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Author Topic: Saddest Superman  (Read 33173 times)
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #40 on: September 09, 2005, 10:25:01 PM »

Quote from: "Captain Kal"
With all due respect, Maximara, Byrne and Levitz co-created the Pocket Universe.  While it appeared in the LSH book immediately before Byrne's Superman #8, it was a coordinated effort between the two books that both writers worked together on to establish a patch.  They failed.  That failure figures largely in how the Pocketverse couldn't handle the likes of Mon-El, Supergirl, or the classic LSH stories involving time travel, or the Computo storyline which linked back to Superman's/Batman's time and that continuity.  Both books came out in Aug. 1987. [/i]


I'm not entirely aware of the history of this period, so I really can't comment on if they had the idea at the same time.

But I see much more of Byrne's influence in the Pocket Universe. It involved illogical explanations and shoddy, easily punctured scholarship, and this is Byrne's trademark: remember his ever-so-well-thought-out DOOM PATROL reboot? Pocket Universe also had heroism tarnished by deliberately antisocial actions and minimalization of concepts that better writers made grand (the Superboy world was just a POCKET UNIVERSE all along? Huh?)

Paul Levitz on the other hand, is someone whose history rewrites are lame and unsatisfying, but at least are airtight and hard to argue with. For instance, remember the retcon that Validus was the deformed son of Lightning Lad sent back in time as Darkseid's curse on the Legion? While it was such a terrible idea it made me want to chuck that annual against the wall as hard as possible, I really can't argue with it intellectually:

1) Validus's powers are "Mental Lightning," a combination of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad's powers;

2) Validus DOES have the mind of a child;

3) People from Lightning Lad's planet are in fact, commonly twins;

4) Validus's background was never truly explained, which means there's nothing for this story to contradict.

Whereas Byrne's DOOM PATROL rewrite made no sense, did not work with the framework of established DC History and is actually contradicted by it at several points (the Doom Patrol appearance in Superman and in JLA: YEAR ONE), and leaves various unexplained loose ends he couldn't be bothered with tying up (Changeling from the Teen Titans, for one).

So, all things considered this is more like Byrne's handiwork than Levitz's. Levitz was a fanboy turned writer, in the same category as Mark Gruenwald. Not BAD, but...you really wish Cary Bates had a few more Legion stories left in him.

If it WAS more Byrne's idea, then, well, there's just more proof on the whole "Byrne is really the devil" theory.

If it WAS more Levitz's idea, my respect for him falls from a sufficient, detail-obsessed but average writer, to one who is responsible for destruction instead of creation, the greatest sin in any creative field.
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Captain Kal
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« Reply #41 on: September 09, 2005, 10:32:23 PM »

FYI, ironically, a fan letter from the Silver Age suggested that the offspring of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl would have mental lightning powers.  Whether Levitz was aware of that letter or not, his Validus origin was preceded by that fan's idea.
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Captain Kal

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Maximara
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« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2005, 04:44:45 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
But I see much more of Byrne's influence in the Pocket Universe. It involved illogical explanations and shoddy, easily punctured scholarship, and this is Byrne's trademark: remember his ever-so-well-thought-out DOOM PATROL reboot? Pocket Universe also had heroism tarnished by deliberately antisocial actions and minimalization of concepts that better writers made grand (the Superboy world was just a POCKET UNIVERSE all along? Huh?)

Paul Levitz on the other hand, is someone whose history rewrites are lame and unsatisfying, but at least are airtight and hard to argue with.

If it WAS more Levitz's idea, my respect for him falls from a sufficient, detail-obsessed but average writer, to one who is responsible for destruction instead of creation, the greatest sin in any creative field.


Well there is plenty to show that Levitz's version of the Pocket Universe has more holes than the Bryne version. Levitz's version required the TIme Trapper who had NEVER been at the Dawn of Time to know of the Pre-Crisis history and somehow save that Earth even when Crisis #11 clearly showed that ALL earths were RETROACTIVELY destroyed.

Byrne's Pocket Universe by contrast simply had the Time Trapper make an artifical artifical timeline that fit the Legion's memories and therefore did not require the Time Trapper to have knowledge he had no buisness having nor saving a reality that by Crisis #11 didn't exist anyhow.

Also Levitz was the one who destroyed everything by killing off Superboy totally screwing up Legion history as he forgot that Supergirl had joined first (with Brainiac in fact) Realizing that the whole effort had been wasted Byrne likely desided to destroy the Pocket Universe before any LSH writer did something else stupid with it. Of course LSH happily keep rewriting its history to the point I doubt either the writers or fans knew what the sam hill it was.

Furthermore IFAIK Byrne had no hand in the retcon that made Superboy a member for only a short time nor with Mon-El punching out the Time Trapper causing the one issue alternate history nor in the idiotic Durlan/R. J. Brande for Phase switch which left the Pocket Universe out in a learch. Nor did he do the Glorith consuming the Time Trapper or killing off Valor which messed things up again or the literally DOZENS of continuity screw ups the LSH writers and related books were doing. Lets fact it most of LSH book's problems can be placed at the feet of the LSH writers.

As for Superman killing that had happened before PRE-Crisis:

DC Comics Presents where Superman and Supergirl do their best to kill Mongul by overloadign his brain.

Jimmy Olsen and the Magic Totem where via trickery Superman makes a Kryptonian criminal kill  himself.

1965 Filmation where Superman lets Parasite drain him nearly dry resulting in the Parasite blowing up real good.

The final season of the Superfriends where by accidently saving Krypton Earth is destroyed by the supervillians there. So to put things right Superman must kill billions.

Don't blame Byrne for going down a well worn path going all the way back into the 1960's at least.
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ShinDangaioh
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« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2005, 06:41:39 PM »

Quote from: "Maximara"

As for Superman killing that had happened before PRE-Crisis:

DC Comics Presents where Superman and Supergirl do their best to kill Mongul by overloadign his brain.

Jimmy Olsen and the Magic Totem where via trickery Superman makes a Kryptonian criminal kill  himself.

1965 Filmation where Superman lets Parasite drain him nearly dry resulting in the Parasite blowing up real good.

The final season of the Superfriends where by accidently saving Krypton Earth is destroyed by the supervillians there. So to put things right Superman must kill billions.

Don't blame Byrne for going down a well worn path going all the way back into the 1960's at least.


Yeah.  The real problem with Byrne's Superman was he was to angsty and wishy-washy.  Not that Superman wouldn't kill.  He did.  Once by accident.

Which ties back into the subject line of this topic:

A scientist was working on a nuclear powered robot that could be controlled by an exo-suit a human wore.  During a bomb blast, the scientist's mind was transfered into the robot(since the robot didn't have any vocal capacity, the scientist couldn't explan what happened).  He tried to see his wife, but since he was in the robot, Superman thought the robot had run amuck.  Later, Supes figured out what had happeend and tried to stop the scientist without killing him. That scientist was trying to kill the people who set the bomb that almost killed his wife and dropped his mind into the robot.   Superman crushed the wrists(no pain sensors) of the robot to prevent any more blasts.  The scientist shot the cadmiun dampening rods at Supes and let himself get punched in the big red X on his chest.  The robot started to glow.  

Superman: I have been royally suckered!
Robot-X: Exactly.

Superman drug the robot that was soon going to achieve critical mass up into the straosphere where it exploded harmlessly.  The only way to put that story would be as a loss for Superman.  He couldn't save the scientist who really wasn't responsible for what had happened to him.  The scientist's human body was mindless and stuck in a hospital ward.

I can not accept Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? as the conclusion of the pre-Crisis Superman.  If Superman really would quit after taking a life like that, he should have quite after this incident with the scientist trapped in the robot's body.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2005, 09:48:31 PM »

Quote from: "ShinDangaioh"
Yeah.  The real problem with Byrne's Superman was he was to angsty and wishy-washy.  Not that Superman wouldn't kill.  He did.  Once by accident.

Which ties back into the subject line of this topic:

A scientist was working on a nuclear powered robot that could be controlled by an exo-suit a human wore.  During a bomb blast, the scientist's mind was transfered into the robot(since the robot didn't have any vocal capacity, the scientist couldn't explan what happened).  He tried to see his wife, but since he was in the robot, Superman thought the robot had run amuck.  Later, Supes figured out what had happeend and tried to stop the scientist without killing him. That scientist was trying to kill the people who set the bomb that almost killed his wife and dropped his mind into the robot.   Superman crushed the wrists(no pain sensors) of the robot to prevent any more blasts.  The scientist shot the cadmiun dampening rods at Supes and let himself get punched in the big red X on his chest.  The robot started to glow.  

Superman: I have been royally suckered!
Robot-X: Exactly.

Superman drug the robot that was soon going to achieve critical mass up into the straosphere where it exploded harmlessly.  The only way to put that story would be as a loss for Superman.  He couldn't save the scientist who really wasn't responsible for what had happened to him.  The scientist's human body was mindless and stuck in a hospital ward.


That does sound like a sad story.

Superhero comics, however (and adventure fiction in general) are based on the notion that a bad guy falling into his own deathtrap doesn't count as a "murder." This was the backroad that for example, Doc Savage took,  in order to have his villains die in an act of cosmic retribution, without the morally immaculate Doc Savage getting blood on his hands.

Quote from: "ShinDangaioh"
I can not accept Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? as the conclusion of the pre-Crisis Superman.  If Superman really would quit after taking a life like that, he should have quite after this incident with the scientist trapped in the robot's body.


While what happened with Robot-X is a sad ending that does qualify as a loss for Superman, it does not anywhere near qualify as a "death that Superman is responsible for" because he did not make a moral choice to commit murder.

Superman can't rescue or save everybody; this was a lesson that he learned from the death of Ma and Pa Kent. Failure is heavy on his heart, but Superman made his peace with not being able to help everyone everywhere in trouble. If he was powerless to save a scientist, this is tragic, but is not even comparable with Superman's actions in Moore's story, where he made a premeditated choice to knowingly murder a sentient being.

Superman's choice in "Whatever Happened" was to kill. Perhaps the act was justified. But it does not change the fact Superman is directly responsible through his own action for a murder - which was why in that story he gave up being Superman forever.
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forgottenhero
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« Reply #45 on: September 22, 2005, 05:22:36 AM »

Quote from: "Maximara"

No because the Legion writer had a perfect out with LSH vol 3 #18 and they did not use it - ever.


What is this perfect out? I'm not all that up on my Legion lore.

Let's say that something like Mark Waid's current LOSH had been presented as a reboot for the Legion in 1986-87, same time as Superman's reboot. How would you all have taken it?
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #46 on: September 24, 2005, 01:49:36 AM »

Quote from: "forgottenhero"
What is this perfect out? I'm not all that up on my Legion lore.

Let's say that something like Mark Waid's current LOSH had been presented as a reboot for the Legion in 1986-87, same time as Superman's reboot. How would you all have taken it?


Speaking for myself (naturally) ...

I probably would appreciate ANY Legion reboot in favor of Keith Giffen's run; how could they have been worse?

I think it would go something like this:
    (suddenly, a titanic explosion occurs in the bedroom of JULIAN PEREZ-1986, who is thumbing through J.M. de Matteis issues of DEFENDERS while listening to "Scorpions's Greatest Hits" on his headphones. In the midst of the explosion is a man in silvery, v-stripe spandex in his twenties)

JULIAN-1986: Here I aaaaam...rock you like a hurricaaaane... (bolts up) Who are you, stranger?

JULIAN-2005:
Fear not, puny Julian of 1986. I am the mighty Julian of the year 2005. An alternate year 2005, one where instead of Mark Waid taking over LEGION, it was instead, Keith Giffen.

JULIAN-1986: I greet you, mighty man of the future. How, in your age, fares my favorite comic? I fear that little could be worse than Mark Waid's pen.

JULIAN-2005: Poorly I fear, lad. For...BEHOLD! (tosses several of the Giffen Legion issues) Not only will the Legion be placed in a dystopian future at odds with their present existence, but they will wear no costumes, and Saturn Girl will...power dress!

JULIAN-1986: (He tries to scream, but nothing comes out but blood) [/list]

In conclusion: if the reboot was attempted along Mark Waid's lines, I would be grateful for it only if I knew that we dodged the Giffen bullet.
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CRISISHATER
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« Reply #47 on: September 24, 2005, 04:10:43 PM »

The saddest story I've ever read was the death of the real Superboy in LOSH. That nearly makes me cry when I read it. It's my childhood dying before me in Mon-el's arms as it began reading Legion digest's with Mon-el's first appearrance.
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Crisis and man of steel ruined the Superman mythos

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