The first thing I want to say is I do not have a problem with the character, Superman, this book, and what’s more, I have a lot of respect for Geoff Johns as a comic writer, creator, producer, and just, like, dude.
But what I want to start by saying — and I’ve said, and will say, a number of things about Superman properties — is that it’s hard to clear the imprint of Richard Donner and Christopher Reeve’s iteration of the character from your mind, in order to form a clear opinion about him/it at any point.
That iteration is, like, the Coke of soda; the Kleenex of tissue; the iPod of MP3s– Sorry to date myself, there, but that’s why we’re here in the first place. Because I’m dating myself. Because my Superman — this Superman — is, in fact, the ‘Superman’ brand —
However, as a now just pre-40s, reluctantly post-Marvel, waning and embittered waxing-idealist adult, I still am finding this reacquaintance of mine with the DC Universe quite jarring, and so, that’s why this post, and my revisiting of the Superman comics in the form of this book club, is fucking cynical.
Or, well, just different, I guess.
I mean, the things is, they’re just so different, DC and Marvel. DC zigs where Marvel, just, like, well, I dunno, puts all its characters in leather pants, or some shit. I dunno. You say “tom-AY-toe,” I say “Red Tornado.” Whatevs. They’re just different. The two lines are as oppositional in tone and purpose from each other as any two things under the same banner of a thing could possibly be.
They’re like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid, but then Joe Piscopo as Kelly Stone inspired by Martin Kove as John Kreese in Karate Kid.
My argument, then, is that the Donner/Reeves’ Superman is folly, and shouldn’t be taken seriously, or especially as gospel.
Yeesh. I know, right? Heavy.
But, I’m sorry, it’s just dated feel-goodery, nonsensical, opine, heyday bullshit, and I have to dismiss it to give my reinterpretation of this character any kind of echo-able credo going forward into such a dark future. Now, I don’t count Superman Returns as an installment at all in this measure, because that piece of pure shit wasn’t nothing but a hiccup; a bland experiment in homage with very little leftover but charm going for it, [and also, I think its director — who I will not name — needs to see a day in court for some pretty serious #MeToo brand accusations against him]. Lastly, I assure you, here and now, that I’m not now, and never will, tout the most recent swole definish of The Brah of Steel, brah like it has any punch in this fight, even though we’re probably in a punch fight, when it comes down to it.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s DCMU is just anti-canon crap altogether. Trash fire!
Honestly, looking back on the Donner/Reeves Superman, and fast-forwarding to the Snyder/Cavill one, is like the plot of Daddy’s Home, in reverse — in this iteration ‘Step-Dad’ and his macho date-rape chatter get closer to conviction with every successive inch of sideburn, while ‘Dad’ is a cardigan-sporting mush-mouthed wuss who’s greatest hurdle in life is a pretty serious stigmatism.
I have to start from scratch every time we read a Superman comic.
Which brings us to this six issue limited series, Secret Origin, by DC eminence, Johns, released in an attempt to establish the character’s “definitive” origin story in the Universe following the events of the Infinite Crisis continuity.
The fact of the matter is, I suppose, you could do worse in a comic establishing an ‘origin,’ for a character as seminal as Supes. Johns is such an apt writer, and is able to give a fresh coat of taupe or mauve colored paint on some very woe-be-gone Golden/Silver Age-style content. It still occurs, however, with the same reverberations of anachronism as many of the other ‘new’ iterations. I admittedly am not yearning for reinterpretations of storylines that I would consider passé. And I certainly am not yearning for another origin tale, where I have to wait around for three-quarters of the run to be able to watch that character do the thing I’ve been waiting for three-quarters of the run to do. I don’t need an imaging of Clark’s exploration of his powers via the alter-ego we never asked for: Superboy. I don’t need another aw-shucks, hee-haw explanation for how he lands on choosing the colors for his dorky-ass outfit. And I certainly never asked for another characterization of Luthor, as Smallville’s misunderstood boy-genius as teen-angsty budding evildoer.
If I seek anything, it’s the interpolation of the characters as they are into the world, one that is theirs, maybe a little ours, or both. It’s a feat I’m reluctant to say that Zack Snyder, and co-screenwriter — chronic lukewarm temp in-human-form — David Goyer, almost nailed, if it weren’t for whatever Nolan-isms and HGH that got in their sad little ex-nerd-boy ways.
What I was left with when I tackled this title, then, in my opinion, was a lot of one thing or none of the other; or a lot of the other thing, and then, like, Krypto. Sorry, Geoff, but this didn’t do it for me so much. You’re as dough-eyed for the good ole days as the best that vile humanoid dips hit, Alan Moore, can be, but just too much of a company man to splice a dick pic into the end credits.
Superman, continually, doesn’t, so much, get a bad rap as much as he just doesn’t get a rap at all. He’s got the rep, he’s got the standards. But every time he’s out with a fresh EP, but there’s no one with any mainstream to really help him rep. If we’re not careful, he’s gonna end up back on the corner trying to sell his bootlegs.