The real question is this: how many times do I need to read the origin of Superman?
In this case, this origin story is much needed. From what I can piece together, in the early part of this decade DC slowly started to move back towards the Silver Age, slowly retconning things to how they were Pre-Crisis (all of which, it seems, has increased with Dan Didio in charge). DC tried at first to introduce the idea in 2001 that the Krypton from Byrne's Man of Steel
revamp of the origin in 1986 was a fabrication and that the Silver Age version was the true one.
I'm not sure if DC intended to go with this or if the ultimate resolution (the Silver Age Krytpon was a lie intended to trap Superman) was planned all along. Either way, I view this as the first attempt to do away with MoS
Then DC started releasing the 12 issue origin story, Birthright
, which at the time was lauded as Superman's new origin (updated for the 21st Century). It retconned some of Byrne's changes (Clark and Lex knew each other from Smallville, Clark is a dork/socially awkward, etc.), though DC maintained that it was supposed to "compliment" Byrne's story and fit next to it, not replace it.
DC wavered on the issue of whether or not Birthright
was the official origin, though Superman
#200 put Kal-El in the position of being in some kind of time-vortex with two possible ways home. One would restore his Man of Steel
origin, one would make Birthright
his origin. He chose the latter, but, again, DC did not offically state that was the origin, but kept promising that eventually everything would make sense.
After the Post-Crisis Supergirl's series ended, we were introduced to Kara Zor-El, Superman's cousin, who became Supergirl. While not a retcon of MoS
, it did do away with the edict of the time, that Superman was the absolute last Kryptonian (which is further out the window now with 100,000 Kyrptonians from Argo City and Kandor now inhabiting New Krypton).
Then Infinite Crisis
hit and, again, seemingly did away with Man of Steel
. Though his origin was not re-done, per se, the following bits were slowly added to Superman's backstory:
- His powers developed quicker, and news reports from the time he was a teenager point to a super boy in Smallville.
- Kal-El was born on Krypton and sent as an infant to Earth
- Lex Luthor, before settling in Metropolis and becoming a business tycon spent some time in Smallville.
- As a young boy Superman was brought 1,000 years into the future and had many adventures with the Legion of Super-Heroes.
- Krypton is less sterile and more like the Silver Age Krypton
(and so on).
So, long story short, this origin tale has been necessary for years, at least due to DC's constant tweaking of Superman's history. While I grew up with MoS
and prefer it, in some ways, to the Silver Age origin (which, again, this new origin seems to be fashioned after), there has been too many changes to Superman's back story for them to continue to ignore it. For better or for worse, this origin story is needed to clear up the mess DC editorial has made for the better part of the decade.
I like Geoff as a storyteller, but I am not happy with the changes to Superman. I felt the MoS
origin was logical and for the most part made a Superman I wanted to read about. I did like the idea of a Krypton which had become sterile and for whom technology had taken away their humanity (Kryptonanity?). I think this gave writers an interesting angle to draw on, the idea of Superman seeing how we use technology and how we could go down the same path Krypton did (which was actually something some of the writers dealt with in terms of cloning).
I also think the Byrne/Wolfman version of Lex is the best version. Something has been lost now that the character is out of the boardroom and hiding out.
I hope by the end of the mini-series Superman's origin is straightened out and even more, I hope it is as a result of a good story. As long as the story is good and the changes are there for a reason, I'll be content, if not happy.