NEW 52 SUPERMAN: WHO IS HE?

It’s been a year and Superman fans are still asking this question.  It’s not a matter of developing his alien side with new monsters and every Silver Age villain available.  It’s about his core personality no matter what clothes he wears.

Clark Kent was found by the Kents and they raised him with a strong moral compass according to the Who’s Who in the Zero issues.  We know he didn’t get his suit of armor until after he went to Metropolis.  So is this the Clark Kent who grew up human for all intent and purposes and then got his superpowers at puberty?   We don’t know because we are not informed of those years and his relationship with the Kents.  That’s because DC Comics has decided to make Superman alienated, not able to relate to humans or to know who or what he truly is.

Were the Kents and those formative years mind wiped from his brain?  In Action #13, we see that Kal-El remembers Krypto since infancy on Krypton.  So are these selective memories DC is allowing to be played with or what?  This is swiss cheese characterization.

Superman is the only character in the new 52 whose books deal with two different timelines.  Action is his past and Superman is five years later, the present.  Superman is still alienated even though he has worked with Lois Lane at the Daily Planet for five years.  Again, we have not seen anything in the five year gap.  So in Superman #1 when Clark finds out Lois is seeing someone else – he’s shocked and distraught.  Thus alienating him further.  Some fans are saying this puts the responsibility onto Lois – but I say, what the hell kind of Clark Kent works with Lois Lane for five years and never asks her out on a date?   And we have never seen their first meet . . . which tells us what?  DC Comics is giving us a Superman with no hope.   He’s not inspired by humanity at all.  In fact, he’s not moved by the people who raised him or the woman he admires from the start.

For the past year, we have seen a Superman who does not have a love for humanity or Lois Lane in particular.  Why does he stay on Earth if he has so much trouble relating to the inhabitants of the planet?

When we first saw the new 52 Superman, some of us thought he was Mr. Majestic in Superman’s costume.  A big hint was the collar and Jim Lee stating it made him more ‘majestic.’  For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Majestic was a Wildstorm (Jim Lee) character who was the counterpart to the Daemonites.   Guess who’s the big villain for Superman in the past year . . . . Helspont, THE Daemonite.  Also Majestic was basically Superman without Clark’s moral core.  He had a powerful girlfriend and didn’t relate to humans.  Sound famililar?

The past year we have seen Clark Kent’s and Lois Lane’s story (separately and as a couple) suppressed.   Clark Kent is a journalist, right?  The #12 issues were the breaking point.  Justice League gave us the kiss of doom along with the promotion of bullship.  Action gave us a story of Superman doing everything in his power and then some to save Lois Lane’s life.  Superman comic gave us the end of the second creative team on that book’s last issue where Clark decided he needed to have some fun.  Yea, fun.  Where’s the fun been in the past five plus years in the Superman story?  And in Justice League International Annual #1, we saw the kiss of doom would destroy the future and cause a war.  It was wrong.  Shouldn’t have happened.  But Superman fans still got deprived of full bodied stories for twelve months so the new power couple could do their dirt.  Wonder Woman has her own thing going on in her book.  It’s not bothered with the power couple, but Superman and Action – have to be involved with the storyline in Justice League.

In May, Matt Idelson said Clark and Lois would never be inevitable on his watch.  Now he’s singing a different tune.  True he apologized for the ‘hyperbole’ and even said he fought passionately for Clark and Lois to stay as a couple in the new 52, but in order to do justice to the reboot, he gave up the fight.  He also stated now (October) that if readers wanted Clark and Lois that was up to them and the creators – but there is no mechanism in place to make those wants known.  DC Comics has removed its forums, disdains the internet and its fans on the internet, and has given the fanbase attitude, especially the female portion who dare ask questions.

During the bullship promotion, Jim Lee said that changing anything, even the size of the belt, had the fanbase bitching.  Extracting Lois Lane (kiss cover was a rework of Superman v2 #212 panel) to replace her with Wonder Woman is not the size of a belt problem, Sir.

Of all the characters in the new 52, Superman has been hard rebooted especially with the ridiculous storytelling of his past and present playing out at the same time.   The five year gap may protect the Man of Steel from damage by the bullship but it’s not without its faults.   George Perez (Superman 1 – 6) left the book because he didn’t recognize this new 52 Superman.  Communication between his book (5 years later) and Action was not happening.  After he left, he wasn’t sure what editorial kept in the book and what they changed.  Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens took over.  All three of these men love the characters of Clark Kent, Superman and Lois Lane – and yet, they didn’t appear to be permitted to write the characters fans know and love.  Scott Lobdell will be writing Superman now.  He’s shown promise in Superman Annual #1 and Superman #0.  Is he allowed to write the characters most Superman fans will recognize now that the bullship is in place?

An aloof Superman is not Clark Kent.  Even on Smallville, when Clark was a teen going through his growing angst, he related to his parents and Lois just fine.  Good or bad, but never indifferent.  Clark is a character that leads with his heart.  New 52 Superman doesn’t appear to have one except to be disappointed that Lois has a boyfriend.  And why shouldn’t a woman move on if the guy(s) she’s interested in don’t pay her any attention in ‘that way?’  Who wants to be held at arm’s length for five years?  You want real?  Lois doesn’t pine.  She moves forward.  Clark needs to grow a pair and risk emotionally.  At least DC gave her a long distance relationship.  She’s not with the guy daily (like she would have been with Clark or Superman) and Jurgens made him not so much a jerk, so we and Clark realize what she sees in this guy.  He’s a foreign correspondent.  And how does Lois deal with emotional turmoil?  Her job.  She works night and day for truth and justice – without superpowers but with the power of the ‘pen’, her wits and savvy.

Lois had a promotion within the Daily Planet complex so she and Clark would be separated while the ‘alienated’ aspect can carry on.  Now that we’ve had that for a year, maybe after the bullship is over, Clark will realize ‘don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’ and will MAKE AN EFFORT to pursue Lois.  He needs to follow his heart.   So fans and humanity can have their Superman back.

The bullship promotion verged on ubermensch eugenics.  Physiology was the key to the relationship.  Because Clark can’t relate to humans (except being raised by the Kents,  saving Lois, being friends with Batman, and working at the Daily Planet for 5 years) and Diana tries to protect Steve Trevor by pushing him away and out of a job, the power couple hook up.  Perhaps they think since they are invulnerable, no harm can come to them and therefore, they won’t experience heartache.  Cowards.  That is not going to inspire hope.  It will convey fear and mistrust to the humans they swear to protect.  What is their motivation to save humans?  Why not fly off and live on another planet?  Because inevitably  Clark and Diana need human relationships to give them conflict on several levels.   Otherwise it’s BORING!   The kiss of doom covers have been pushed at fans with a vehemence.  It’s just a kiss.  That’s all they have permission for.  Some fanboys need to realize that Superman has a movie coming out in June and Jim Lee stated at 2012 (July) SDCC that the reboot was done to re-establish the Superman/Lois/Clark relationship.  DC is not going to cause problems story-wise that will damage the icons and the potential  movie going public.

Recently, I have been asking people who don’t read comics, what they thought of DC Comics putting Superman and Wonder Woman together.  First reaction:  “NOOOOOOOOOO!”  First question:  “What about Lois?”  Second question:  “Who are these people?”   Yea, talk about creating fear and mistrust, not only in the books but in the general movie paying public.   Jim Lee stated that the power hookup was more than just ‘what about Clark and Lois’ but about the entire universe.  Well, Jimbo, most people don’t give a damn about the entire universe – but Clark and Lois, yea, they care deeply about them.   Screw with that too much and you’ve got problems.  Money problems.

I’m not sure if Jim Lee understands (he did create a pseudo-Superman with a powerful girlfriend) what the Clark and Lois relationship means to creators, fans, and the general public, but I know Geoff Johns does.  I have trust issues with Geoff.  My first intro to one of his stories was him having a married Lana Lang kissing a married Clark Kent in a one page spread.   Yea, not good.  Yea, they were monster roofied, but hey . . . I don’t like Lois getting spit on or kicked to the curb.  (So now you know what my comic book reading life has been for the past 5 years. )  But Geoff has written some of the best Clark and Lois origins in Secret Origins and on the Smallville television show.  He even gave them a kid (Chris) when writing Action with Richard Donner.  I’m probably more comfortable with Geoff writing the story since it will happen in Justice League and crossovers with his other books, Green Lantern and Aquaman.  He did say that the power couple would have problems.  He outright said it was wrong in Justice League International Annual #1 – and it was a lightswitch moment in the book despite the bullship’s superficial, sleazy, multimedia hype.

I assume Lobdell will mention the hookup in his book but George Perez gave some protection from total heartbreak for us and Lois.  Lois Lane knows the secret.  She has protected and assisted Superman when he was in a damsel- in-distress-situation.  She may be okay with the hookup since Clark ‘has been such a loner’ and assume he has found someone to relate to.  Idelson and Lobdell both have said that Clark has feelings for Lois – and I have no doubt she has feelings for him.  She wants the best for him, and if she’s not it, then . . . . she’ll move on.  But because Clark never followed his heart, probably out of fear from some past experience, she doesn’t know that she is the best thing that ever happened to him.  What Johns may show in the power hookup, that settling for second best and not following your heart, is not living.  Life is so much sweeter when a hero risks.  Being invulnerable, Superman and Wonder Woman don’t have much risk physically – but emotionally, psychological and spiritually, they are very vulnerable, especially Clark.  The supernatural and magic causes him problems.  And now Diana is the daughter of a god, Zeus.  Many of her enemies are supernatural – and if he tries to defend her, he could get hurt or killed.  No more invulnerable.  Oops.  May as well go back to the humans.

Both Steve Trevor and Lois Lane risk emotionally.  They also risk physically.  Their spirits and intellect inspire hope in superbeings.  Diana and Clark need them to grow as characters and as heroes especially since their families are gone.

Matt Idelson made a comment during the 2011 SDCC when DC was rolling out the reboot.  Lois Lane was a beautiful trophy wife (totally disagree with that description) and Clark had a perfect life with her.  Actually Superman had more interesting stories which not only had battling aliens and criminals, but emotional, psychological, and spiritual stories.  But I digress. .  .   Now with the power hook up, Superman has the beautiful trophy sidekick???  Wonder Woman is not a side kick and should never be allowed to be perceived as such.  Characters thought of as sidekicks don’t get their own movie or television show.  Think about that DC.  Never let the media run away with your characterizations.  Keep some control!

The DC superheroes are products, yes.  But they are also beloved myths and DC Comics are their caretakers.  Let’s hope DC takes their responsibilities seriously and protect the icons from harm especially from the corporation.

A Superman without hope does not inspire and does not allow us to aspire.  He’s dull.  He’s without heart or soul.  As a Superman fan, I HOPE DC Comics will bring back the core of his personality to the story – AND SOON!  In the meantime, the DC administration needs to watch what they say and how it affects the people who love the character.  (The people with the money who buy the products.)  Superman fans are feeling more than a little bludgeoned after WONK, Grounded , the reboot and now the power hook up.  We need some hope . . . LIKE NOW!

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October 4, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . BaudyBlahBlahBlah.

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