You knew I was going to weigh in on this one, right?
Last week, Action #900 hit the stands. A milestone not only for Superman but for the entire comic book industry. It is a 96 page spectacular that features several stories. One in particular touched off no small amount of controversy, not to mention news stories.
The story that caused all the ruckus is “The Incident”, written by David S. Goyer. In the story , The Man Of Steel takes part in a non-violent protest in Iran, which mirrors closely events happening in the real world. People all over the Middle East are crying out for their essential rights to Truth, Justice and Freedom. In solidarity Superman plants himself like a tree, not moving or speaking but letting his presence serve as a personal statement.
What could be more AMERICAN than that?
Of course when Superman returns to the US he is confronted by a presidential aide who lets our guy have it with both barrels:
“So what purpose did your showboating serve? Your actions have created an international incident. The Iranian government is accusing you of acting on the President’s behalf. They’re calling your interference an act of war.”
Superman agrees that his act WAS foolish, which is why he is going to inform the UN that he is renouncing his American Citizenship. He is tired of having his actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy.
In short The Man Of Tomorrow believes that “Truth, Justice, and The American Way, it’s not enough anymore”
Superman wants to be a hero and a symbol to ALL the people of the earth. He wants to do everything to bring freedom to people who are lacking it.
What could be more American than THAT?
So a bunch of news reporters who probably never read the story , tab Superman as a “traitor”.
First of all, Superman is not a person. Superman is a JOB. Clark Kent is the real person and HE is not renouncing anything, so Tea Party members can relax and go back to polishing their framed Joe McCarthy photographs.
As to Superman he simply has recognized what ANY thinking person in the 21st century should know. We are a GLOBAL community.
The phrase “Truth, Justice and the American Way” was made famous by the introduction of the Adventures Of Superman with George Reeves. A show I grew up loving, but also a show produced at the HEIGHT of the Cold War. It was a time when jingoism ran rampant through our country, A time when we blacklisted people who we only SUSPECTED had communist leanings.
Those days are gone. It is 2011 now, and the character reflects the sensibilities of THIS generation, not necessarily mine.
Superman wants to serve that global community AND protect his country from political blowback. Those are not the acts of a traitor. They are the acts of a patriot.
This sort of thing is hardly unprecedented in comics. We have seen the Justice League Of America become Justice League International and just plain Justice League.
Back in the 1970’s Steve Rogers renounced the mantle of Captain America and became Nomad because he found that serving the American Idea and serving any single administration were not necessarily the same thing. He only picked up the Shield again once he was able to make it clear that he was serving the American WAY as opposed to a political reality.
Superman…Clark is a quintessentially AMERICAN individual. Like many immigrants he has embraced the American Idea even more fervently than a native born person. He understands that freedom, justice, individual rights, all at the CORE of the American Idea must extend to ALL people or they mean nothing. At the heart of this concept is President Lincoln’s observation that as long as ONE person is denied freedom, no one is really free.
What could be more American than LINCOLN?
So calm down!
Whatever label he chooses to wear…Human, Kryptonian, World Citizen of The World
…Superman will always fight for
The American Way
(And can we get a Superman Cap team up? Just for me??!...please?)