So hello there!
I’m trying out a new thing on this blog both to record my thoughts on my favorite comic book and manga properties and hopefully entertain/get some comments on my musings.
for the next few weeks I am going to say a few words about why I like certain properties, things I have disliked over the years, things i’ld like to see again and if possible my own take on the property.
Who are we starting with?
who else but Superman! The man of steel, The last son of Krypton! The defender of Earth!
while he has never been on my top five list of heroes, I do have a soft spot for the character. Besides The fact that he is one of the first true superheroes to exist, his influence exists all over the genre from characters who mimic him, are evil versions, incompetent, old e.t.c. he is a character you cannot ignore if you are a comic book superhero fan.
Elements I’ved liked reading in Superman:
1. His many alien enemies. Mongol, Brainiac, Maxima,Darkseid, despero (tho I think he’s more of a league villain) are all enemies that can really test Superman’s ability to protect the people of Earth. I always love when they show up because you know something entertaining is gonna happen.
2. Him having human relationships. The Daily planet staff, his parents, the justice league(to some extent) are all relationships I love seeing. How he influences and is influenced by them is a nice thing to see. The New 52 in my opinion made a serious mistake in overly isolating big blue and it made for miserable reading. Thankfully they rectified that in the rebirth era.
3.The Super family. Both versions as I’ll say the Super family to me is a really important part of big blue’s mythos. be it his kyptonian side which has Kara, kon-el and the Kenan the Chinese New Superman, but he currently has Lios as his wife and Jon Kent as his son. I like them cuz He can interact with these characters in their own small bubble and its interesting to see the differences to how they handle situations. On him having a family, it’s kinda sweet as it’s as grand an acceptance as you can get for kind of guy he is. it’s also a sign that his kyptonian heritage doesn’t end with him. Also all these relationships give him more personal stakes in big battles, I mean everyone fights harder when The lives of loved ones are on the line.
4. The legion of superheroes. Yes this is a somewhat clunky concept, not helped by my own bias against time travel stories. However to a certain extent the legion of superheroes works for Superman. It’s A really noble thing to be one of the big superheroes in the world but sometimes you just wonder how does he keep being positive? how does he not get beaten down by the numerous dangers and threats he faces? I feel that some adventures in the future with the legion solves that. Tho yes it is only a potential future, it is one he has experienced and knows it’s possible.
5. Clark Kent being the primary personality of Superman. I know that this sounds basic to us now, but it wasn’t always so. It used to be that Superman was the real personality and that Clark Kent was the disguise. When I learned of it, I was happy for the change because well it humanised him, before I could confidently say that Superman was a jackass because he was consciously manipulating friends and co workers to his own ends. This change showed that there are multiple sides to the character of Superman and makes it that while he keeps secrets he does consider his co workers friends.
Things/ Elements I dislike reading in Superman:
1. I am not a fan of power loss / changes in powerset. I don’t have the most rational reason but it irks me. I come to these comics expecting a big fights , big adventure and high stakes. I don’t want to read about power loss (I really hated the new 52 Truth arc) cuz often times it’s just a way to humiliate the protagonist. Changes in powerset are more tolerable because they can be interesting. For every good story arc about changes in powerset (flight, heat vision, cold breath)
there are more about bad changes (superman red and blue’s electric and dupilication. Solar flare ) As for me I’m more comfortable with our hero learning to use his powers in New ways.
2. I am not all that fond of his human enemies. Most of them are really under whelming compared to the man of Steel. Lex Luthor gets a pass because he’s an interesting inversion to Superman and even at that I prefer the mad scientist over the business man parts of his character. I feel that Lex is at his best when he’s out creating insane Tech and monsters to deal with big blue.
3. The New 52 in general. yes it was a big harsh reboot that brought everyone back to basics but it really wrecked Superman. it stripped him of everything that worked for him and left him a hollow Shell of himself. Even what was left was inconsistent and unrecognisable due to creative differences.
4. The relationship between Kara and Clark being so distant. I know this is mostly so that the characters can be independent, but a lot of the time it feels like they are acquaintances rather than family. its a little better in the rebirth era but it was really bad in the new 52 era.
I think I’ve said enough on my likes and dislikes and would move on to…..
What would I do If I could create my own version of the character:
1. The First and major change I’ll make is instead of him coming alone to earth, the infant Kal el is accompanied by his preteen cousin Kara zor el to earth. I may be wrong but I feel this is an angle unexplored by the comics. Superman having an older sibling who has the same struggles as him would be interesting to see.
2. I would make Kara the brainy sibling of the two. it’s not like Clark would be dumb but actually having memories of Krypton would make her approach things differently from Clark who is emotionally human. for example while Clark may be wowed by a piece of Tech, Kara would quickly start analysing it to see how it works.
3. While Clark would take to the Kent’s like fish to water, Kara should be more distant due to her already knowing her parents. Going by this Superman is more attached to humanity while Superwoman (Kara) would find kinship with other Aliens stuck on earth (gladly borrowing that from the Supergirl show). Superman is a more active hero but Superwoman does her bit as well. they’ll tag team frequently.
4. Kara will come into her powers easier than Kal el, while his will come in violent bursts. Kara will be more technically sound with her abilities while Kal will be more brute force.
5. On powers, there are two stages. their base kyptonian forms and under influence of the yellow Sun. base form has enhanced strength to the level of lifting buses, durability to be bulletproof to conventional gunfire and speed to compete with vehicles.
Under the yellow Sun however, Super strength to the level of City Buster (basically can level a city unrestrained) , flight to supersonic levels, nigh invulnerability, superspeed comparable but less than the flash and a healing factor. while I understand that there’s a thing as being too powerful, I’m not a fan of nerfing abilities. I feel it’s better to scale threats accordingly.
6. On weaknesses I’ll keep Red Sun radiation and green kryptonite. I do not consider magic to be a weakness as it is simply that he is incapable of utilising or defending himself against it like most humans. so I feel Superman should only lose his durability not the rest of his powers unless there’s a spell that specifically does that. Red Sun radiation flushes out his powers making him base Kyptonian. kryptonite however makes them physically ill. They don’t lose their powers but become sick and weakened. There’s no way that kryptonite can be used as restraints, cells and handcuffs because it physically hurts them. One thing I liked about new 52 is their depiction of kryptonite poisoning. I would make it that if you use kryptonite on a kyptonian, you want to hurt them.
7. when it comes to their human occupation, Kara should be an entrepreneur/researcher (like her Karen Starr counterpart) to contrast Clark’s job as a journalist.
8. Generally Superman’s stories should feel epic in tone. having some space adventures/ Monster bash/mystic villains.
I think that’s my concept of Superman so far.
Before I forget… Here’s a pic of both Superman and Superwoman.