Tags: why am i surprised?

cass, can you not

I'm not sure about how I feel about the premise of Gods and Monsters: Superman #1

"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.