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Author Topic: What the iron age got right  (Read 8784 times)
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Permanus
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« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2007, 08:48:16 AM »

Depowering Superman was a big mistake, not least because everybody automatically assumed it would make for more interesting stories. That made sense to me back then, but now that I have 20 years of hindsight, I realise how dumb that was: a dire period followed, in which all Superman seemed to do was foil bank robberies and go to hospital (I may be exaggerating this in my memory, but it seems to me that he spent an inordinate amount of time in hospital at the time). It's interesting to note that at the same time, Alan Moore was empowering the Swamp Thing and investing him with godlike powers, which made for one of the most interesting reads I can remember. Then he went on to create Doctor Manhattan. Moral: don't blame the character's power level, blame your writing ability.

Lex Luthor, businessman in a skyscraper, was an incredible low. It was an interesting idea: Superman's raw power meted against the more subtle power of a guy with lots of money. Unfortunately, Luthor was portrayed as someone so pompous and grand-guignol evil that it never went anywhere. He was so smug and insufferable that you couldn't take him seriously.

I'll tell you what I did like in the Iron Age, though: eco-terrorist Terraman. That was okay.
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2007, 03:20:03 PM »

I like the idea of emphasizing the "businessman" aspect.  Luthor as real estate mogul in the movies was certainly amusing, and Maggin had great fun with Luthor adopting various business disguises in order to keep his activities under Superman's radar.  Do I like how they morphed him into more of a Kingpin businessman than scientist?  No, not in the least.  I like how he evolved from businessman to mad scientist in JLU, and would've liked to have seen that over time in the so-called "iron age".

I liked the idea of depowering Superman slightly, as long as his world is similarly depowered.  Superman should not be powerful enough to have a close personal relationship with every inhabitant on earth if he wanted to.  Do I like it when an electric manhole cover stuns him, needing an air mask for outer space, or Cheetah successfully choking him with her legs?  No, not in the least.   It should be real clear that Superman is as tough and as able as any other hero and then some, not some second-rate assclown behind the likes of GL or Martian Manhunter.

I liked the idea of less Kryptonite, of it being toxic with prolonged exposure to humans.  Every common thug shouldn't have access to copious amounts of Kryptonite courtesy of the Kryptonite fairy at Lex's pawn shop.  I like the Smallville idea of lots of Kryptonite being in/around Smallville, acting as a mutagen in some cases, but they took it way too far.

I like the idea of red sun radiation not being an instant-off switch.  Red sun flashlights turned me off as much as Superman. 
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Ruby Spears Superman
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2007, 10:40:36 PM »

 You have to understand that the evil businessman type was more apppropriate for that time; still is. The "mad scientist" thing never really came back into vogue. The definition of "villian" changes over time and I think it is appropriate to keep up with that definition. Even the Morgan Edge character introduced 15 years earlier was clearly showing an understanding in the changing trend of the definition of "villian", if to a somewhat lesser degree. The Gordon Gecko worldview was very common and I think fits Luthor like a glove. This is why I think it was a good idea. 
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Uncle Mxy
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2007, 11:27:04 PM »

I take it you enjoyed President Luthor since the villains are politicians, even though it didn't make a whole lot of sense??

Why not come up with another villain as compelling as Luthor if you really wanted to push that angle? 

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« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2007, 12:02:10 AM »

I much prefer the Maggin mad scientist, thinks-on-his-feet Luthor who isn't really a bad person: it makes for a more interesting Superman villain. Clark already has a whole rogue's gallery of people who are just plain evil for no particular reason, it would be nice if his arch-enemy were a bit more nuanced.

The Byr... I mean, the revamped version had Luthor be a bad guy from the start, and one so completely inflated he would have looked silly in a movie serial. I mean, take that bit where one of his computer scientists figures out that Clark Kent is Superman, and Luthor dismisses it out of hand because he can't imagine why anyone as powerful as Superman would masquerade as a human. That was silly. That was incredibly silly. I still think it's a good idea to have Superman go up against a wealthy businessman, because it's a confrontation of two completely different forms of power, but Luthor isn't the right person for that. Ever since his first appearance, Luthor has represented humankind's genius trying to equal Superman's feats, which is what I think should be the character's definition: a human being, though one gifted with extraordinary intellect, who jury-rigs all these fantastic inventions all the time.

I have to say, though, I do like the screen versions of Luthor: Hackman was fantastic ("There's a strong streak of goodness in you, Superman... But then, nobody's perfect"), so was Spacey, and the only thing I really liked about Lois & Clark was the Luthor character, who came straight out of the revamp.
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DBN
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« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2007, 01:09:06 AM »

You have to understand that the evil businessman type was more apppropriate for that time; still is. The "mad scientist" thing never really came back into vogue. The definition of "villian" changes over time and I think it is appropriate to keep up with that definition. Even the Morgan Edge character introduced 15 years earlier was clearly showing an understanding in the changing trend of the definition of "villian", if to a somewhat lesser degree. The Gordon Gecko worldview was very common and I think fits Luthor like a glove. This is why I think it was a good idea. 

The only time I liked the revamp Luthor was when he left the business suit for the Apokaliptian war suit.
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Ruby Spears Superman
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« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2007, 01:56:27 AM »

 I just think it is more logical as to how you would get a villian. Especially the way Smallville handled it. You have a rich kid who is a selfish jerk because that's the way daddy raised him. His money can by him everything except the one thing he wants the most, the one thing Superman has, physical perfection. It would also explain how he would get the money for all his anti-Superman schemes. If he was just a mad scientist breaking out of prison every three months, then it is just the Joker without hair and face paint. If I have one problem with Batman, that would be it. In the real world, they probably would have put him to death by now. Especially mad scinetist Luthor who doesn't have the excuse of not being sane enough to understand what he is doing. Rich Luthor solves a lot of creative and logic problems that you would run  into with mad scientist Luthor.     
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