything resets?

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  • $\begingroup$ "reality-check" is essentially incompatible with "superheroes", as the answers are showing. $\endgroup$ – John Dallman Nov 11 '16 at 11:42
  • $\begingroup$ Strong disagreement with "super villains regularly murder millions" could you give me a couple comics where they do so? $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Nov 12 '16 at 0:23
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The system is rigged. Worlds like this, where super-powered heroes slug it out with super-powered villains, and the world keeps resetting itself (apparently) are controlled and manipulated by even more powerful super-beings who have created the worlds.

These worlds are effectively reality shows for audiences of higher dimensional beings who vicariously enjoy superhero adventures. The worlds, of course, have to be reset otherwise the stories would stop. Although if the ratings fall too low, the worlds will be either shut down or there is no need to keep resetting them.

Basically the reason everything keeps going on and on the same is due to the fact that the whole world is set up to be that way. Its inhabitants have no choice but to keep on doing everything in their lives without any changes.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Aaaand Superman is the next person to join the Big Brother house..." $\endgroup$ – Samwise Nov 11 '16 at 21:54
  • $\begingroup$ @Sam: Aaagghh!!! Almost enough to make me want to delete my answer -- unless Wonder Woman is there too. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 12 '16 at 1:05
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Depends on how many supers take jobs fixing the damage caused by other supers. For every super crimefighter, there are a few dozen super disaster management workers/ emergency crews/rebuilders.

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Part of it is narrative convention. The series establishes a setting and the main concepts returns to "normal" after some time. A hero might be changed by some exceptional carnage, but only for a couple of issues.

If you want the in-universe explanation, consider how London coped with The Blitz, and that was with bombers overhead every few days. As first the Germans (and later the Allies) had to learn, a city is a difficult thing to kill. London went on. So did Berlin, until the Soviet ground troops arrived.

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Purgatory is an Exaggeration

In the majority of superhero comics and narratives, cities are not completely leveled every week, and mountains of corpses are not left every week. While sometimes devastating amounts of damage do occur, they do not impact the culture of the entire planet.
They impact cities.

Picture twice as many natural disasters - the entire civilization of the world will still be able to go on.

In other words
Why wouldn't this world resemble ours?

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