Why too many stories about “Dictator Superman” are destroying the man of steel

The latest solution to “Superman’s problem” in comics is to turn him into a ruthless dictator. Here’s how it started and why it should stop.

Stories in which the heroes become evil are a tried and tested thing in the world of comics – nothing more than is the case Superman, perhaps the world’s best example of a pure-hearted hero. It is easy to see the appeal in reading (and writing) the script of what if, which evil spins the classic characters. In recent years, however, writers have turned Superman into a very specific kind of evil: a dictator.

These stories don’t just contain evil versions of Superman like the Mirror Universe, like the leader of the Crime Union and the gross thief Ultraman. These are variants of Superman who were either raised in circumstances other than the “real” Superman or experienced significant (and often traumatic) events in their lives that quickly led to the takeover of their governments. Read on to find out how they are Stories about dictator Superman first became popular, why they are still being written and why too many of them could potentially do what Lex Luthor never could: destroy Superman.

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Red son: Solving the “Superman problem” in the world after 9/11

Superman is, quite possibly, the purest example superhero: an individual with extraordinary abilities who fights evil, protects the innocent and does all this from the goodness of his heart. Unfortunately, some believe that the last character trait of Superman is the least likely superpower. “Surely someone who can lift a mountain i they have an infallible moral compass, and without ever losing control, they cannot be connected to the audience. ” This is the so-called Superman problem: that the Steel Man, with all his power and nobility, is not connected. As other heroes became more cynical and fragile in response to the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, Superman did not, and readers considered him intact. Then, on September 11, 2001, everything changed – including Superman.

While Superman: Red son not written in a direct response to 9/11 (writer Mark Millar came up with the idea in the ’90s), a positive critique of this new Superman – a man who uses his great power to bring about great change – could not be ignored. In the book, Superman’s rocket landed in the Soviet Union instead of the United States; he was brought up to believe in communist ideals and thus dedicate himself everything their time and strength to the state. The book describes in detail Superman’s reasons for taking power. Joseph Stalin is killed, and Superman takes his place; the city of Stalingrad gathers an alien, and Superman is deeply troubled by his failure to save him; a lower-class orphan who calls himself Batman decides to resist the regime and sets a trap for Superman, which fails and results in Batman’s death. Although his politics become draconian, and freedom of speech becomes a distant memory, Red son Superman obviously believes he’s doing the right thing. In this respect, Mark Millar seemingly solved Superman’s problem: he made his wrong reasoning by his actions wrong. But other writers would learn the wrong lesson Red son: bend Superman until he breaks.

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A pattern quickly emerged among the new stories about the “Superman Dictator” that emerged after that Red son: to properly motivate Superman, writers would simply kill someone close to him … which would result in Superman returning the favor. In the episode “Better World” from Justice League animated series 2003. Flash was killed. Superman, out of grief and rage, kills President Lex Luthor before taking power himself. Batman eventually moves against Superman which ultimately leads to his downfall. In Injustice: Gods among us: Zero year, a comic series set before Injustice: Gods among us video game, the Joker drugs Superman, tricking him into killing Lois Lane and preventing him from stopping a nuclear bomb that is devastating Metropolis. Superman is furious, kills the Joker and takes control of all the governments while executing more criminals, along with all the heroes who oppose him. Batman is once again fighting Superman and leading a resistance movement against his regime.

This pattern even extends to feature films – almost. Director Zack Snyder’s plans canceled Justice League sequels include the murder of Lois Lane by Darkseid. The grieving Superman could have been Darkseid’s herald, killing Wonder Woman and potentially Aquaman, before eventually killing Darkseid himself and taking over Earth. Once again, Batman would be Superman ‘s main opposition, working on methods to remove the devastation under his rule. Now the pattern, which first appears in Superman: Red Son, it becomes completely clear:

  1. Superman is experiencing a loss
  2. Superman kills in response to that loss
  3. Superman takes power
  4. Batman must stop Superman

Perhaps the writers of these stories about the Dictator of Superman are aware of the famous quote by Lord John Dalberg-Acton: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power absolutely corrupts. Great people are almost always bad people.” This way of thinking is deeply flawed; it is assumed that not every person who has power can be trusted. That doesn’t mean even Superman should be immune to all temptations – rather, Superman should to resist that temptation because he is Superman. Those who want readers to believe that Superman is just another bad day away from becoming a dictator have a rather fatalistic view of the world … and that’s a philosophy the Joker shares just like that.

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“All it takes is one bad day” or How to prove the joker wrong

All-Star Superman

In A killer joke Alan Moore, the man who would become the Joker is forced to aid in the robbery to support his pregnant wife and unborn child. The robbery goes awry and the Joker falls into a chemical container that turns his skin white and his hair green. It all happens the same day his wife was killed in an accident. These events drive the Joker crazy and he tries to prove that anyone else can have the same fate, that “It only takes one bad day for the most sensible man to be reduced to madness.” When the Joker tries to force Commissioner Gordon to suffer a similar “one bad day,” he fails. Although he subjected Gordon to horrors (including shooting his daughter Barbara, resulting in paralysis below the waist), Gordon does not lose his sanity or principles, and still wants to capture the Joker “by book”. Barbara also continues to fight crime like Oracle, so be it two people the Joker failed to corrupt. If Barbara and Gordon – two ordinary people with no special powers – can resist the temptation of “one bad day,” why not Superman?

For decades, writers have tried to make Superman relative by making him “more human,” but these stories of Superman’s dictator suggest that one should be weaker-willed, subject to temptation, and let sadness and anger be the driving force in one’s life instead of love and compassion. Heroes like Superman they are idolized not because they are a reflection of ourselves, but a reflection of what we are could be. Heroes are stronger than ordinary people, and that is why ordinary people need heroes. Maybe instead of getting inspired A killer joke, writers should listen to Heath’s Ledger’s Joker The A dark knight in which the defeated villain turns to the hero and says “You’re really incorruptible, aren’t you?”

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