Sunday, September 14, 2008

What is it about Superman?
What is it that makes him one of the most recognised pop culture icons in the world, whilst also being one of the most reviled heroes among certain groups of modern day comics readers?

Recently on the Infinite Wars we took some time to stop and really think about what makes a great Superman adventure.
To communicate our suggestion we divided vague references over two posts [Last Son Part 1/Part 2], distilling our ideas into the popular crossover format of a cartoon series. It is, afterall, undeniable that animation connects more readily with the modern equivalent of what once would have been avid comics readers.

Perhaps it's too great a suspension of disbelief to accept a hero who can conceivably save a world from itself, and other. For that matter, maybe it's the arrogance of an indomitable power, that disrupts the youngsters so.

Any suggestion that Superman is 'too powerful' is quickly debunked by the presence of rival powers, who often endear far greater fandom as the slightly cooler alternative.
Likewise, as you'll find in our string of feature issues from 2005, Superman is as vulnerable as ever! So much so; the popular misconception that magic as a conceptual device is a 'weakness,' rather than a vulnerability of logic, has been incorporated into the canon, awkwardly lodged somewhere next to the more specific weakness of Kryptonite.

I do not believe weakness is the platform upon which a strong superhero is built.
As interesting as these devices can be, particularly among the emotionally vulnerable heroes that populate the gritty urban streets, they are not the solution to Superman's flagging polls.
Granted, with the advantage of rewriting history, we looked at the aspect of Superman's rivals and the manner in which those stories are carried, attempting to structure arcs around major rivalries, with occasional distractions from smaller grade villains. This is just one method.
As you'll see in the following stories, in reality, things are probably doing just fine. Perhaps if you are among the naysayers, you will find yourself intrigued enough to take a chance of Supes!

JLA: Classified #3 (March 2005)
"Seconds to Go" Morrison/McGuinness

With the Justice League trapped on a mission to the infant universe of Qwewq; it's up to the International Ultramarine Corps to respond to disaster in Africa!
Gorilla Grodd, having allied himself with the mysterious cosmic being, Neh-Buh-Loh, has begun a path of destruction intended for the entire Earth!

The Ultramarine Corps quickly find themselves overwhelmed by Grodd and his ape-army, leaving the Knight's sidekick, Squire, to make a call to her mentor's American counterpart - The Batman! The Dark Knight summons his secret arsenal of bizarre and alien technologies, as well as the resources of the League itself, in an effort to rally against Grodd and the Nebula Man.

He leaves Squire to make contact with Qwewq, leading an inhuman proxy-League to distract from the true team's absence. His automatons prove insufficient in battle with the Corps; now under the manipulation of Grodd. With Batman defeated, the Justice League are needed more than ever, but will their escaped from the infant universe come too late?...

Action Comics #824 (April 2005)
"Old Man, New World" Finn/Reis

Suffering the stress of a clash with Gog and a synthetic yellow form of Kryptonite, and the lurking threat of Doomsday; an aged Superman struggles against the xenophobic charge of Kandor's General Preus.

Having captured both the inquisitive Jimmy Olsen and the Justice League's Martian Manhunter, Preus uses Olsen's signal watch to lure Superman to his desert base where he commands an army of zealous white-supremicists.

Facing overwhelming physical odds, Superman will courageously do combat with his disillusioned Kandorian counterpart, but at the end of the battle, Preus' greatest weapon may prove to be humanity's own capacity for self-destruction.

Superman #216 (June 2005)
"Lightning Strikes Twice" Winick/Churchill

Madness tears through the bustling hum of Metropolis calm, as a rock star's suicide appears to set-off a chain reaction of violent deaths and destruction.

When the chain reaches STAR Labs' Dr. Jeannie Tracey, she kills an over zealous admirer, and uses her privilages to access a LexCorp security powersuit. With the suit, she begins a rampage of destruction designed to attract the attentions of Superman.

Battle with Dr. Tracey reveals the hidden threat of Eclipso, the villain who possess those when weakened by anger.
Superman is able to curb his emotions, but finds himself under attack where he least expected it -- in his home. Unknown to Superman, Lois Lane has been possessed, and when she manages to anger him, Eclipso takes hold.

Superman/Batman #23 (November 2005)
"Smoke and Mirrors" Loeb/McGuinness

When a Kryptonite meteor is headed for Earth, Captain Atom is volunteered to pilot a rocket ship of intervention to protect not only the planet, but also it's greatest hero, Superman, from a life-threatening shower!

When Captain Atom reemerges in Japan, Superman and Batman soon discover the meteor housed a conscious entity called Kryptonite Man, capable of possessing and embuing a host body with incredible powers of Kryptonite radiation!

Amidst struggles with inter-dimensional elopers called the Maximums, Superman and Batman find themselves unwitting pawns in a much larger plot waged between Mr. Mxyzptlk and the Joker. Kryptonite Man returns to become the latest piece in the conflict, possessing Batman to best strike at his enemy, Superman!

Infinite Crisis #1 (December 2005)
"Infinite Crisis" Johns/Jiminez

Multiple crisis' are mounting in the DCUniverse and though the Justice League may be needed more than ever, their ever diverging morals and ideals have caused a rift of disapproval and mistrust within even the inner circle of the group -- the fabled Trinity!

The final straw comes while the League's leaders survey the wreckage left by an attack on the team's satellite base. With the Martian Manhunter missing, an apparent casualty of the incursion, the group is on a knife's edge, something the villainous powerhouse Mongul intends to capitalize on when he launches a surprise attack of his own!

Instead the swine is met with the increasingly unforgiving blade of Wonder Woman, which itself is the cause for much dissention. With Batman's life on the line, and Superman's morals taking a pounding, can the League possibly recover from this internal struggle, or will this be the crisis that finally tears them apart?

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