1: I have developed a very fast, very strong love for Simon Baz’s character. He’s unsure but totally willing to try. He’s great for the DC universe and they should hurry up and put him in more stuff and give him his own run.
2: The duality in this series of Hal and Sinestro is summed up by their two messages so well. Hal’s message of encouragement and support, of love and striving to help save people by stopping the Guardians. Then Sinestro’s message of hate and fear, of revenge and destroying the Guardians once and for all.
You really get a sense in this issue in particular that they are two individuals who have huge differences in method and attitude but who strive for a similar goal; stopping the Guardians. Hal wants to call for backup, Sinestro to be released, Hal wants the ring wearer to trust humans and (surprise surprise) Sinestro warns to trust no one.
If you saw these two messages playing at once in a confusing mix, which voice would you listen to?
Visually the art is great, the colour is great, and the meshing together of Hal and Sinestro? Wonderful. It jumped out at me immediately. It really shows that they’re both at war with one another but working together, whether they want to or not.
I won’t get into Sinestro’s actions here, or his attitude towards Hal and how it shifts all over the place, but if you read the three volumes of this run you’ll see it pretty damn clearly.
Green Lantern #14 (I think, it’s in Vol. 3 of the 2011 Johns run)
The Multiversity Guidebook, an 80-page beast featuring portraits and info on the heroes of all 52 earths of the DCU (or is it DCNU?), including the above piece profiling the heroes of earth 17 drawn by me, with colors by the amazing Nathan Fairbairn
i mean, really? why don’t people love superman so much? i guess it’s just really difficult to put into words everything that makes me love clark kent. have you ever listened to the song “superman’s song” by the crash test dummies? if not go listen now because you’re seriously missing out and it sums up a lot of my feelings towards clark kent.
so why do i love clark kent?
a good hero shouldn’t be defined by his powers. cap isn’t just some peak human conditioning and a shield. spidey isn’t spider powers. batman isn’t a rich dude with lots of conditioning, gadgets and a good brain. superman isn’t the sum total of his powers. there’s a person there.
many people, both in the comicverse and in our world, confuse superman for some muscle-bound thug who flies around punching and lifting things. in so, so many media depictions of the man of steel, he’s there simply to lift something big. superman is actually a very complex individual who many writers don’t, can’t or don’t even want to understand. he’s filled with so many dimensions as a being alienated from society, as a being who cherishes life and who uses it to help others to keep moving.
i just think that clark is, at heart, an incredibly good person. and i like imagining a man like that. i even like to just imagine that one could exist. everyone is so obsessed with the bad guy these days, including me at times, but when i was growing up, superman was my hero. i read all of the old comics, collected them, had a stack of superman paraphernalia stashed under my bed, ran around my house in a red cape. i took a lot from him. i even still do.
sometimes when i’m frustrated with someone, i think “what would clark kent do?” and i realize that he’d be patient and polite and understanding, because those things don’t cost you anything. and it makes me a better person. anyone can be a superman. we all have great power within us and we can use it to change the world and make a better life for ourselves. and we learn that through clark kent.
that’s an incredible feat. not a lot of heroes are that inspirational. a lot of them are messed up, or just as full of selfishness and rudeness as most of us are. as much as i love them in their own rights, i certainly would never ask “what would bruce wayne do?” or “what would tony stark do?”
it’s the warmth of the character and the underlying optimism and belief in life’s worth, which i think has been characteristic for all the best superman stories. batman was cool, mysterious and tough. that’s his appeal. superman is a more good-hearted guy who wishes to do well simply because he can and because he loves his adopted planet. in some ways, he is even more human than bruce wayne.
i disagree with the popular analysis that superman is the only superhero who uses a human disguise to conceal who he really is, whereas the other heroes use the costumed alter ego to conceal their true identity. it could also as easily be argued that bruce wayne the millionaire is the disguise and the only life that really matters to wayne is life as the batman (hell, alfred tells robin this in knightfall). superman is as much clark as he is kal-el. he needs clark to remain in contact with humanity and to be a part of humanity.
in part, it’s why i hate a lot of new superman stuff because all of superman’s challenges are of a physical nature. he’s superman- you aren’t going to beat him! they’ve moved away from his quasi-roots in moral and emotional dilemmas that force him to determine how he’ll apply his godlike strength. i think those would serve the better purpose of storytelling than the generic muscle-bound baddie trying unsuccessfully to bring down the god of steel.
i am a huge fan of smallville, lois and clark, the first two christopher reeves movies, dcau superman, dcnu/new 52 superman, fleischer cartoons. i got into superman because of my dad’s old comics and then smallville and the it’s superman novel because they show superman as a fallible human being who has the potential for doing great things. to me, it has never mattered if clark kent was the disguise or if superman was just what clark could do. the costume didn’t matter as long as he had the superman “s”, red and blue and didn’t wear a mask- i could tell he was superman, and it’s not the costume but what he did that makes him superman.
because clark kent is the gold standard of what it means to be a superhero. he’s the original. he’s got all the power of a god and yet doesn’t try to play one. he knows his place in the universe and doesn’t abuse his power. a real guardian angel. the man is humble to a fault. he’s always there for his friends and doesn’t belittle. he actually brings out the best in them and makes them feel special.
clark kent should be an inspiration to everyone. because he symbolizes the best in people. he is the purest, modern incarnation of the hero archetype, of humanity’s highest ideals and noblest aspirations.because superman tells us to be the best person we can be. take action, not just talk about or think about things. to stick to and defend what you believe is right. to treat other people with respect and to hold life as sacred. and that’s a hero i can get on board with. that’s a hero i want to read about every day. one who fights against corruption, greed, war… all the things that cause unnecessary suffering and death. a hero who appears at peoples’ darkest moments, in a dark alley or in the path of a tornado, when everything looks hopeless and they are sure they are going to die-
and gives them back their lives.
what could be a greater superhero than that?
as wonder woman said to him after he is transformed into doomsday form by circle, “i won’t let you give into your pain or guilt. the whole world needs you right now because of who you are and what you do. because of what you mean to everyone. because of what you mean to me. just by being as good as you are.”