Since I see so many people try to make Superman sound like a heartless monster or murderer for killing Zod in Man Of Steel, I’m curious as to why it bothers some people so much, even when him killing has happened multiple times before in other media, and what They think he should have done instead.
@lady-of-fandoms: Could you do something where Krypto somehow keeps finding the reader, and Clark is never far behind, and its all silly and cute, but… Genre: Fluff. Words: 1,375
Hello again,“ There’s a white dog that always seems to follow you when you
pass the Daily Planet. You rub under his muzzle and his tongue hangs out,
"Alright, you little mutt,” he wags his tail at you as you tease him.
You finally have the time to take a look at his red collar, “What’s your
You find a Superman tag tucked into his collar. You turn it around and read the words,
“Please return to.. Clark Kent.”
So, imagine for a moment, Nightwing at the Watch tower at some point, hanging out with the Justice league, and Superman hands him something and he accidentally says aloud "thanks, fourth dad." And then he has to explain why he calls him 4th dad. "There was my dad, and then Batman, and the Bat-Butler, who really taught me everything I needed to survive in the real word, and then Superman." Then later he calls Wonder Woman second mom, and everyone just sighed.
Its good to have more than one parental figure in your life. Someone to keep your grounded and ask questions. I bet Clark feels honored to be mentioned as one of Dick’s parental figures. I bet even more that Bruce tears up just at the thought of one of his kids referring to him as their father. AND I BET EVEN MORE FUCKING MONEY THAT DIANA IS KILLING IT AS BEING THE SECOND MOM!
Prompt: Joker sees batman and superman fighting each other and gets defensive. He is the one batman should fight. He starts making a scene and is all over batman infront of superman. Go.
“Hey, HEY!! Break it up you two!!” The Joker intercepted Batman and Superman angrily. He put a hand on Batmans shoulder, pulling him aside. He turned around to face Superman, pointing at his chest. “DO. NOT. Fight with Batman. He’s MINE.” He gave him a loveless glare before turning around to lecture Batman. “Batsy, Batsy, Batsy. I think you’ve FORGOTTEN, albeit for just a minute,” -He gave him a fixed glare- “That you are MY greatest enemy. Not anyone else’s, and ESPECIALLY not Supermans.” He raised his eyebrows into a puppy-dog face. “Isnt that right, Bataroo?” Batman shrugged the Jokers hands off his shoulders and crossed his arms. “It wasn’t like that! Me and Supes were just having a little argument. Its no big deal-” “Supes? SUPES?! You’re giving him pet names? That was OUR thing!” The Joker wailed. “Its like you dont even hate me anymore!” “No way!! It-It’s not like that, Joker!!” Batman hesitated before putting a hand on the Jokers shoulder. “Uh, maybe we can fight later?” The joker looked up at him hopefully. “Really?” “Yeah, yeah, how about a rooftop fistfight? You always love those.” Joker sniffed. “I would like that…” He made eye contact with Batman and a wide grin spread across his face. He punched Batman in the shoulder, giggling. “See you later, skater! Get ready for these guns!” He gave one rather unimpressive flex. Batman laughed and took Jokers head into a headlock, ruffling up the already-messy green hair.
“HEY YOU TWO SHOULD JUST KISS ALREADY,” yelled Superman from the background.
ZS: …I think with Superman we have this opportunity to place this icon within the sort of real world we live in. And I think that, honestly, the thing I was surprised about in response to Superman was how everyone clings to the Christopher Reeve version of Superman, you know? How tightly they cling to those ideas, not really the comic book version but more the movie version… If you really analyze the comic book version of Superman, he’s killed, he’s done all the things– I guess the rules that people associate with Superman in the movie world are not the rules that really apply to him in the comic book world, because those rules are different. He’s done all the things and more that we’ve shown him doing, right? It’s just funny to see people really taking it personally… because I made him real, you know, I made him feel, or made consequences [in] the world. I felt like, it was the same thing in Watchmen. We really wanted to show it wasn’t just like they thought, like the PG-13 version where everyone just gets up and they’re fine. I really wanted to show the violence is real, people get killed or get hurt, and it’s not fun or funny. And I guess for me, it was like I wanted a hero in Superman that was a real hero and sort of reflected the world we live in now…
Isn't it rather pointless and naive to have Superman continue to extend the olive branch to Luthor even when he and the audience know nothing will come of it and Luthor will always be a villain?
Yeah, that’s a fair question. You’d think after the 8th or 9th death ray or earthquake machine, he’d start thinking that while Lex isn’t a lost cause - Superman doesn’t tend to believe in those - he’s not particularly likely to turn over a new leaf either, and that actively hoping he wakes up and sees the light one day is just torturing himself.
Beyond that emotional investment though, what does it cost him? It’d be one thing if he was letting Lex go out of faith that this time he’ll surely clean up his act, but Superman’s still going after him and fighting everything he throws his way. He just thinks their war is stupid and pointless, and that there’s better things they could be doing with their lives. And that there is, in fact, a possibility that Lex could one day see it that way himself.
Not that this applies to every version of the character. Expecting the Golden Age Lex to reform would be like expecting Wile E. Coyote to stop chasing Road Runner. And the Byrne-era Lex - who literally considered himself a god and openly regarded humanity as barely-sentient insects fit only for grovelling at his feet as pitifully as they could manage, hating Superman purely because he found the idea of someone trying to stop him from tormenting, humiliating and murdering whoever he wanted whenever he wanted to be an almost inconceivably disgusting moral offense - was probably never going to see the light one day and turn his mighty intellect to helping mankind (especially since at the time his thing was primarily being business-smart rather than science-smart). But I hardly think it’s a coincidence that those are by far the least interesting takes on him: at his best, yes, Lex is a monster by any measure, but he’s also complicated. There is something there to dig out of him beyond the animal impulse to conquer and annihilate.
The thing with Lex - and yes, I realize it’s been repeated ad nauseum and boiled down to a misleading one-line summation of his character, same as it’s impossible to suppress an eye-roll at this point when someone calls Joker an “agent of chaos” however accurate it may be - is that he really does think he’s the hero, however much he’s deluding himself. Back in the Silver Age, for all the gags that he just hated Superboy for turning him bald, it’s clear reading that original story that he was a profoundly lonely kid desperate for friendship and respect, and that when it seemed his hero and only friend betrayed him out of jealousy at the moment of his greatest triumph, it shattered him beyond recognition into the man he becomes; hence the Bronze Age Luthor of Maggin and Bates who hated Superman but had nothing against mankind in general and was entirely capable of love even though he was ultimately ruled by his hate, or the Birthright Lex whose every act of spite was nakedly driven by a crushing sense of rejection. Or the modern Lex who convinces himself he’s humanity’s champion against an ubermensch whose very existence undoes our meaning as a species, even if he could care less for mankind and clearly is more concerned with his own value or lack thereof as the Greatest Man Of All Time.
That he’s capable of being salvaged is obviously a tougher proposition with the contemporary take; if nothing else, the one man above all others Superman thinks of as redeemable being a billionaire white guy is increasingly sketchy, especially when you factor in that the “people will wither and die with outside help, they need to learn to strive for greater things themselves” argument is something we hear these days less in relation to Superman, and more in relation to why poor people don’t deserve insurance. But it comes down to two things in particular that I think it makes sense Superman sees something in him:
1. Much as Lex is lying to himself about why he does what he does, he at least feels some kind of genuine need to justify himself. He doesn’t just go around destroying the world in his power armor the way 90% of the other villains Superman deals with do, or consider the concept of acting on principle towards a greater good to be a delusion for the little people; he’s constructed an incredibly elaborate, almost internally consistent set of self-justifications for why he’s still a good man in spite of all he’s done, and he believes he’ll actively work to improve the lives of others once Superman’s not ‘in the way’. The takeaway being that on some level, he wants to be a good man, if not as much as he wants to satisfy his own ego.
2. He wants to be loved. That’s often wrapped up with a desire to be outright worshiped, but as much as he may look down on his fellow man, he desperately craves acceptance and validation. It’s the great unspoken commonality of almost every major take on the character, whether he lashes out at Superman for seemingly betraying him, or for soaking up the love he wants for himself. Add the important note that most versions of him have at least one person he openly feels some kind of affection towards - typically either Lois or a version of Lena, or Clark himself once upon a time in some takes - suggesting that this sentiment at least somewhat extends beyond assuaging his own ego, and the concept that he could come to care about or at least acknowledge others doesn’t seem entirely like a pipe dream, however unlikely it may still be.
Arguments stemming from Lex’s personality aside though, Superman has other reasons for wanting to help him in particular. There’s of course the old idea that Lex could save the world in a way Superman never could, and there’s definitely truth to that; Lex IS smarter, and while Superman’s typically busy making sure the Galactic Golem doesn’t step on Metropolis, Lex has all the time in the world to cure cancer and take us to the stars, and serve as an example of practical and moral achievement to humanity, who doesn’t require superpowers to boot. Often - and I know I prefer it this way - Superman feels however irrationally responsible for Lex one way or another, whether because of his old friendship with Lex as Clark or Superboy going sour, or simply because his presence is what elevated Luthor to such heights of rage and desperation.
But most of all? I think Superman feels really, truly, completely uncondescendingly sorry for him. That Lex Luthor has spent his life so powerfully longing for something genuinely within his grasp - to change the world, and be respected for it - but wastes his life in pursuit of a selfish war he can never win, because he hates Superman so overpoweringly and because killing him would assure his own ascendance? That unlike so many of the people he fights - monsters who see human life as simple food, tyrants literally without the capacity to feel, authoritarians who make no bones about seeking conquest for its own sake - he wants love more than anything in the world, but lacks the self-awareness to realize it, or the empathy to feel it for or meaningfully from others? I think that would break Superman’s heart. I think that as much as he might be frustrated or enraged with Lex at a given moment, in the end every Kryptonite deathtrap and warped Bizarro clone and bid for the presidency and city-wrecking temper tantrum just makes Superman mourn for the person he could be all the more deeply. And because he sees that in him, and feels responsible for him, and knows Lex is one of the few people in the world who could talk with him on anything like the same level if they could just get along, and maybe above all else because he knows what it is to not quite be like anyone else but want to have a place among them, he can’t help but hope for Lex and try to draw that better person out of him. Because whether it’s naive to extend the olive branch or not, Superman lives forever in hope.
Clark / Superman may think Bruce is a hard lover to first pin down as long as he's also Batman (as in gETTING THE MAN'S ATTENTION, WARMING UP TO HIM WITHOUT BRUCE BACKING AWAY, SOMEHOW GET INTO THE PROCESS OF DATING BATMAN, MAKE HIM TRUST YOU EVEN JUST A TINY BIT which evolves kinda fast depending how long you're around him, ETC.) but really the Clark / Superman that struggles the hardest to get Bruce is LEGO Superman for LEGO Batman bECAUSE COME ON, JUST LOOK AT HIS PERSONALITY
I’m so mad at critics thinking that Marvel superhero films have defined the genre and set some standard and set of rules that future filmmakers within the superhero genre have to abide by and incorporate.
Batman V Superman had its flaws. It did. It wasn’t a perfect movie. However, criticisms of it not being funny enough, of it being ‘joyless,’ and it just not offering the same comedic relief that an Avengers movie would is beyond ridiculous to me. This film didn’t set out to make you laugh every five minutes and it didn’t promise to be some hilarious Superhero film so going into that movie wanting to have all this back and forth comedic banter between Batman and Superman when nothing has suggested that it was something you could expect is on you. Not on the film. I felt like this movie explored more serious concepts that Man of Steel introduced and that involves this idea of how humans would react to, first, the realisation that life exists outside of Earth, secondly, those aliens arriving on Earth, and finally, these religious ideologies that talk of a God and seeing Superman as this god-like figure and how the world responds to him being treated as such. Conceptually, Batman V Superman was incredible. I felt like it had so much more going on under the surface that if people just stopped waiting for a witty one-liner every five minutes, they’d grow to appreciate it. Now, I’m not going to get into a discussion of what worked and what didn’t, but my point is: the Superhero genre should allow for many different kinds of films and media and to so harshly rip one superhero film apart because it didn’t follow the same structure of another superhero film is so beyond frustrating to me and it is not a reflection of a film failing but rather a reflection on someone not understanding that Marvel has set a tone and a structure for its cinematic universe and DC Comics is in the process of establishing its own tone and structure for its cinematic universe. We all have our preferences and can dislike something because it’s simply something we don’t like but to be critical that x isn’t the same as y and therefore y is terrible… that’s not a valid criticism.
I tried to stay pretty quiet on this topic of discussion but seeing how much Batman V Superman is still being dragged in the mainstream media in an attempt to praise Civil War has just started to really bug me. And to now see early reviews of X-Men: Apocalypse criticise the film for not being hilarious has just heightened my level of frustration. Concepts within the Superhero genre are very serious and if ANY film wants to take those concepts seriously and approach things differently than a light-hearted action film then let them fucking do it and stop expecting a plethora of jokes to be the basis of what makes a superhero film good. End of rant.
Assuming that Lena saying "likewise" meant that she knows Kara loves her, I'm getting emotional thinking about it because this is the first time she feels loved by someone who doesn't expect anything from her?? Which could also be why she's reluctant to accept Kara as Supergirl. Because of what happened with Lex, she feels as though all Supers want something from a Luthor so accepting Kara as Supergirl might mean that Kara only "loves" her because she wants something from her
First, how dare you?
Moving on, I am trying to base this on what we know so far about Lena as far as the typical Luthor/Super dynamic. Thinking on her brother, she would obviously be aware of everything that happened to him. She knows that he was obsessed with Superman, that he went insane but that overall, he is just a bad person. She resents him for multiple reasons. Very recently, she was told not to think like him. In every way, outside of her intelligence, Lena is the opposite of her brother. Which is obviously great.
In Medusa, we got a small glimpse of some of the negative feelings she has for Superman, so I cannot help but feel that she holds Superman partially responsible for what happened with Lex – but I think the greater amount of focus is on the negative feelings she has for her brother.
In return, she has often been the one to seek Supergirl out for help. She is the one that sought that connection. Of course from there, their stories continue to intertwine.
I feel like Kara has made every effort to be no more than Kara Danvers around Lena. As Supergirl, she isn’t as warm and open. They don’t have that kind of relationship. Kara supports her and seeks her support, they are fun and open and casual around each other. They care deeply for each other. The optimistic part of me wants to feel like Lena would take that into account.
I used to headcanon that in the very beginning, Lena would feel as if they were getting to close and would feel that there had to be hidden intentions. Now I feel like because of how close they have gotten, she would feel the opposite. That’s more optimism from me and what would make sense, I think. But really who knows. We will have to see how a future reveal is handled.
Hey, talk somewhat on Superman's B-list villains? Livewire, Atomic Skull, Silver Banshee, Terra Man, Prankster, and any other low-level but recurring ones. Any ones have potential or cool powers there?
Livewire has always felt like she should be a bigger deal among the Superman villains, but at the same time I get to a certain extent why she hasn’t been. She’s got a great design, and Lori Petty’s voice did as much to define her as Arleen Sorkin did for Harley Quinn, but the more I think about her, the more she runs into problems. She’s not especially meant to be taken seriously - her ‘criticisms’ of Superman are deliberately framed as petty and shallow, to an extent that changing them would essentially rewrite her already pretty well-defined personality. So what you’ve got is a villain who won’t really hurt Superman (given one of his most iconic covers is taking a lightning bolt to the chest with a reply of “It tickles!”, electricity isn’t much of a plausible threat to him) who can still avoid him while causing a ruckus throughout Metropolis, mocking him all the while…and, well, that’s Mxyzptlk. Plus, while Mxy while might bring a vague air of sleaze with him in a way that can leave Superman a touch out of his depth, he’s still deliberately ridiculous, while Leslie Willis is typically much more straightforward and pointed in how she tries to take him down a peg or two in a way that can too easily slide into showing him as stodgy and boring by comparison.
The solution then I think is to bend her away from being a character who has direct confrontations with him all that often. One of her big shticks is that she can manipulate media broadcasts, usually just to make fun of Superman before they throw down. But what if that got pushed further? Make her instead a ghost in the machine riling up idiots on message boards who find the idea of tearing down Superman simply for the sake of it a riot; she could be a one-woman Anonymous, the Bad Media to the Daily Planet’s Good Media, drawing a line under how much of Metropolis hasn’t been hearing Superman’s message at all, needing both to be stopped, and to themselves be saved from far more than a meteor or robot (which would also do a lot to counter the image of Metropolis as a generically perfect city). Ironic, detached cynicism vs. unapologetic sincerity. In short, 4chan vs. Superman, winner take all.
Atomic Skull is, what, an actor with amnesia who thinks he’s a movie villain or something? Meh. I guess there’s something to play with in the idea of his powers as inherently dangerous, evoking Superman’s own fears of losing control, but that seems kinda shallow. I know Superwoman has shown him as somewhat reforming, which seems like a good hook (some of his villains really should), but that’s a whole other angle that hasn’t really been developed yet. The one time I have really liked him was in a set of stories immediately after Electric Superman where each of the four Superman titles briefly told stories set in different eras, with a version of the Skull in the first Golden Age story. A movie star who parlayed his fame as an American Nazi propagandist, he tried to attach himself to Superman’s own increasing public recognition - given he too wore a caped uniform in the serial Curse of the Atomic Skull - claiming they were both examples of the emergence of ubermenschen to reclaim the world. Mesh that with his traditional powerset and contemporary context, and I have an idea of him as some kind of hyper-reactionary, ‘realpolitk’-espousing nihilistic superman of skinheads, alt-righters, and crazed survivalists, who see him as the firey atomic nu-human of an apocalyptic tomorrow. He could even hook up with the Supremacists from Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s time on Action Comics for some easy recruits and henchmen.
Subjekt-17; now here’s a guy who I wish had popped up again. Largely forgotten as a consequence of Kurt Busiek’s time on Superman being criminally overlooked, Subjekt-17 was a worst-case scenario: not able to pass for human in the same way as Kal-El, he was taken in by the Soviets as an infant and experimented on his entire life, only to be confronted by Superman when freed and trying to cut a swathe of blood through humanity as payment for his suffering. There was an interesting, painful dynamic in play there - he saw Superman as something like a brother, but in spite of his telepathy couldn’t understand why he would protect the humans who coldly tormented Subjekt his entire life, ultimately seeing Superman as so desperate to assimilate that he would fight an innocent to protect the guilty. I feel like there’s a lot more stories in him, and when it comes to the perennial question of “Are you sure you’re really doing the right thing, Superman?”, I feel like he as a victim of the establishment would have a much more consistent batting average for good stories than yet another edgy new antihero lecturing Superman about the Real Issues.
Magog doesn’t even feel like he should break C-list in the natural order of things, but he was in probably the most widely-read Superman-centric comic ever other than I suppose Death of Superman, so yeah, he counts as notable. The idea presented later on in The Kingdom with Gog as a worshiper of Superman whose shattered faith drove him to madness feels like it has almost a kernel of something interesting at the heart of it, but it feels much more so like a vehicle for semi-talented creators to write dumb comics with him that think of themselves as much more important than they are. A friend did have a decent take on what to do with him narratively though in a way that works with how he’s existed up until now: he’s not a threat himself, he’s not even a consistent or on his own necessarily important figure, but he’s a multiversal constant in that his arrival is always the prelude to a cosmic upheaval or an end of an age of heroes, and specifically catastrophe for Superman. His appearances even back it up: his time in Chuck Austen’s Action Comics was shortly before Infinite Crisis, he came on the scene in the New 52 shortly before Truth and the resulting death of that version of Superman, and now another seemingly new version of him is in Supergirl in the build-up to Doomsday Clock. There’s a lot you can play with there: he doesn’t even have to be the same character twice, but he always emerges to try and take Superman to task on some profound level as a harbinger to a greater doom for the DCU. Maybe over time he could have the same kind of narrative “him showing up means something” cache as Doomsday, but in the sense that seeing him means Superman’s going to have to ask some big questions about himself and what he does as preparation for a larger reckoning for him and his kind, rather than meaning Superman’s gonna have to punch a bone monster again.
I wanna love Terra-Man. He’s a cowboy who was abducted by aliens and got a winged horse to fly around the universe, who calls himself Terra-Man because he a spaceman from Earth! That’s great! But I can’t say the execution has ever much interested me; he’s so over-the-top without ever especially being played as a gag that I just can’t get into it. Luckily though, the solution has already been reached with him: Tom Strong’s Coleman Grey, the Weird Rider, is straight-up Terra-Man, played with the melancholy, cold competency and swagger of a killer out of time, and some fantastic stone-cold badass moments that sell the hell out of him. Just apply that personality to this guy - fearsome but not unreasonable in the right circumstances, out of time but comfortable with his new life even if it means sometimes running up against the Man of Tomorrow - and we have an instant winner; maybe not one of the greats, but not every Superman opponent needs to bring major thematic concerns to the table so long as they can pull their weight in entertaining storytelling opportunities.
And now for a few rapid-fire takes:
Kryptonite Man was one of those characters who just had to exist sooner or later, but there’s really nothing about him that Metallo doesn’t make redundant.
To my knowledge Blackrock has never particularly worked, but I like the idea of him as a reality show hero who gets in Superman’s way sometimes. It doesn’t even need to be that specifically if those trappings are passe at this point; so long as he’s another vigilante opposed to Superman, you can probably pull something out of Blackrock.
Paragon is a comically awful human being with the powers to back up his inane egotism and cruelty in a way that actually quite worked for me under Kurt Busiek; I think he hits on the same “oh god dammit, this guy” response from Superman that Mxyzptlk elicits, but of a different enough flavor to make him worth keeping around as a separate figure.
And finally, while Tempus would probably lose a lot of his charm if up against a more straight-laced version of Superman, in the context of how silly Lois and Clark got he was my favorite part of that show, and I think he’d work fantastically in any other tongue-in-cheek Silver Age revival treatment of Superman’s world as a way to poke fun at the foundations, hilariously enough so it doesn’t grate but so over-the-top villainously we know we’re not supposed to agree with him.