I can probably say that I am a bit of a pessimist when it comes to general matters. It comes to my attention and experience that most things, which tend to have a positive intention, have a seedy undercurrent. Now, news has been spreading about a specific story in the current “96 page spectacular” issue of Action Comics #900 in regards to the most popular super hero figure of all time, Superman. In June of 1938, the first issue of Action Comics was published with Superman spouting the motto, “Truth, justice, and the American way!” Presently, this legendary saying has been augmented by DC Comics in their current four-color publication.
In the nine-page story, entitled “The Incident” written by David S. Goyer (“Batman Begins,” “The Dark Knight,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” and “Superman: Man of Steel,”) Superman has just returned from a peaceful mission promoting Solidarity in Tehran, Iran. On the brink of civil war, the Man of Steel stands rooted in between the two opposing mobs. He unflinchingly holds his ground. In turn, the Iranians shower the super hero with flowers and Molotov Cocktails. He stays for one full day, and when his 24 hours is up, he departs without saying a word. After his self-appointed mission, Superman relates this story to the President’s National Security Advisor, Gabriel Wright. He has come to Camp David to tell the President that he is renouncing his United States citizenship. Superman goes on to say, “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. Policy. “Truth, justice, and the American way” – It’s not enough anymore. The world’s too small. Too connected.”
I can appreciate Goyer trying to expand the scope of Superman’s influence from one country to the entire globe in the context of the story, but the “Man of Steel” sports the cape, tights, and colors of the red, white, and blue of the United States. Will that change as well? I can only be reminded of Bryan Singer’s failed effort in 2006’s “Superman Returns” where the words “…the American way” were cut out of his motto and the script. When those words were omitted, I felt Superman had been the victim of Hollywood’s left wing practitioners. Being American is an integral part of Superman’s character. It would be easier to slice away Clark Kent from Superman, than to take the “American Way” out of big blue. So why abolish it now?
Has the controversy been created to sell more copies of issue #900? After all, it does go for a hefty $5.99 cover price, and it has sold out. Word has it; it’s going into its second printing, because of this very controversy. Perhaps this is the case, but I am not solely content with that explanation. I understand Superman’s motives. I can appreciate what he says. I don’t fault his character for that, but this story should have never made it across the editor’s desk, which in this case is shared by Matt Idelson and Wil Moss. Superman is a global champion and he will always be affiliated with America whether he renounces his citizenship or not. Will this type of thinking be carried over to the script for “Superman: Man of Steel?” David S. Goyer wrote the story for that feature as well.
Let’s look at the Man of Steel’s origin, Kal-El rockets to Earth from the obliterated planet of Krypton as an infant. He is adopted by the Kent family and raised on a farm in Smallville, Kansas. The Kents impart their new son, Clark, with proper values, morals, and the influence and advice to use his powers for the greater good. Superman’s creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster made Superman for purely wholesome patriotic reasons. America needs Superman, as much as Superman needs America, Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and Lex Luthor. All of these elements are linked together.
Because the “real” world has changed, it doesn’t mean Superman’s fundamental values have to shift as well. He is a steadfast pillar on today’s tumultuous world stage. Let him remain that way. After all, how many people come to the United States (legally and illegally) with the desire to live in this great country? If Superman wants to renounce his citizenship, he should not have the advantages of residing here. He should depart and resign himself to live on the sun, moon, or in the Phantom Zone. Also, he should speak his native tongue of Krypton. America takes an opinionated brow beating from every other country on this planet. Fiscally, America, and the rest of the world, are suffering through a depression. Mentally, it has taken its toll. Yet, America still endures. Why give Superman a change of heart, especially at this time? Even if he is a fictional character, America will always need the Man of Steel!
Finally, before going off half cocked, it is important to note, Superman is planning to do this controversial move. It’s not a done deal. Basically, he is thinking out loud. More than likely, he is using Gabriel Wright as a sounding board. However, there is still time for him, with some assistance from Lois Lane, to change his mind.
“Truth, justice, and the American way!” Forever!