Does It Get Better : Superman # 702
I pretty much raped Superman 701 when it came out. I mean, if my words were an erection, Superman 701 would have been an unwilling arsehole. Though that may not be the best analogy, (heh…anal-ogy) because Superman 701 still exists while I feel a little bit of my soul died while reading it. So, who was really the victim in that scenario is clearly up for debate. That having been said, I’m a stupid comic book fan and despite how much I hated the last issue, I had to soldier on with the title because I’ve been collecting it for so long that I honestly don’t know how to not buy Superman every damned month. I stuck it out through the New Krypton stuff so god only knows why I would give up now. It’s not like Superman has ever been that great. All the really good superman stories happen elsewhere (All Star Superman, Superman : Secret Identity, Kingdom Come, etc.) but I have a fairly large collection of the title and don’t want to have a gap when I look back at my collection. I suppose I could back-issue hunt at conventions or something, but don’t tell me how to engage my nerditry.
So, I’m still reading Superman, big whoop, who cares? Nobody, but I have a blog and I’m going to use it. Mostly to broadcast my opinions because everyone ignores them when I’m in the store. YOU CAN’T IGNORE THE INTERNET! Wow, I’m rambling. Chalk that up to caffeine defecency as I’ve given up sodas in an attempt to live a somewhat healthier lifestyle that doesn’t include five cokes at every meal and subsiding mostly on Mexican food and pizza. So, after having some grapes and a cereal bar for lunch, my energy level is at a slight fluctuation point. What does that have to do with Superman? Nothing. That’s why it’s called rambling.
The crux of this article, as one can tell from the title is “Does It Get Better?” Meaning, simply, does JMS’s second issue of Superman come off stronger than his debut? Well, to be honest that first issue was so bad it’d be hard not to improve. I’m sorry, that’s just how I feel. I don’t think there’s been a worse issue of Superman written in a long time. Way to set the bar, bro. Anyhow, the second issue is here and I thought i’d examine it from it’s place in the larger scheme of things. More to the point, I want to examine whether Stracynski even has a point with this story.
The issue is a definite step up, but then again I’ve already quantified that. In this issue Superman heads to Detroit where he finds a group of illegal aliens (in the sense that they’re from another planet and not that they hopped the border from an adjoining nation) who he tries to lecture about coming here illegally, which they even point out is a bit hypocritical. He then meets an old fella who used to work at one of the car factories but now works as a security guard watching over their abandoned husks. It’s a somewhat hamfisted statement about the way the US economy is functioning, and what’s frustrating about this issue aside from Superman’s wonky moral compass (which seems to be a persistant issue in this arc, as Superman’s worldview doesn’t seem to match up with what it has been in the past and I doubt that his recent trials and tribulations would have affected him this heavily) is the manner in which he resolves the issues of the Detroit economy all by himself.
The concept of Superman playing god simply does not work for me. Superman has made multiple speeches about what he can and can’t do because he doesn’t want to play god, because he’s not one. But in this issue, JMS seems to use Superman as a force that can solve all of the woes of the world if he puts his resources together. So why then is there every any strife in the DCU? Superman could solve everything by JMS’ reasoning. I get the point that he is trying to make, but I think that he’s missing the point of what Superman is and the limits that the character has that prevent him from becoming irrelevant.
So yes, the book got better. This one didn’t inspire outright anger inside me, simply an unshakeable feeling of disappointment that someone who claims to love the character so much is writing him in a way that contradicts everything I myself love about the character. Such is life.