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Author Topic: What is the worst version of Superman ever?  (Read 39802 times)
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superboy
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« Reply #40 on: May 09, 2011, 07:32:01 PM »

Deffinitely 90's superman. The hair wasn't supermany and his powers < shudder >, he was so weak! he was hurt by anything more powerfulthan a bullet! He could even be killed by a atomic bomb!
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Adekis
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« Reply #41 on: June 08, 2011, 04:48:49 AM »

I can appreciate aspects of almost all versions of the Man of Steel. Golden Age Supes had a great sense of humor, and he was tough, and knew how to be mild mannered in moderation, with a Lois that works easily as Clark's rival. The Silver Age had it's high points, all the time travel, and the sci-fi, and Lex Luthor, and Jimmy Olsen's' crazy-awesomeness. The Bronze Age made Superman mythic in scale for the first time. The Steel and Iron ages made Clark Kent believable as a human being (if not an athlete) and had the most developed portrayal of Metropolis.

I'm anticipating a violent response to a newbie coming in and saying this, but my least favorite version of Superman is:

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow

I know that it's supposed to be this great farewell to the Silver and Bronze Age, but I just don't think Alan Moore got it right. He did well in his Superman / Swamp Thing crossover. I really love "For the Man Who Has Everything". He definitely gets this version of Superman in Supreme.

But I just don't see the love for that age of Superman in Alan Moore killing off the entire Superverse.

He kills Jimmy! He kills Lana! He kills Pete Ross! He kills Krypto! He kills Bizarro! He kills Lex Luthor! If Supergirl wasn't already dead, he would have killed her!
Worst of all, he kills Clark Kent and Superman, rather than mourning his beloved human side, throws the suit in the dumpster and walks away. I really think Kal-El has more respect for someone he has devoted at least half his life to!
Not to mention the fact that not only is Clark Kent killed, so is Superman. He kills Mxyzptlk. That's bad enough. But then he decides to kill himself too? Great. Atone for killing by killing again. I just don't think that sepukku is something Superman would condone! Sure, Kal-El doesn't die. Disguising yourself as "Jordan Elliot" and living a normal life isn't a bad idea, but think of the message Superman is sending then! "If you ever kill someone, you deserve to die, and since nobody else can kill you, you have to do it yourself". Alan Moore just didn't get it.

There's only one scene in that comic I like. Supergirl and the Legion come back and wish Superman goodbye. That scene is beautifully written.

I do feel that Moore redeemed himself with Supreme, Promethea and Tom Strong years later, and I enjoyed his previous  famous work, Watchmen and V for Vendetta. As a matter of fact, I like most of Alan Moore's stuff. But that particular abuse of the whole world Superman acts as the centerpiece of, I have little love for. He just didn't get it.

By the way, I'm Adekis! Nice to meet you all! I'm not usually so explosive, but I feel pretty strongly about this one. I hope you'll all welcome me into the community! Cheesy
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Aldous
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« Reply #42 on: June 08, 2011, 09:58:14 AM »

Quote
I'm anticipating a violent response to a newbie coming in and saying this, but my least favorite version of Superman is:

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow


Well, you're not alone. I'm no newbie, and I've made no secret of the fact I do not think "Whatever Happened" is all it's cracked up to be. It doesn't do much for me at all. It's actually pretty forgettable, if you discount its novelty factor.

Ultimately, he tried to shock, to get talked about, to raise a ruckus, but it's just lost amongst all the other ho-hum "shocking" things post-quality in Superman, designed to be talked about, oo-ahh....

As I once said, when I talked about it at length, it's also crammed and rushed.

Somewhere in my mind, Superman is still "mythic" (as you put it), and this comic doesn't even rate alongside the great comics of his career. I'm not saying it's not a fun read, or interesting, but just that it doesn't match up against the best of Superman as I knew him.

Actually, on the forum years ago I suggested Sand-Superman Saga is far superior to "Whatever Happened" and you should have heard the howls from some........... But I haven't changed my mind.

"Whatever Happened" comes from an era when "nasty and brutish" was synonymous with "clever".
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BBally81
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« Reply #43 on: June 08, 2011, 11:13:56 PM »

Deffinitely 90's superman. The hair wasn't supermany and his powers < shudder >, he was so weak! he was hurt by anything more powerfulthan a bullet! He could even be killed by a atomic bomb!

Em...... It's still better than this:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_oGvsPo8kEhc/RnNn0fBxJXI/AAAAAAAAAHA/CP1U_IN6kZk/s1600-h/austen.jpg

Chuck Austin should never write a Superman story ever again.
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nightwing
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« Reply #44 on: June 09, 2011, 02:29:19 AM »

Quote
Disguising yourself as "Jordan Elliot" and living a normal life isn't a bad idea, but think of the message Superman is sending then! "If you ever kill someone, you deserve to die, and since nobody else can kill you, you have to do it yourself".

Or alternately, "if you kill someone, it's okay for you to choose your own punishment.  Then you can disguise yourself and start a new life as someone else."  Last time I checked, the FBI kind of frowns upon this practice.

I'll readily admit "Whatever Happened..." is easily Moore's weakest Superman story, but I don't have as much of a problem with the body count as you guys do.  Indeed the whole aim of the story, from the "this is an imaginary story" intro to the "80-page-Giant"-like cover of the last issue, is to recreate the feel of the Silver Age, and some of the best-remembered tales of that era were the hand-wringing, tear-jerking, overwrought tragedies penned by Jerry Siegel, who wasted no opportunity to visit grief, ruin and destruction on the Man of Steel for reasons it doesn't take a Freud to figure out.  Chiefly I'm thinking of tales like "The Three Wives of Superman," (http://supermanfan.nu/main/?p=4458), which makes Superman a widower three times in one book,  and of course the legendary "Death of Superman," for some reason almost universally regarded as a classic despite being, IMHO, relentlessly bleak and brutally cruel without even offering the final ray of hope Moore's story does.  Moore may play nasty here, but he's not exactly inventing the practice.  The only real difference I can see is that we knew "Death of" was Imaginary and everything would be fine next month, whereas with Moore's tale we knew it was the end, the "real" end.

Anyway, that's the spirit in which I read it: it's a Silver Age tale told in the 80s.  So the images may be a little more graphic and scary (though only compared to what went before, not what's come after) but the spirit is the same.  Note that in stories like "Death," or its polar opposite "The Saga of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue," or even the "fake-out" story "The Last Days of Superman," the writers are sure to touch all the bases, as if working through a checklist of all the elements in the mythos: Legion?  Check.  Atlantis?  Check.  Kandor?  Check.  I take Moore's approach in the same vein, except in this case he's tying up each of those threads: Krypto?  Dead.  Bizarro world?  Gone.  Luthor?  Killed.  Yes, it's a bloodbath, but again it's not the first time an Imaginary Story killed off everyone or nearly everyone, and if you're going to write the last Superman story, you've got an awful lot of baggage to get to.

Ultimately what I don't like about the story is that it is in fact designed to end the saga.  But that's the same problem I had with the other "imaginary stories" that did the same thing.  Somewhere out there, obviously, is an audience that wants to see how Superman dies, which bullet has Batman's name on it, etc.  That's never been me, partly because I can't think of many -- if any -- examples where it was done well.  I liked the way Marvel's Captain Marvel died, but it helped that it was only the second story I ever read with him in it; to me dying was the most interesting thing he ever did.

Anyway, I guess my point is "Whatever Happened to..." is not the best story, and certainly not the masterpiece it's cracked up to be (though for the record, I think "The Killing Joke" is a much more egregious example of a Moore story being puzzlingly over-rated), but it is, for me, what it set out to be; an 80s version of an "Imaginary Story" that could easily have been written by Jerry Siegel, except that if it was there would have been a lot more dialog balloons with characters saying *CHOKE!* and *SOB!* and *GROAN!*
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India Ink
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« Reply #45 on: June 09, 2011, 05:08:00 AM »

As a boy I didn't know what the word catharsis meant, but I believe this is what I experienced reading many of those Superman stories. Especially by the end of the story. I felt like I had been through something (because I always got wrapped up in what happened--even if I had been forewarned that it was "imaginary") and it wasn't that I felt good by the end--sometimes I felt downright miserable--but it did make me feel like I could get through almost anything, I guess. Maybe that's what catharsis does--it toughens your soul and prepares you for all the real challenges you'll have in life, so you're not as likely to be overwhelmed and defeated by all the horrors ahead.

Something like "Whatever Happened..." was then doing the same thing, but it was a lot harder pounding for the soul. You knew at the end of that story that it wasn't going to get any better after this. You had put yourself through all that pain in the story, but there was a greater pain to come. But maybe that was the point. It wasn't about getting any relief or satisfaction in the end, but making yourself mentally tough enough to endure the rest of your life without this comic book that had been your soft place to land.

That's life. People die, things come to their end. It hurts and it doesn't get any better. But if you accept that, maybe you can get on with enjoying the things you have while you have them.
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India Ink
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« Reply #46 on: June 09, 2011, 01:11:18 PM »

Quote
Maybe that's what catharsis does--it toughens your soul and prepares you for all the real challenges you'll have in life, so you're not as likely to be overwhelmed and defeated by all the horrors ahead.

That's a nice way of looking at it.  Of course kids aren't immune to the fears we all face, like abandonment, failure, death of loved ones, a broken heart, etc., no matter how much we want to shelter them from it.  Grimm's fairy tales, Hans Christian Andersen, Bible stories are all full of tragedy and horror, and kids have been fascinated by them for centuries; indeed Disney-like efforts to sanitize them and make them "kid-friendly" only make them less interesting to children (and everyone else).  I think kids understand on some instinctive level that they're in for hard times later in life, and they seek out these tales for clues of how to deal with it, or at least to build up their callouses so they won't be felled by the first blow. 

In that sense, you could almost argue those Imaginary Stories by Siegel et al were providing a public service to young readers.

Quote
Something like "Whatever Happened..." was then doing the same thing, but it was a lot harder pounding for the soul. You knew at the end of that story that it wasn't going to get any better after this. You had put yourself through all that pain in the story, but there was a greater pain to come. But maybe that was the point. It wasn't about getting any relief or satisfaction in the end, but making yourself mentally tough enough to endure the rest of your life without this comic book that had been your soft place to land.

I'd agree with that, overall.  Ultimately there were just two ways to go at the time; either keep sailing along, business as usual until suddenly you hit the reboot, or make an effort to wrap it all up with some sort of story that brought closure.  Now I suppose you could say they had the option of giving the old Superman a "happy" ending, but the beauty is you do have that ending if you want it, in "Superman-Red and Superman-Blue" and maybe a couple of others.  They're all "imaginary," so you can plug in whichever one you like.  But seeing as how the "real" end of the books came in 1986, it was pretty much a given things would take a darker turn.  And if you're willing to acknowledge that hard truth, I honestly think it could have been much, much worse.  Indeed, I found Byrne's "Pocket Universe" saga infinitely more bleak and depressing than Moore's finale.  For that matter, I find "Superman as murderer and porn star" more depressing than that whole battlefield full of dead supporting players at the end of "Whatever Happened..."

Anyway, after some thought, I've finally found my candidate for Worst Version of Superman Ever:

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BBally81
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« Reply #47 on: June 09, 2011, 09:14:07 PM »

I personally consider All Star Superman a more proper ending for the character than Alan Moore's story. Although I wished they used the ending that was used in the animated adaption which was that

Lex Luthor saw the errors of his way and right before his execution redeems himself by giving Superman's DNA to Leo Quintum, which shoud lead to what would become the Superman Squad in the future. This shows that despite everything, Superman was right all along about Lex having potential for doing something great. 
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No matter how many reboots, new origins, reinterpretations or suit redesigns. In the end, he will always be SUPERMAN
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