Summary: Even if they had switched roles, everything would have been exactly the same.
In his earlier career, Billy used to have daydreams. Everything was reversed; he was a hero -Dr. Wonderful, they called him- and Captain Hammer was, well, Captain Hammer. The same as always, only a villain.
He never dreamed of having superpowers- what would be the point, when ingenious plans and creative inventions were both artful and more effective? Let the arch-nemesis keep his powers, for what were they, compared to the doctor's brilliant mind?
As much as Billy wanted to make the people love him in his dreams, his mind wouldn't allow him. It wasn't realistic. He was perfectly aware that they worshiped strength and power, fearlessness and relentlessness. And that was Captain Hammer, whether he was a villain or hero. So even in his dreams, Billy watched as Hammer was swarmed by groupies and admirers, because it made sense.
But in his dreams, somehow, it didn't matter as much. He was still the hero. He was the one in the right, the one saving the day, and that made all the difference in the world, whether the people recognized him or not. Whether they chose the villain over him.
The one thing that he could never understand was why he could never get Penny. Even in his dreams, he could never quite work up the courage to talk to her. On the rare occasions that he tried, she would smile and nod- but that was it. No blushing, no spontaneous dancing in the laundromat, no declarations of love. Just a smile and a nod, if his subconscious was feeling particularly bold.
Which led Billy to the disheartening conclusion that, even if they had switched roles, even if the circumstances were different, everything would have been exactly the same.
And they wondered why he was a cynic.