Why SUPERMAN Needs To Be Brought Out To Pasture (Or Changed)
While this may sound like blasphemy to some, I've come to the conclusion that Superman as a character needs to be benched. Read on further to hear my reasoning.
I want to preface this article by saying that there's been many moments in my life where I've had a fondness for Superman. Watching Superman or Superman II I have fond memories of. I also remember watching the Superman Animated TV Series, and subsequently the Justice League cartoon. So with my following points, I'll hope you understand that it's not stemming from fanboy hatred, or blind nerd rage; but rather a healthy criticism for the character.
IMPERVIOUS TO CHANGE
It's inevitable that as times change, so do our heroes and villains. I can think of so many examples. The Joker has changed many times since his first appearance, and so has Batman. Spider-Man is now his former arch-nemesis; Captain America was for one period of time his former sidekick. You get what I'm getting at here, that sometimes the status quo for a hero is changed.
This is not to say that Superman hasn't had attempts at a reinvention. There was Red Son; and even Man of Steel in a way could be considered a reinvention. The problem is that the changes are either temporary (ala Red Son) or they completely piss off a huge sect of the fan base.
In Man of Steel Superman was admittingly a bit of a jerk. There's always the criticism of the destruction he so mindlessly let happen; there's also the whole end scene where he drops the drone from the sky. I always remember Superman from the Dark Knight Returns book. So it was jarring to see the same Superman who for the Government took down Bruce Wayne then drop military equipment. This could be for the sake of the story; and reversing the two. That said, it didn't quite work (if this was the case).
No matter what different writers try, it's almost impossible to change Sueprman without pissing off his fan base. It's a tough task, I'll agree to that. I'm just seeing Superman at a tough crossroad of sticking to his iconography, or going in a radical direction. Either way, it's something that seemingly draws controversy.
WHAT'S SO 'SUPER' ABOUT SUPERMAN?
While Superman may have been one of a kind when he first debuted, he's now in a crowded market of similar heroes such as:
Even characters like the Hulk take a trait like Superman's (in this case near Invulnerability) and add nuance. Like Superman, The Hulk is nearly invincible but unlike Superman, The Hulk has issues to contend with. With Superman being near-perfect in every way; I think it's nice to have a character like The Hulk who has flaws. This isn't to say that Superman doesn't, but they're never really apparent; and like I elaborated on earlier, any time writers try to add nuance to Superman it never quite goes over well.
MAKE SURE YOU KICK A DEAD CORPSE
In arguably one of Superman's most popular stories, The Death and Return of Superman it had a major chance to completely send the status quo of the character into complete upheaval. Instead, months later, Superman returns...alive.
Like the video above illustrates, the story was meant to completely revive Superman, problem is that it didn't really. It wasn't executed well, and instead of leaving the character dead and giving him an amazing story to which he could've gone out on, they made everything null. All it did was give DC a temporary boost in Superman sales.
His resurrection also showed that death is not permanent in comics.
The ultimate problem with Superman is his iconography. In much the same ways that we don't like reboots, or the Star Wars prequels, Superman is too iconic for him to continue in much of a different way.
I'd love to see a complete departure from who the character is, but DC wouldn't allow it, and the fans won't allow it. If we can't change the character; give him nuance or anything like that. What's there left to do?
I don't like suggesting this lightly, but I think it's time that DC take the spotlight off Superman and give a spot on the JLA to a new character. Characters like Flash, Green Lantern, and of course Batman have been reinvented throughout the years but Superman is the one hold out. I think DC, and it's fans, owe it to themselves to try something new.
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