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Wednesday, February 04, 2015 

Superman gets new power to make him more dangerous

Geoff Johns can't resist giving the Man of Steel a new power - to launch an explosive power - all for the sake of Marvelizing a DC hero. It's also the kind of story that blurs differences between good and bad:
Superman has looked out for Ulysses because he sees a lot of himself in this new figure, and while he's raised differently, his goals aren't the same and he's done horrible things, Ulysses is not an evil guy at all, according to Johns.

"Where he comes from, there's just a different morality, to support utopia and highly intelligent evolved life forms, from their perception they fuel it with what they perceive as lower evolved species," the writer says. "I think a lot of people actually have that attitude as elitism and prejudice, and Ulysses grew up in that environment."
It sounds almost like he's minimizing the effects of communism. "Just" only reduces it all to juvenility. If the villain called Ulysses slaughtered innocent people, then defending him as somebody who isn't evil only fails from the get-go.
The conclusion of the “Men of Tomorrow” storyline by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson, the new issue apparently climaxes with the unleashing of what the writer calls “the most destructive power Superman has.”

“And he’s not exactly excited about it because it is so dangerous and there are consequences,” Johns said.

"It's not going to be suddenly he can levitate things," he adds. "It's something that is going to be very unstable and something that Superman's going to have to deal with for quite a while."
And how does that add to the character, beyond the idea that now, he'll be little more than a variation on Cyclops? Whatever Johns is planning to introduce, it's long ceased to interest me.
In addition to the daunting task of creating a new power and the joy of working with "a master storyteller" in Romita — the new issue features the artist's take on Batman for the first time and Romita has a solo story in March's Superman No. 40 — Johns admits he's most liked having Superman open up in an honest fashion to people like Ulysses and Daily Planet regulars Jimmy Olsen and Perry White.
John Romita Jr was once a talented artist, but over the years, his quality has slipped to very mixed or mediocre, and having already looked at some of his art for Superman, I hold no high hopes for his Batman designs either. It's mostly rough, and he doesn't seem suited to drawing flagship DC heroes.

And I wouldn't count on Johns delivering any good characterization for co-stars like Jimmy and Perry if he's going to depict Supes "opening up" to the villain in what they call an "honest" fashion. What Johns plans here sounds even worse than depicting Superman as a hand-wringer.

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The movies ("Man of Steel" and "Batman Begins") tried to give the heroes a guilt motivation, turning two of the oldest and most iconic comic book heroes into imitations of the relatively recent Spider-Man. Now, Johns apparently wants to turn Superman into a pale imitation of Scott Summers.

And adding more powers is one reason why some Silver Age stories got so silly and contrived. Now DC is planning to do it again.

So he gets the power to blow himself up? Is he going to yell Allahu Akbar every time he uses it?

So he blows himself up, killing a bunch of bystanders. The government comes down with a Superhero Registration program. Green Arrow is against it; Green Lantern is for it. They hit the road together and GL is shown up at every step.

Actually... from the very beginning, guilt HAS been a prime motivational factor for Batman. In fact, that's what lead him into seeing just how bad Gotham and the world truly were and in need of someone like the Batman.

Not that it's any big deal, but Batman's origin was revealed in Detective Comics #33 (1939) and retold in Batman #47 (1948). In neither story was there any indication that he felt (or that he should have felt) any responsibility for his parents' deaths.

Maybe the idea that he asked his parents to leave the theater early appeared in a comic book story before the "Batman Begins" movie. But, even so, it was still a retcon.

One can understand why a progressive would declare a progressive utopian "not a bad guy."

Strangely enough, though, they never want to talk about the godfather of progressive utopianism, Woodrow Wilson (easily the most evil man to ever serve as PotUS)...

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