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Thursday, July 02, 2015 

Action Comics villifies police in a Ferguson metaphor

We should've guessed this would happen. In the 42nd issue of the rebooted Action Comics, the Ferguson riots have become a story subject, and wouldn't you know it, the police are the main scapegoat here. First:
One of the biggest changes to come out DC Entertainment's big comics revamp this summer turned Superman's world upside-down: Lois Lane revealed his identity to the world, and then he lost almost all of his powers. [...]

In this new status quo, Superman hasn't just lost his secret identity, but his costume and his heritage — locked out of the Fortress of Solitude, the one place on Earth with any connection to his homeworld, he has to contend with a world that knows who he is at a moment when he's most vulnerable. Most of his powers are gone — he's still superhuman, but at this point he's mostly just a really strong guy.
I'd almost forgotten about that. So they do Lois a terrible disfavor as a leading lady by having her betray Superman's secret, and then I'm not sure what good it does to take away most of his superpowers along with his being a Kryptonian survivor. All the latter does is reduce his significance. And it doesn't get any better with the kind of politics coming up in this issue:
Now that he's been outed, Superman's relationship with everyone around him has completely changed. Some are supportive, and grateful, surprised to learn that he's been living among them all along. Others, however, have a chip on their shoulder, resenting all the supervillains that he has attracted.

Unfortunately for him, most of the angriest folks are cops.

This quickly escalates into open conflict by the end of "Action Comics" #41, when a welcome home block party for Superman is about to be stormed by police in full riot gear while the de-powered hero tries to take on a massive monster several blocks away.

It's a moment that echoes similar events that have unfolded across the country recently in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore, where law enforcement — primed to use excessive force — attempt to strong-arm peaceful citizens into submission. Like in those cities, the smallest miscalculation can lead to utter chaos.
After all the hard work Superman did in the past to fight crime, and the police, of all people, despise and blame him the most? And the rioters in Ferguson/Baltimore were "peaceful"? This article is shameful, as is the whole anti-police angle of the series issue, right down to a panel where Superman bashes an officer in the face. Did I mention the artwork by Aaron Kuder looks unappealing and unworthy of the Man of Steel?

And this is just more proof even a metaphorical story can be very offensive and degrading.

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I don't get why you continue to blow your top when you don't even read comics anymore and just rely on outside information that itself could be biased. If the people who continue to buy them can't imagine a less, "distorted", view of what they read, then that's their problem. With you, it's a tendency to take an ax and perform random chopping frenzies into the woodwork called "comic". Me, I just pick an endpoint of my own free will and stop right there, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

As for the other comic book companies, I don't feel very interested in their stories about politics gone wild, glamorizing sex and violence, mangling old franchise properties that other people think is "awesome", boring retreads of B-movie plots, etc.

As a Superman fan, I wanted to give "Truth" a shot, so I read Action #41 and even that issue read, to me, like there were some forced metaphors for Ferguson. So I didn't need to pick up #42 to see where things were leading. In issue 41, we have Clark Kent exposed as Superman and the police are desperate to arrest him on sight. The cop leading the charge, and most eager to arrest Clark, is an older white male - shocker, I know. But there's another cop, named Lee Lambert, who's friendly and supportive of Clark, and this cop just happens to be a black woman - double shocker, I know. And as the article refers to, the final page ends with police in riot gear, led by the angry white cop - who else-, about to march into a poor, underprivileged neighborhood - coincidentally, I'm sure - that's harboring Superman.
So not only was Action 41 the last issue I'll be buying of Action, it's also the last issue I'll buy of any of the current Superman titles. This iteration of the character has arguably been the biggest dud of the New 52 relaunch. There's nothing inspirational about him - at all. He dates Wonder Woman, his best friend is a billionnaire, and he still mopes and broods. This is the most miserable version of the character I've ever read. The pre52 Superman was dull and more of spectator than a man of action, but I'll take him over the Man of Sulk. He's been written as a prick. That's the only consistent thing about him, in spite of all the several differnt creative teams he's been through.
Forget Lex Luthor. Forget Brainiac. Forget Zod. Forget even Lobdell's pathetic H'El. The new 52 Superman's arch enemies are police and U.S. soldiers. He's been shown battling soldiers and cops more times than Luthor, Brainiac, and Zod combined! And that's not including the Superman Unleashed turd that Scott Snyder put out. I thought if I could stomach Morrison's 5th dimension acid trip in Action Comics and Scott Lobdell's pointless run in Superman, then I could take anything, but Truth has proved me wrong.
Avi, I know you're no fan of the 90s, but I'll take Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson, and even some Joe Kelly, over the garbage that's been written for The Man of Steel over the past decade and a half.
Forget Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Forget Liberty and Justice For All.
The new 52/post-Convergence Superman only stands for moral relativism.

So the police are the bad guys, and the hood rats rioting and burning down cities are the good guys.

That means, if you get mugged or carjacked, don't call the cops. Call a civil rights activist. Or a comic book writer.

Drag, if you continue to complain about what he writes, why do you read the blog?

Cynical hope that he'll loosen up and do an upbeat entry every once in a while.

BTW, an anti-cop group called Disarm the Police was staging a protest demonstration in New York last week. Some bikers became angry at the sight of a US flag being burned, and they roughed up the protesters. Of course, the protesters had to be rescued...by the NYPD.

After seeing the scanned pages of this issue, I'm done with all Superman titles. I never read any of Pak's work before he came to DC, so I was hoping he'd bring a non-liberal perspective. That went out the window with the opening pages of Batman/Superman #1, with a muslim boy getting bullied and beaten by a bunch of white kids. Now Pak creates Binghampton, the middle-aged angry white male as the corrupt cop who orders Superman to be beaten, and the only cops who see this as wrong and actively oppose Binghampton are non-white cops, who are subsequently beaten down themselves. You know it's bad when sites like Newsarama, CBR, and even IGN review this issue and acknowledge that the 'police brutality' scene came across as forced. God, I miss Roger Stern.


Less than a week after the infamous shooting in Ferguson, there was another cross-racial police shooting, this time in Salt Lake City. An unarmed man was shot while apparently trying to pull up his pants.

There were no riots, no shakedown lawsuits, no Justice Department investigations. The difference? The victim was white, and the cop was "not white."

I don't claim it was necessarily a bad shooting. The guy may have reached toward his waistband after being told not to move. The cop may have made a tragic mistake when he was forced to make a life-or-death decision in a split second.

But if you apply that same benefit of doubt to Ferguson or Cleveland or Baltimore, then you are a "racist."

Any thoughts on this murder spree?

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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