Superman

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by urbandefault, Jan 18, 2020.

  1. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think this would play better if Superman was not connected to Batman and that larger universe.
     
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  2. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I mean, as much as people try to play it up as adult and grim and gritty, at the end of the day Batman is also a children's moral power fantasy.
     
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  3. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It is, but the origin is slightly different, and it is more willing to take on the darker side of crime fighting, including killing. Which, in my opinion, is not something Superman should be above doing (nor has been in the past). I don't know. I've always had Superman and Batman in two different worlds in terms of content and ability.
     
  4. Commander Troi

    Commander Troi Quoter of Quotes Premium Member

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    They've always been the Yin/Yang of comics for me - sunny & bright vs moonlit & dark.

    I grew up around cops, so I knew more about the darker side at a younger age than I probably should have. I *need* my fantasy heroes to be ideals to strive for rather than realistic representations. I need my Superman, a man who could easily kill, not do so. Otherwise, he becomes Homelander or any of a number of other nutballs with power. (BTW, I *like* The Boys. It's just a Very Different Thing for me.)

    Are there times Superman has had to? Yes. But IMO it should always be a last resort (of the writer). And have consequences. Superman has a conscience and should never be just a power fantasy (again IMO). He's a character that can be written in a way that inspires people (yes, especially kids) to want to be better, and I like that. There are too many people in the real world that inspire the opposite.

    As he said in Superman vs. The Elite: "Dreams save us. Dreams lift us up and transform us into something better. And on my soul, I swear that until my dream of a world where dignity, honor and justice are the reality we all share, I'll never stop fighting. Ever."
     
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  5. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly. He is a part of that entire tapestry of stories, some dark, some deadly, other not so much. Any attempt to separate Superman from a part of his own history where he was not being the Santa/Daddy, yet he exists in the rest of the DC universe would make him as incompatible as dropping Tom and Jerry into a Ghost Rider story.

    True--the fact Superman killed in his early era and post Weisinger period does not make him the Punisher. He takes that ultimate stand if there are no other options, which is--from time to time--necessary.
     
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  6. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with this and still feel like killing can be a part of that in a measure when no other option is necessary. The idea that "Superman would never _____________" is something that actually plays more with my suspension of disbelief than I initially realized. It's one of those things that when you say X is never on the table that I pause and wonder about the construction of this world. It is an intense limitation of mine to be sure. But, for me, if you're going to give me a fantasy at least give me something to grab on to in the reality of it. Otherwise it matters rather little to me, and if I need aspirational figures then I look to the real world.

    That's me and not a judgement on any who prefer the make believe. I love my make believe, but aspirational figures have to come from reality for me.
     
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  7. JD

    JD Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not saying he needs to go that extreme, but here's got to be a middle ground between Superfriends and The Punisher that he can exist in.
    And to be clear, I'm not saying he should never kill, I'm OK with it happening occasionally, as absolutely last resort, I just don't want to see him killing every bad guy he fights.
     
  8. Guy Gardener

    Guy Gardener Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    In the lap of squalor I assure you.
    Also very illegal, but Barry Allen seemed fine with it for 5 seasons, but as soon as you bring up "secret prison" and Superman, one's thoughts go straight to the Phantom Zone.

    Quite frankly, if you arm S.W.A.T. with Phantom Zone Projectors, you don't need Superman to fight evil any more.

    He can focus natural disasters and save people for a living.
     
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  9. theenglish

    theenglish Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the comics, they're just finishing an 18 month story line that revolves around how it is Superman's moral code and not his powers that inspire others. It will be interesting to see how the final chapter turns out (no spoilers please) to see if this changes. But whether Superman kills or not depends on the writer and has no reflection on contemporary society or quality/complexity of the story. Snyder chose to write Superman as having to kill as a last resort--but Snyder could easily have written a dozen different endings where Superman does not have to kill. It is just writer's choice.

    UPDATE: I read the final instalment in the Warworld story, this evening. Kal does complete the story without killing. He inspires the slaves of Warworld by becoming what they call the Bloodless Sword. That said, there are other characters who do kill during the story, including of course, Midnighter who doesn't always see eye to eye with Kal but reluctantly follows the plan. It is one of the best Superman stories of the past couple of decades and ranks up with Morrison's Action Comics run at the beginning of the New 52 (I'm aware that you have to like Morrison in order to follow those issues). And, at its core, is the virtue that Superman inspires hope in others not through killing nor his powers but through the sheer force of his caring for others, his hope, and his belief in a better future. I highly recommend this story.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022 at 7:56 AM
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  10. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^ I haven't read the current Warworld storyline yet (I'm a trade-waiter), but I like what I've heard. And that phrase, "the Bloodless Sword," says a lot about who Superman is -- and should be, in the hands of better creators -- in just a couple of evocative words.
     
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  11. YLu

    YLu Commander Red Shirt

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    What are the real world rules for a Kryptonian vs. a guy in tech armor, though? Every element of that fight is completely made up, down to the relative power levels. It's one thing to point out that, say, realistically, you can't go shooting people with bullets without killing some of them, no matter how good your aim. But there's no 'realistically' about whether or not a superstrong alien has the finesse to disable the equally fantastical armor without killing the guy inside. The powers are made up, how the armor works is made up. It's all the writer's whim.

    There doesn't have to be any 'easily' about it. Superman can still get hurt and struggle in stopping the bad guy. The bad guy is still just as dangerous before getting stopped.
     
  12. YLu

    YLu Commander Red Shirt

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  13. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed that there is to be a balance. I feel like saying "Superman doesn't kill" is an extremely artificial limitation that sounds great...in a fantasy world. And maybe that's all Superman is to be is a fantasy because aspirational figures can only exist in fiction. I don't think Superman should kill just 'cause; but I think that a well told story with weight, gravitas, and stakes would allow it to happen if it makes sense in the story, and not because of a very artificial rule.
     
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  14. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I actually think John Byrne and his successors accomplished that very thing in the post-Crisis comics. Clark was burdened so heavily by his decision to execute three genocidal criminals that he suffered what amounted to a psychotic break, and subsequently exiled himself to deep space for months. The act of killing resonated long after the fact, and its results were explored in thoughtful and meaningful ways.

    By contrast, the killing of Zod in Man of Steel struck me as existing purely for shock value, and to bolster Snyder's edgelord cred. It was cynical, ugly, and pointless.
     
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  15. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Mileage will vary, though the edgelord comment makes it harder to take seriously. I will say I like consequences but I feel there is a balance between psychotic break and nonchalant killing. Though I don't see Man of Steel as nonchalant. I think it was ugly on purpose.
     
  16. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    So you don't think that accurately describes Snyder's brand?
    I wouldn't call it nonchalant, either. And it was ugly because Snyder sees the world as ugly, and as capable of morally corrupting even the likes of Superman, driving him to brutal killing and existential despair. (Superman in BvS: "No one stays good in this world.") A more fundamental mismatch of character and creator is difficult to imagine.
     
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  17. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I do not.
    With all due respect, seeing as how this matters way more to you than me, I can well imagine a person like Superman struggling with existential despair. So, I guess I don't see this has misunderstanding of the character but exploring it from a very human perspective. Maybe that misses the point...not sure.

    I also don't see Superman's killing Zod as being morally corrupt either. But, that's me. Who is probably wrong or misunderstands Superman, or whatever.
     
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  18. The Realist

    The Realist Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I can only speak from my own perspective. To me, characters serve certain narrative functions, and moral despair and mortal violence are not Superman's.

    (And I had pledged a while back to quit harping on Snyder's Superman, feeling it contributes to a poisonous atmosphere in these threads and the fandom. I now see I'm backsliding, so I'm going to stop here, with apologies.)
     
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  19. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I guess it depends on the function. I find that facing those things and overcoming them could be very much a positive Superman story. I prefer that over the trend of generic platitudes without a reflection of the actual struggle in being aspirational.
     
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  20. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Screenwriter | Award-Winning Journalist Premium Member

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    I really love the first season of ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN. It's a noir and more gritty than the seasons that came after. Also, I prefer Phyllis Coates as Lois. She had the right spark and bite that I feel Noel didn't.
     
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