The PJ Tatler

Say It Ain't So, Superman

The caption on Drudge is, “No Joke: Superman to renounce U.S. citizenship…”

This sounds so much like satire that I’m not sure I’ll really believe it till I see it firsthand in the actual Superman comic. But there are reports all over the news, that in Action Comics’ new 900th issue. Superman announces “Truth, Justice, and the American Way — It’s not enough anymore.” Comics Alliance reproduces the cartoon panel in which Superman delivers this dismal line.

It gets worse. Reportedly, Superman is giving up his U.S. citizenship in a speech at the United Nations, having decided it’s too complicated to deal with the fallout after his non-violent support for Iranian protesters creates blowback for the U.S. government. From that, I’d say the Superman we once knew is already long gone. In his heyday, when I was a kid, the Man of Steel did not spend his time bearing nonviolent witness to evil, or waiting for the long arc of history to bend.  He fixed the problem. Superman inhabited a fantasy universe, but it was a gratifying fantasy — in which the superhero cut through the constraints of the workaday world to see the truth, dispense the justice and — ka-blam! pow! — save the victims from the villains. That didn’t mean the human condition back then was less complicated than it is today. It was a comic book, and a good one, embodying the idea that placing extraordinary powers in the service of truth and justice is very much the American way. This was something for Americans to be proud of.

Now, it seems, we have moved on to Multilateral Superman, placing his powers in service of… what?  The UN? That would be the “international community,” with its deference to the speechifying of Iran, the demands of Cuba and the sovereign rights of North Korea? Maybe the Human Rights Council can appoint him as Special Rapporteur for Politically Correct Superheroes. Better yet, just bring on the kryptonite.