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Author Topic: What A-S-S and INFINITE CRISIS teach us about Secret IDs  (Read 5055 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: February 02, 2006, 12:18:41 PM »

There was an episode of STAR TREK where a transporter accident splits Captain Kirk into two people: a "good" Kirk, and an "evil" Kirk. But it is the "evil" Kirk that has Captain Kirk's command abilities, his certainty, ability to solve problems, and to lead. The "good" Kirk is wishy-washy and unable to act as a starship captain.

What does this have to do with A.S.S. and INFINITE CRISIS? Keep your shirt on and let me get to it.

It's interesting that my old buddy Granty's A.S.S. and INFINITE CRISIS would tie together so well. Both are out of continuity, but they share an insight on the secret identity that is very revealing.

In A.S.S., we have Lois downright terrified when Superman reveals his secret identity to her. But the thing that bugs her the most is, not that Superman might be lying...but that he might be telling the truth. That a part of who Superman is, is the cowardly, dorky, and utterly unimpressive Clark Kent.

Come INFINITE CRISIS, we have superheroes that are behaving rather naughtily, that have in many ways, failed (and they know it, too). Diana, who has transformed from a Snow White-esque sweet princess, to a results-oriented pragmatist, insists on being called "Wonder Woman" only.

The reason may be because the three big heroes have divorced themselves from their secret identities, and instead of being in equilibrium with their two halves, have swung far to the side of the superheroic, problem solving side without anything to temper it.

Think about it: what do all the superhero secret identities have in common?
 
They're all wusses.

They're all put upon.

Superman as Clark Kent is dismissable and ignored, mildmannered, a nice guy, but a pussycat. When a giant robot shows up and he says "Oh, I feel faint," there's no reason to think it isn't true, because a guy like Clark Kent WOULD feel faint at the sight of trouble. Ditto for Wonder Woman; a thick glasses wearing secretary, the universal symbol of mousiness and spinsterhood. Ditto for Bruce Wayne, too: he plays the part of a polo-playing rich dummy.
 
What I suspect INFINITE CRISIS may be trying to show us, is that you have to have a little lamb in you, as well as the wolf.

Is THIS the lesson that Earth-2 Superman is trying to show our heroes, perhaps?
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nightwing
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« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2006, 01:38:04 PM »

Quote
Is THIS the lesson that Earth-2 Superman is trying to show our heroes, perhaps?


Could be.  But then, isn't it pretty strongly implied that Kal-L has been in costume for the last 20 years with no Clark Kent time at all?
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TELLE
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2006, 03:32:00 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
In A.S.S., we have Lois downright terrified when Superman reveals his secret identity to her.


D'oh!  One thing we don't see a lot of here at STTA is spoiler warnings --most of the time I could care less about the plot of some new comic or tv show I'm not going to read.  It must be a sign that I'm actually looking forward to reading the collected A.S.S. that I don't want to read or hear even one plot point, let alone details of characterisation or even themes.

As for the "put-upon secret id" thesis, they might be the exceptions that prove the rule, but I can thing of many secret ids outside of the big 3 who are, if not exactly alpha-male types, at least categorizable in the "no slouch" column:

Jimmy Olsen, Ted Grant/Wildcat, Green Hornet, Green Arrow, Atom, Green Lantern, various X-Men, versions of Golden Age charcters, especially when written by Roy Thomas, heroes without secret ids, etc.
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Great Rao
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2006, 07:20:46 AM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
D'oh!  One thing we don't see a lot of here at STTA is spoiler warnings --most of the time I could care less about the plot of some new comic or tv show I'm not going to read.  It must be a sign that I'm actually looking forward to reading the collected A.S.S. that I don't want to read or hear even one plot point, let alone details of characterisation or even themes.

One of the problems with waiting for the collected version of All Star Superman is that then you miss all the really cool covers - like this one.

S!
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2006, 11:41:52 PM »

When did you add that?

I must have missed that update  :?

I hope that they include all of the covers, becaus ethey have been great, and I can now say that I am a fan of the artist, he has blown me away with this series, I wasn't a fan before, but I am now Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2006, 04:37:13 PM »

Quote from: "Super Monkey"
When did you add that?

I must have missed that update  :?

Nope, you didn't miss it.  I initially intended to just scan the cover, but then decided to add a few more pages.  The whole thing went online a few minutes before I posted about it.

S!
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« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2006, 01:07:08 AM »

Good point, Julian.  A lot of Super Heroes have secret ID's which are actually wusses.  Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, Don Blake, Peter Parker, even Barry Allen (always late) were less than perfect role models.  

I don't know what the message ultimately is going to be with Infinite Crisis.  Maybe you're right, maybe it will just be that every superhero will remember the parallel worlds before.  

As for Kal-L, maybe I'm wrong but I never thought they said he gave up his secret ID.  I could have sworn I saw some 70's All Star comics JSA stories which had Clark changing into Superman.
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« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2006, 01:30:29 AM »

Quote from: "DoctorZero"
 
As for Kal-L, maybe I'm wrong but I never thought they said he gave up his secret ID.  I could have sworn I saw some 70's All Star comics JSA stories which had Clark changing into Superman.


He never did reveal his i.d. --right through the Superman Family stories starring Mr and Mrs Superman (one of which was set in the far future when their teenage daughter discovers her superpowers --maybe an imaginary story?) and on into Crisis, he was always Clark Kent, editor of the Daily Star.
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