Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Superman Bullet Points

After reading the interview with Mike Johnson and Michael Green about Supergirl and hearing their thoughts about the character, I then got to read some 'bullet points' about the 'new' Superman on the DC Source blog. Here is that link:

So here are some of those points and my reactions.

* 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.

This is the point that worries me the most. Here we are talking about Morrison's Action Comics here, which starts in the past when Superman is just being introduced to the world. But for me, it has always been the Kents and the way they raised Clark that made him be Superman. They taught him to do what's right, to help other people, to be a part of this world instead of ruling above it. Sure, he is an alien and has to deal with that. But a loner? I don't think Superman has ever been portrayed as that ... ever. Does every hero in the DCnU start out as an isolated loner?

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

I think Morrison has said in the past that he would like to explore a Golden Age style Superman and this is probably as close as he will be able to get. What else will be different? Will a 'bursting shell' be able to harm him as in Action Comics #1 (volume 1). In some ways, is this first arc in the past the Superman:Secret Origin of the DCnU, a mere year after Johns/Frank's mini-series?

I actually don't mind this part and look forward to seeing what Morrison does with it. As I have said many times, I am a big fan of Morrison. I have loved almost everything he has done. And this interview on with him on CBR makes it sound more reasonable:

But I am never happy when I see police officers shooting at Superman. And it looks like I am going to see that based on some preview Action Comics pages seen on Bleeding Cool here:

There are other points brought up dealing more with George Perez' Superman title.

* 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.

Well, there goes the marriage. I had really come to love and accept the Clark/Lois relationship. It further rooted Superman into humanity. I think it put Lois more in the spotlight, letting her become a part of adventures rather than on the sideline. And it allowed for a wider range of interactions with Clark/Superman.

The question is what position does she have with the Planet. Is she writing love columns like back in the 30s? I don't think so. Is she editor now? Is there no Perry White? That is more likely.

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

Brasher and brooding.

Remember when so much of the discussion around the DCnU was about bringing characters back to their most classic and recognizable form. That's why Babs is Batgirl again, etc.

Too bad DC doesn't realize what the 'classic and most recognizable' forms of the Superman Family are. Because an angry and alienated Supergirl who dislikes humanity is not Supergirl. And a brooding Superman is not classic. It would be like coming out and saying that it was time to update James Bond and he is now celibate and a pacifist. That might be an interesting spy idea but it isn't James Bond.

As always, I will read the book with an open mind. And Morrison rarely disappoints. But much of what I am reading about the DCnU characters sounds off the mark.


Anonymous said...

Will DC kill Supergirl in the DC online comic? It's almost like a reflex with Wolfman. One upcoming preview says a character will die, the next issue shows a maniacal looking Superman on the cover and states that he is aftef revenge and might kill Braniac. Not happy about this. Kill someone else for a change.

As far as Morrison's Action Comics, this is the one title besides Supergirl that I'm interested in and I think sounds like an improvememt. The earliest Superman stood up against social injustice even when it meant resisting authority and the status quo. He was far more interesting than the conservative boyscout who behaves the way the rich and powerful want him to, even when it's wrong.

Morrison's Superman and the new Supergirl both sound great to me.

mathematicscore said...

I don't see Morrison's new Superman as brooding; just more of a tough guy and a little brasher. I honestly don't mind stepping away from the Messiah aspect and a little more towards the pulpy, square jawed adventurer with a conscience.

valerie21601 said...

It seems in general the entire DCnU is a much darker place.

Example: Animal Man is going to be so very dark that Buddy Baker's series is going to be part of the Dark lineup at DC. I really like the character of Buddy and to find out he's going down the type of path Swamp Thing did. I don't like where DC is headed.

Kandou Erik said...

With Superman being a brooding loner, and Kara not thinking much of regular humans - it makes me think it's going to be a while before we start to see the humanity of these characters. Exploring their alien origins is fine -- but I keep flashing back to the plans Tim Burton had for when he was going to do a Superman movie; where he took the alien side of Superman and made it so much bigger than it should be - to the point where that probably wouldn't have even been a Superman we could recognize.

Please note, though, my initial misgivings about these bullet points should in no way infer how excited I am about this new Superman franchise. Grant Morrison has consistently sold me, whole heartedly, on even the most outrageous concepts. I think this really could be the beginning of something big. This Superman book is indeed different - but it also seems like it's fun, which is a feeling we need in comics these days.

valerie21601 said...

Ironically I just recently came across the Tim Burton's Superman Lives trailer, some of the preliminary shots, plans and some of the behind the scenes film on the special effects on the Youtube channel for it.

Depending on how it ended it could have been interesting. If Kal-El came to terms about his two heritages at the end of it.

His body is Kryptonian and his body born on Krypton but his heart, mind and soul is of Earth. Like so many adopted children born overseas they go through a period of this doubt as to which culture they really belong to. Should they go back and embrace their old birth land and old heritage or embrace the heritage of their adopted parents gave them even though they aren't of the same race? The majority embrace their adopted family and their culture while acknowledging the people who gave birth to them.

If Burton's version of Superman came to terms with it and had him looking forward to the future it could have been interesting.

Marc Burkhardt said...

It really sounds like Morrison is doing his take on the earliest Superman tales, when he was in fact a brash loner (no other super-heroes around then) whose view of truth, justice and the American Way often ran counter to how the rich and powerful wanted society to behave.

Which often led to cops taking pot shots at the Man Of Steel.

Sets up a much more interesting dynamic with the capitalist Luthor … although I still miss the mad scientist with rampant jealousy issues that appeared in the Silver Age.

Anonymous said...

I dunno he looks silly in that short cape, although the jeans and boots etc sort of remind me of Philip Wylie's "Hugo Danner" superhuman character. MAybe that is DC's plan her, if they lose copyright to Superman, just keep going with morose old Hugo. Superman's alien nature isn't what is so interesting about him, it's a strong supporting plot point, but it's what he does with his powers and abilities, the rigorous self sacrifice the commitment if you will that forms the core of the character.
Superman "Is the Job", Supergirl on the other hand, being younger and with a few intellectual & emotional options unavailable to Kal El, simply loves the job.
If they are brooding and "Alienated" with a capital A, then they are in some sense no different than all the other Sci Fi visitors out there.
I wish everyone the joy of this new configuration but it doesn't sound very original and it doesn't seem like it will be successful.

John Feer

Dave Mullen said...

I wish everyone the joy of this new configuration but it doesn't sound very original and it doesn't seem like it will be successful.

Yeah, I'm optimistic on one hand but can definitly see some real problems ahead, and on more levels than one.
Where Superman is concerned Grant Morrisons take looks terrific, full of his usual energy and intensity, I've no doubt he's the man for the job but at the same time I wonder if DC would be willing to cede control over the character to him and his vision. What the character needs is a writer(s) with a vision and a plan but based on the last few years virtually no writer has been allowed to have that sort of near absolute control or tenure to implement their design.
I don't know apart from Morrison who could realistically have the power and ability to really change things and bring the character out of the doldrums he's been locked in for years now - certainly James Robinson, Geoff Johns and JM Stracynski all had their shots and with limited results, so who's left?

Supergirl I'm thinking is a similar sort of problem but since most of the September Superman reboot is built around gimmick and hype so too is Supergirl being built around a soundbite - moody xenophobic alien teen.
You can only do that for a little while as despite what DC thinks most teens just aren't that easily definable, I don't think an unpleasant Supergirl is going to appeal to much of an audience as teens and readers grow up so fast the angsty Supergirl here might actually be too immature for them!

Anj said...

Thanks for all the discussion.

The more I read about Morrison's book the more I think it will be a good book. I loved 'All Star Superman' and that had the right feel to it. Even though this is a younger Superman, I think that core will still be there.

As for Supergirl, back about 4 years ago, DC realized that the constantly angsty angry alienated Supergirl wasn't working. Then came Puckett, Gates, etc. My hope is that these opening arcs will move Supergirl along the journey. But that is my hope.