Monday, August 29, 2005

ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #643

I'm split on this issue. Part of it was strong and riveting for its fury and part of it just gave me an uncomfortableness about future events in Infinite Crisis.

The recap part of the issue seemed unnecessary -- the whole problem with Sacrifice was that it went on too long over just this ground, the whole Superman Loses His Focus When Lois Is In Danger angle combined with the Seeing Villains Who Aren't There bit. Greg Rucka wasted half an issue reminding us what we couldn't possibly have forgotten so quickly, including the death of Max Lord, which really didn't get added to enough to justify redoing from Superman's angle.

Why Clark reacted the way he did to Diana's actions and reactions... that just stinks of foreboding. Or just stinks. I mean, Diana's the original warrior princess, right? Warriors kill people. Clark knows this. If that had been Hawkman wringing Max's neck, Clark wouldn't have batted an eyelash. But Diana? He's completely untracked by her lack of guilt-wracked angst.

Not to mention completely oblivious to the fact that she saved his life by doing so (yes, just like the tag line says).

If he would have stopped to think about it, Clark would have realized that if Max didn't have him do something suicidal, there's a really good chance that Diana would have had to kill him. Nowhere in his righteous anger and confusion does he stop, pause, admit that he was murderously out of control and the helpless and dangerous pawn of a supervillain. A supervillain whose general plan was to crush his soul by using him as a weapon of mass destruction and then destroy him. Diana would have had to kill him to save innocents and he would have never had a problem with her choice. But because she cut to the chase and killed Max before that need arose... he's terrified of what she's capable of doing? For a guy with X-ray vision, he certainly can't see very well.

Thankfully, Bruce is around to point out some of this. That confrontation, which absolutely crackled, saved this issue from sheer frustration. Superman wants to think of himself as Clark, inherently decent and good, but Bruce won't go along. Because while Bruce is willing to trust Clark, as much as he trusts anyone, he doesn't see Superman as Just Clark. It is the remainder of Superman that is Kal-El's sheer power that comes into play. Kal-El cannot be trusted because he cannot really be stopped except by extraordinary means.

Overall: sloppy storytelling overcome by one awesome shouting match.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

I've been taking so many cheap shots at Rucka the past year I've lost count, but here's one more: For a guy who writes Wonder Woman monthly, he sure made her look like a heartless bitch here.

Mon Aug 29, 08:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger James Meeley said...

To be fair to Rucka, though, this issue is from Superman's P.O.V. So, I'd say that Superman views her this way (most probably because of her actions in killing Max Lord), not Rucka.

The thing that get ME though, is how Superman could come down so hard on Diana. Yeah, heroes aren't supposed to kill. But Superman has (remember the Kryptonian criminals from the pocket universe, who threatened to come to your universe and destory it, like they did their own, so you killed him, as judge, jury and executioner?). And it really makes him look like a hypocrite for blasting Diana for making the same impossible choice he had to.

But I have to admit, all that does help make the story more engaging.

Tue Aug 30, 05:08:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Dan Coyle said...

What stuck in my craw, James, was how she's portrayed as having "no regrets" whatsoever about snapping Max's neck. It may be Superman's P.O.V., but I find it hard to believe Diana would look the way she did, I'd a least think she'd put her hand on Kal's shoulder and say, "I'm sorry, I thought it was the only way."

Instead, He get Superman freaked out and crying that she was so cold and ruthless. Which speaks more to the pervasive paranoia about assertive and strong women among pretty much every contemporary DCU writer to me than anything else. But that's just me.

Tue Aug 30, 09:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Julio Oliveira said...

Yeah, Superman thinking that the hundreds of people that died in his allucination as collateral of his fight against Darkseid/Doomsday/whatever is okay, because he is this because he is full of grief with the death of Lois. But Wonder Woman killing a person to prevent the death of hundreds is a bad thing just because she did it rationally. Hah, is like they never spent a thousand years on a mystical dimension where she killed her enemies on sight.

Tue Aug 30, 09:58:00 AM EDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home