The air has been cleared a bit regarding Superman’s status in the DCnU, and (of course) it’s caused people to flip out a bit. Here is a quick rundown of the major changes:
1) A return to Ma and Pa Kent being dead.
2) Lois and Clark aren’t married and never were.
3) Something has changed at the Daily Planet.
4) Superman will be “more Kal-El from the planet Krypton than Clark Kent from Kansas.”
Morrison’s Action Comics will be about Clark stepping into the role of Superman, while George Perez’s Superman will be the modern character. To find the best examples of nerd rage, I turned once again to my arch-nemesis DC Women Kicking Ass (who is surprisingly silent on the matter) and picked some of the best nerd rage to respond to. So, let’s look at what the peanut gallery is saying so we can address their concerns one by one.
The Wilderness of Mirrors writes, “Eh. The reboot is as much about DC needing to establish a version of Superman sufficiently different from the original to count as theirs for when the rights revert as it is anything else.” Except that Morrison’s Superman is almost exactly the same character as the one in Action Comics #1. The argument that this Superman isn’t the “real Superman” (as if there could even be such a thing) is a ridiculous argument because, if anything, the relaunch Superman is more like what Siegel and Shuster created in 1938.
Fall from Stars writes, “Ugh. Well, so long, DC. I’m out,” and I can’t help but wonder exactly what about this information would make someone stop reading Superman comics. Even before Jonathan Kent died, Superman’s parents were barely in the comics as it was, so to be upset by the deaths of fictional characters who never appear is stupid.
This same logic can be applied to Lois Lane. Some feminist comic fans claim Lois Lane as their idol, but she hasn’t had a character outside of Superman’s wife for years now. There is a lot of potential for her to be a great character, and I think the best way to bring that out is to have Superman and Lois Lane split up. Yeah, they’re the most perfect couple in comics, but you know what? They aren’t real. They are fictional characters. They’ll get back together, don’t worry.
Nature Boy mostly has an incomprehensible, profanity-ridden diatribe about identity that doesn’t have much to do with the relaunch, but he brings it back in true fanboy fashion with, “Okay, can’t fly? He originally couldn’t fly when he was introduced and that ability was given later. Remember ‘able to leap tall buildings in a single bound’? So FINE, it’s vintage tastic. But to eliminate Ma and Pa Kent, to eliminate Clark Kent in favor of ‘Oh poor Kal-El the angry lonely alien,’ and furthermore to eliminate the pairing to trump all other pairings, Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is sacrilegious.”
Lois and Clark were married in 1996 as part of a connection to the Teri Hatcher / Dean Cain television series. So, not only was their marriage an excuse to boost ratings for a television show, it also means that it took those crazy kids 58 years to finally tie the knot. Their marriage is a drop in the bucket of Superman history, and once they were married, the tension was gone and their romance was no longer important. What happens after happily ever after? No one knows, and that’s why writers don’t know what to do with their marriage. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been good moments in the Lois and Clark marriage, but it certainly took the wind out of the sails of Lois’s character.
Miranda’s Messy Mind says, “So… He’s basically going to be Batman. Thank God DC may completely lose rights to Superman soon because this is just a mess now,” but she openly admits that she comes off as a bit of a bitch, so maybe this could be ignored.
The Girl from Away seems to echo some of the previous sentiments: “You know, his name is Superman, not Superalien. And they are basically taking everything that nurtures his humanity away. I don’t want to read about a more alien, brooding Superman. I want to read about Clark Kent, the guy whose other job is Superman.
“And at this point I don’t even have rage left for the breakup of Lois and Clark. This DC reboot has just exhausted me, and there is honestly very little I’d read in the new universe.”
There are certainly more fans enraged by all of this, and while I want to post a few more, I’m feeling a little exhausted by all of it, so in order to clear my mind, allow me to quote Morrison’s Supergods (if you don’t own it already, buy it today because it is beautiful): “Before it was a Bomb, the Bomb was an Idea. Superman, however, was a Faster, Stronger, Better Idea.” He’s an Idea that has resonated with countless people all over the world for decades now, so it isn’t any wonder that people would be upset at the changes being made, but we have to consider the things that make Superman great.
First and foremost is his unconditional love for all of mankind. Even though we can be terrible monsters at our worst, here is a hero that will always love us. He has such hope and care for life that he never gives up in his battle for us.
This is the beauty of Superman.
Yet, it’s easy to love the world and protect it when one has so much. With loving parents and a brilliant, exciting, beautiful wife, Superman has a lot to be fighting for. His life is perfect, and in a sense. He fights to preserve that life, and while that is relatable, it isn’t selfless. With so much beauty in Superman’s world, who wouldn’t want to fight for it?
Now, let’s take all of the support that he has had over the years away from him. His loved ones are no longer present in his life, so he has no one to find comfort in, BUT he still fights on. He still loves us unconditionally. Then, the question not only becomes “Why does he do it?” but more importantly “Why do we deserve it?”
Because arguably, we don’t. People are petty and cruel, and we do terrible things to one another, but that doesn’t matter to Superman because he is the living embodiment of unconditional love and justice.
These themes are worth exploring, and they couldn’t be done in the status quo of the Superman that has existed for years now. In the face of so much pain and terribleness in the world today, Superman’s story is more important now than ever before, and I’m more than happy for this relaunch to get under way so we can explore the light in humanity.
“If only one-tenth of the self-righteous, sputtering wrath of these anonymous zealots could be mustered against the horrors of bigotry or poverty, we might find ourselves overnight in a finer world.” – Grant Morrison