Monday, February 18, 2013

Superman being inspiring! Remember that? Then you're old.


This issue actually made me go look for another issue, but we'll look at it first: from 1983, Superman Special #1, "Behold! The Ultimate Man!" Story and art by Gil Kane.

After fighting an alien warp-beast in deep space, Superman returns to earth to find a traitorous presidential advisor has attempted a coup, and now threatens nuclear annihilation. As you might expect, Supes puts the kibosh on that right quick; but the incident inspires a scientist's attempt to create "a race of supermen!" with an evolutionary accelerator.


Although his intentions had been good, the super-evolved Ultimate Man quickly loses interest in saving everyone: if some people die while he improves the world for everyone else, so what? And if humanity doesn't understand what's good for them, he'll make them understand. Creating a series of natural disasters to keep Superman busy, the Ultimate Man evolves himself even further, into a huge-brained yet hoverchair-bound monster. (Almost like MODOK!) Using Kryptonite blasts, U-M defeats Supes, casting him adrift in deep space; but Superman returns. Stymied, the Ultimate Man plans to evolve himself even further, but Superman has a plan for that...

This is a fun little one-shot, with some pretty nice art. I kind of wish maybe DC would've thought to do something like this for their new 52 series: get A-list talent to do a single issue story or two with the character's new looks. I know DC has that Adventures of Superman thing coming, but that's with his pre-52 look, and it's going off the rails with the controversy over Orson Scott Card, noted writer and homophobic jackass. Card is of course entitled to his own opinion, even if he is a legitimately terrible person; but it honestly makes me sad that DC Comics apparently couldn't find anyone closer to the values of Superman--you know, nice?--to write the character. And I thought Ender's Game sucked.

As usual, I have no idea what DC editorial was thinking: putting aside the vast and frankly well-deserved bad publicity hiring Card has got them, it's not like DC's getting him to reinvent Superman or anything. So, they're getting a few out-of-continuity stories for the cost of pissing off a ton of readers. I thought Warner Brothers had bean-counters to prevent this kind of thing...

3 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

There's not really that many Gil Kane-drawn Superman stories out there are there? Some covers yeah, but full-blown stories featuring his timeless art?

As for Card, well business as usual for the geniuses @ DC. Maybe they figured the controversary's
good for sales, much like the Before Watchmen stuff. Who knows.

notintheface said...

My theory is they're counting on a Chick-fil-a effect and homophobics will buy it in droves because...."free speech", I guess?

Dale Bagwell said...

Could be man, could be. Nice Icon pic by the way;)