I think this really came to a head when I read a story about Captain America and Iron Man, set shortly after Cap thawed out of the iceberg. Cap was still getting his bearings in modern New York (the story began with him staring in horror at a plaque where Ebbets Field used to be—apparently he was a big Dodger fan), and Iron Man spent the first half of the story pitying the guy and worrying about how he must “feel like a caveman”, so far out of his native time. When a bunch of giant killer robots attacked, Iron Man, worried about his vulnerable colleague, ordered Cap to “stay back and protect the civilians”. Then he soared off to take on the bad guys all by himself, which didn’t work out so well—he got completely thrashed and thrown at an oncoming bus. Just as he was about to make scrap metal out of armor, bus, and helpless passengers, a familiar striped shield spun into frame. Thanks to the shield’s unique impact-absorbing properties, one SP-TANG later, we ended up with a dented bus and a dented superhero, but no casualties. “The civilians are okay,” Cap deadpanned as Iron Man picked himself up.
Much as I loved that story and rooted for the timelost hero to mop the town with his much more powerful foes, I couldn’t help feeling a little sorry for Iron Man. The world was supposed to belong to guys like him, and instead it belonged to the underdogs, because that made a better story. So it made sense that Trevor, growing up in a world like this, would feel responsible for people who were much more powerful than he, and feel guilty when he failed to protect them. It’s the kind of upside-down mentality that only makes sense if you grow up in a world where the bad guys attack the big guns first … but that’s Trevor for you.
Oh, and then we have Trevor's guesses about Rae's real name! Like Rae's speculations in Chapter 7, these are all references to big-name superheroes, or at least as big-name as female heroes get. "Cassie" is Cassandra Sandsmark, known to Teen Titans fans as Wonder Girl and (for a while) a girlfriend of Tim Drake. "Jean" is, of course, Jean Grey, the X-Men character who went by about a dozen codenames over the years (including Marvel Girl, Phoenix, Dark Phoenix and--off and on--just "Jean Grey"). And "Stephanie" is Stephanie Brown, the only female Robin in the major Batman canon (no, I don't count Carrie Kelley from The Dark Knight Returns, since I think that's been retconned or Elsworldsed away) and yet another girlfriend of Tim Drake. It was a little harder coming up with girl-hero names, but I persevered.