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Big Changes for Superman in the DCnU

Superman 1

Okay, there has been alot of news released about the Superman titles today. Some of it disturbing, from one point of view… is there ANY good in it?

well Here is the Official Word from The Source:

He has been called the Man of Steel, the Last Son of Krypton and a strange visitor from a distant planet.

He is Superman, the Man of Tomorrow. As part of DC COMICS – THE NEW 52, this September will usher in a new Superman for the new century.

In the pages of ACTION COMICS, writer Grant Morrison and artist Rags Morales will present humanity’s first encounters with Superman, before he became one of the World’s Greatest Super Heroes. Set a few years in the past, it’s a bold new take on a classic hero.

* This Superman is very much an alien, one struggling to adjust to his adopted home. In the series, he must come to terms with both the loss of his home world, as well as the loss of both of his adopted parents. He is more Kal-El from the planet Krypton than Clark Kent from Kansas. He’s a loner trying to find his place in the world.

* The series’ first storyline will explore the origins of Superman’s costume, as it evolves from a look that includes jeans and work boots to a new look: a suit of battle armor that pays tribute to his Kryptonian past.

* His great powers have limits. When the series begins, Superman can leap tall buildings, but his ability to fly is in its infancy.

And in the SUPERMAN ongoing comic book series, by writer George Perez and artist Jesus Merino, will be set in present day continuity and will unleash a series of new challenges for Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent.

* Clark Kent is single and living on his own. He has never been married.

* Lois Lane is dating a colleague at the DAILY PLANET (and his name isn’t Clark Kent) and she has a new position with the paper.

Timeless and modern, classic and contemporary, but younger, brasher and more brooding, this is Superman. The New Man of Tomorrow.

There are some things that bother me right off the bat, never mind the Lois and Clark relationship, yes that bother’s me, I could even over look that if it were not for the fact that This Superman is very much an alien… He is more Kal-El from the planet Krypton than Clark Kent from Kansas. He’s a loner trying to find his place in the world.

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Why this bothers me: One of the BIG things that makes Superman SUPERMAN is the fact that despite the fact he is an “Alien from another world, with powers far beyond those of mortal men” he is very much “The farm boy from Kansas”. Clark Kent is NOT a disguise, Clark Kent is who he is. Superman is the disguise. Its not his alien-ness that makes him so special. It’s his human heart. Killing off the Kents doesn’t bother me as much as Clark’s abandoning of his humanity does.

Now… what I think they could be doing: The Kents are dead. Him dealing with the loss of his parents might very well be what leads him to “abandon” the idea of Clark Kent in favor of Kal-El. Maybe he feels he needs to explore his alien heritage. Maybe he is trying to avoid thinking about his parents’ death. Maybe in discovering more about his alien herritage he begins to appreciate his Human herritage more. In other words, it seems like they are pulling a reverse Smallville  here. Instead of Clark needing to embrace his Kryptonian side as well as his human side, He needs to embrace his Human side along with his Kryptonian side (does that make sense?).

Any scenario other than this, is completely missing the point on who and what Superman is. Its the merging of both his Human and Alien sides. It’s his Kryptonian Heritage and his VERY human heart that make him Superman.

If Action Comics gives us a Superman who is “dealing with the loss of his parents” I would more readily accept that. Okay, he is mourning. But if the Superman in Superman proper, is STILL rejecting his human upbringing, then we have a problem here. 

One of the Big things I loved about the Superman Mythos, is that it was his Mother, who made him the suit. Its more than that really, because its the idea that His parents, his human parents are the main reason WHY Clark Kent is Superman. Its the Values and Traditions and lessons THEY taught him. Now the suit, is “Ceremonial Kryptonian Battle Armor?” REALLY? I get the Idea of wanting to pay tribute to his Kryptonian Past, But the old suit did that. His old suit, Made by his mother was every bit as much a symbol of WHO HE WAS as anything else. It was a suit, made with his Kryptonian crest, and colors, but made by his human mother’s loving hands. It is a fusion of both Alien and Human. Now unless Ma Kent was an Arc-Welder (and to be honest, that would be kinda cool :) I don’t see her making Armor for Clark.

As far as Lois and Clark… I’m not too bothered by that at least right now… (oh it bothers me, but not as much as I mentioned above) It would be interesting to seem them rediscover a relationship. Also maybe make  her discover his “secret early on” because, lets face it, she is a KICK ASS reporter and SHOULD be able to suss it out on her own.  Other than that. I want to see how this plays out.

Truth be told I am on the (VERY EDGE) of the Fence on this one… I trust Morrison… but what I am hearing is very disconcerting… There are ways this can work out. I stated a few of them above. But there are SOOO many ways this can go wrong too… If anyone can pull together threads like this, is Morrison… But I am still very weary… I am willing to give this series a try before pulling a BND (Brand New Day) which will lead to MUCH ranting and raving…

Update: in an interview with Newsarama Dan Didio and Jim Lee had a bit more to say regarding Superman’s reboot.

"He’s had so much learning and understanding from the days with his parents, but the rest of the discovery is on his own," DiDio said, confirming the Clark will have been guided as a youth by the Kents, before their death.

This actually sounds like what I thought they were gonna do. have Action Comics be basically Clark exploring his Identity as both Superman and Clark Kent… I still feel nervous that they keep throwing out the words “Alien” and “Isolation” but I’m a little less worried because they at least confirm that Clark will have had some guidance from his human parents. It Kinda seems like… they will be taking a que from missing years in the Fortress during Superman the Movie (with Christopher Reeves).

"I think the issue of self-identity and knowing who you are is something that’s universal, and obviously, it’s a very powerful theme," Lee said. "I think characters, not just Superman but other superhero characters, have a very public face and also a private, personal identity"

I get this too. And on the surface I have no issue with this… But if Superman is still rejecting his human heritage in the Superman comics, then there is a problem. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Lee discribes Action Comics (the series that take place in the past) the exploration of self phase, or simply The Alienation phase.  Superman (the series that takes place in the Present) he describes as the establishing of relationships, and while Clark and Lois have not been married, they ARE going to have a relationship, and that will be explored (yes it is the Triangle, but they said they have added something to it, maybe Perry’s son like in Superman Returns, god forbid…)