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"Truth, justice and the American way" has a very different meaning to a Superman raised by poor immigrant farmers. He’s seen abuse and injustice his whole life – and now he’s ready to let the world know what happens when a Man of Steel gets angry..


On one hand, there's an interesting (Watsonian) argument to be made about how Clark Kent's usual tendency to maintain overall status quo in spite of the physical, technological, and political power at his disposal is intimately tied to being raised in a cultural and social milieu where, when things go wrong, the instinctive response is to blame it on change from the past, rather than showing the need of change from the present (whatever your opinion on their suitability as child-rearing environments or their ecological sustainability, family farms are in economic terms heavily subsidized historical reserves, specially in the developed world). The same, by the way, can be argued about Bruce; he reminds me of that episode of NewsRadio where billionaire Jimmy James pretended to run for President, and he said something along the lines of You know what's wrong with America? *Nothing*. From where I'm standing, everything looks alright.. The first and biggest thing that ever went *personally* wrong for Bruce was the murder of his parents, so he dedicated himself to fighting that. He does good work with the Wayne Foundation, but he isn't personally invested in social change the way he's personally invested in punching criminals. It's weird, but fitting, that Diana, who's bona fide royalty, is the only one in the Trinity attempting to help along a profound societal change, being the real outsider among them (and, although it's change in a direction of making our society closer to hers, it's done out of empathy for people who suffer something she *hasn't* (although her society did went through it in a particularly traumatic way), and thus speaks well of her even beyond the intrinsic undeniable worth of what she's attempting). This Superman is angry in a way that canon Superman should be. I'm not saying he should go full Red Son, but there are degrees. (Bruce is a bit more excusable - even a person with his resources cannot change an entire city, specially one as deeply fucked up as Gotham - but still, as Batman he attempts the impossible in a weekly basis, as Bruce Wayne he does things Thomas Wayne would have done, and in the way he would have done them --- and there's a clue, methinks).

On the other hand (having lost sight of the first one)... if AU!Superman is to canon!Superman as AU!Batman (remember, villain-eating vampire) is to canon!Batman (and the pre-movie shorts do show this Superman ignoring civilians in danger during a fight), then the underlying message is simply a racist and classist one ("see how latinos and poor people raise their kids?").

I mean, a vampire!Batman AU is definitely a dark one (heck, the title is Gods and Monsters, and I'm not sure it refers to different sets of individuals), and the change in premise for Superman is that he was raised by migrant latino farm hands (I also think he's Zod's son, which adds a different layer of genetic predisposition awfulness).

Ok, now I know how I feel: intrigued by the critical possibilities involved in the premise, and disappointed by the social backwardness of the execution.

DC: We have looked at all possible universes, and nobody is as decent as a Kansas farmboy, or as cool as an East Coast billionaire. Feel free to cease your societal criticism and dedicate the time to figure out who'd win in a fight between them. You're welcome.

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #42

I'll keep making squee posts like this one long as they keep making issues like that one.

I mean, the threat turned out to be more creative than I had expected, and the solution... James Roberts has no sense of authorial shame at all, and it's BEAUTIFUL. I can't imagine the man isn't having an absolute blast writing this comic; not because of the franchise, but because of what he's writing.

Injection #2

It's such a Warren Ellis work in conception, dialogue, and pacing that the name on the cover is almost ridiculously redundant. That's the best reason for or against reading it, depending on your tastes.

One thing of note: his use of non-dialogue text is quite interesting, somewhat similar in spirit to his Moon Knight run. Not as out there as more experimental comics, but he's probably one of the current relatively well-known comic book writers that focuses the most on fiddling with media possibilities in general (his email newsletter is often a record of what he's reading and thinking about, and although I don't share many of his interests, he's clearly a reflective and inquisitive writer).

As an aside, Morrison's Nameless #4 is also pure late Morrison, which means it's a deranged excursion into forces of reality-destroying supernatural evil.

You know, the transition between Morrison's early JLA and Morrison's Final Crisis could be described as going from professionals so badass they become legendary to legends so legendary they become godlike. A movement from tactical engineering to hermeneutical magic, if you will.

I need to update my media firewalls

I was avoiding the latest Secret Wars, but upon learning that it was set up on an universe created by 616's Doom (somewhat more resiliently than the last time he did that), I picked it up.

Big mistake.

In this re-created universe, where Doom is god, etc, etc (although in a relatively, for Doom, relaxed way), you know who's Doom's queen? Susan. And you know how Val, the head of Doom's Foundation, calls him? Father.

Ugh.

Hickman's Doom is one of the smartest, most driven and interesting versions of the character, but his brand of psychological issues is very, very unnerving. He's not just, or mainly, trying to get revenge on Reed. He's so focused on unseating him it's positively juvenile. He admires Susan, but he doesn't love her (one of the things that, well, dooms Doom is that there's nobody in the world he loves or he's personally loved by, hence his cult of personality in Latveria, which would otherwise be beneath him: why would Doom care for the opinion of the lesser?), and even if he did love her he's no Namor. He just wants Susan because she is Reed's (not how either Reed or Susan would put it, of course, but that's a different and parallel crazy of Doom's).

Reminds me of Luthor on his worst days, so focused on proving he's better than Superman at Superman's thing that he becomes a lesser version of himself as Luthor.

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Something I posted about four years ago


There have always been ill-considered reboots. There will always be. They are annoying.

But they are powerless. They are no longer their characters. They are nobody's, everybody's, ours. They are ideas, symbols, aspirations, and hopes --- they will outlast corporations, and are as liable to copyright as mathematics and love.

Stay calm. It's just a class-2 ontological emergency. The Justice League is on the job.


Something I needed to remember. (Not that the fact that this becomes relevant every year or so hasn't turned darkly hilarious.)

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Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #41

I know I sound like a broken record, but dammit, it's good. It's good sci-fi, it's funny (I want Rodimus to lead the Justice League and the Avengers), and nothing and nobody is safe.

New life rule

If the issue zero of DC's latest attempt to concoct a flimsy excuse for random x vs y fights, this time an hyper-Brainiac who put stolen cities in domes somewhere outside to universe and will have heroes fight to the death for their survival, is titled Domesday, then you know the thing is hopeless, and you might as well wait until the fights are over and see what happens then.

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On Daredevil's latest costume change

Never change, Matt, you beautiful insane person.

He has either the best or worst secret identity management skills in the business.This has lead to some of his friends suffering, but, to be fair, this also happens a lot to his more secretive colleagues. In a world full of cameras and databases, there's much to be said for the open, humorous approach.

I mean, can you imagine Clark Kent doing that? Granted, he has much more powerful enemies, and it wouldn't be compatible with either Superman or Clark's public images as they currently stand — you can't really be Superman (I thought about using words like "the world's most beloved superhero", "iconic", etc, but, no, the right phrase is "you can't be Superman", which is both all of this and more) if people know you have a day job and lived in Smallville, USA. Hell, the US would reinstate mandatory military service just to get to give him orders.

So, really, there are practical issues to this idea. Bruce could be an open Batman more easily. He breaks the law every night, but have you seen his lawyer pool? If Luthor gets away with trying to take over the world every other week, Wayne would definitely get away with saving people all the time. Plus, most of his big enemies already know who he is, so that cat (pun not intended) has left the bag.

But Bruce, professional trinity-level badass that he is, doesn't have the kind of godlike power Clark does. Nobody particularly wants to use him, either as weapon or for propaganda; if anything, they'd like him to go the hell away.

The Multiversity: Ultra Comics 001

You have to give Morrison his due: he has a vision and he's running with it with unshackeable consistency and attention to detail. Granted, this doesn't always lead to an enjoyable comic, but he seems absolutely willing to go to whatever depths of inanity his story might lead him, and us, to.

Morrison, Moore, even Miller (within very different intellectual traditions, of course) — there's something about being a really successful comic book writer that seems to lead to violent meta-narratives. It can be clever, and sometimes fascinating, but it also feels sterile. Quoth Tolkien, he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.

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*laughs at himself*

Apologies for the minor obsession.


  1. Hickman showed us a Justice League analogue in the Marvel multiverse (and then Doctor Strange killed them).

  2. Given the nature of an infinite multiverse, if you have a Justice League analogue, you have all of them.

  3. So you have all possible variations of the Justice League... and all possible variations of the Crime Sindicate.

  4. Including ones in which Owlman succeeded.



Occam's Razor: Who killed the multiverse by destroying a single Earth? The guy who figured out how, said he would, and built the bomb to do it, that's who.

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