Superman: Truth, Justice And The United Nations Way?
In what must be one of the most mediocre comic issues of all-time, the superhero whose slogan used to be “truth, justice, and the American way” has now renounced his American citizenship.
Goyer’s installment, with tense art from Miguel Sepulveda, steals the spotlight in Action Comics No. 900. When Superman drops in on an Iranian protest to stand with demonstrators in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, the U.S. government takes him to task for acting as an instrument of national policy. Superman responds by renouncing his American citizenship and proclaiming himself a citizen of the universe…
In an age rife with immigration paranoia, it’s refreshing to see an alien refugee tell the United States that it’s as important to him as any other country on Earth – which in turn is as important to Superman as any other planet in the multiverse.
The genius of Superman is that he belongs to everyone, for the dual purposes of peace and protection. He’s above ephemeral geopolitics and nationalist concerns, a universal agent unlike any other found in pop culture.
First of all, Superman renouncing his American citizenship isn’t quite as stupid as Captain America doing it, but it has to be pretty close. What really tops it off, however, is a comic book about a superhero with essentially unlimited powers standing with citizens who’re being murdered in the streets in an act of “nonviolent civil disobedience.” Here’s an indestructible super human who can lift anything, melt tanks with his eyes, and blow military jets out of the sky, and he’s playing Gandhi. What must the Iranian protestors think? Oh boy, Superman is here and he’s….wait, he’s standing around? Ehr….and you’re leaving when the protest is over? Thanks…sort of, well, not really.”
PS #1: Let me go full nerd on you and point this out: It would be impossible for someone like Superman to get involved in geopolitics and remain a good guy long term. There are dozens of governments across the planet abusing and murdering their people on a daily basis. If Superman is going to start getting involved when it happens, then he’s setting himself up as global judge, jury, and inevitably, an executioner — because that’s what it would take to stop some of these governments from raping, robbing, and butchering their populaces. Then, when Superman couldn’t be everywhere at once, the next step would either be giving up or building his own army to overthrow governments and enforce his moral code on other nations. By that point, every government in the world would be nervous enough to try to develop weapons powerful enough to kill Superman for their own defense.
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