View Poll Results: Your preferred Ma and Pa Kent Status?

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  • Both Kents dead

    15 21.13%
  • Both Kents alive

    44 61.97%
  • Pa dead and Ma alive

    11 15.49%
  • Ma dead and Pa alive

    1 1.41%
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  1. #16
    Mighty Member Exciter's Avatar
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    Both alive for me. I like heroes to have families.
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  2. #17
    Astonishing Member Starter Set's Avatar
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    Both alive. Don't really see any good reason to hope for one of them to be dead.

  3. #18
    Fantastic Member tbaron's Avatar
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    I like them alive. It is rare to see a Superhero with a stable family unit. So Superman having one would be a nice change of pace.
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  4. #19
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    Both alive. It just worked so well post-crisis with them both being around, and not just for Clark either. Kara and Conner both benefited from having them around too, and I am sure Jon would have too if they were still around. Just because they were dead in the Golden and Silver age does not mean they should be now.

  5. #20
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    I hear that argument a lot, that just beacause it was so in the past doesn't mean it should be so now. And that's true. The Kents shouldn't be dead just because it was that way before. You shouldn't do anything "Just because". The argument from our camp is it should be that way because it was better. The reasons often outlined but I'll do a few here just for convenience sake:

    • It teaches him early on, just prior to becoming Superman, that he cannot do everything under the sun. There are some things he just cannot prevent.
    • Its better for Superman's characterization as an adult beginning his career to have to navigate it alone, and to build a new family along the way (Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc) with time. But that loneliness is a key factor. Stranger in a strange land for a second time, only this time he's aware of it, and has to deal with it in a way he didn't have to growing up.
    • Clark can't go home to constantly rely on his parents to fix his problems if they're not around. It makes him look weak to always be doing that. Granted this doesn't have to be written that way. Its a choice, not an unavoidable eventuality. But the fact it was often the choice made is a turn-off.
    • In the present day, they've almost always been better represented when they're in Clark's memory rather being just around the corner. Its far, far, far more touching.
    • Having them around to help out with Kara, Conner, and/or Jon is all well and good but I don't care for doing things to benefit other characters when I feel it hurts something about Superman. He's the main guy. Everyone else just exists in his world. Not saying these individual characters don't have individual merit, but it is what it is, they spun from Superman and they're always going to be second-fiddle in my mind, whether I like the indivdiual character (Kara, Kon), or not (Jon).


    As always, respect to those who feel differently, but just wanted to point out there's more a reason to preferring it this way than just "The Golden Age/Silver Age/Bronze Age did it". Its the how of it being so back then, the opinion that it worked better for a variety of reasons, that draw that conclusion.
    Last edited by Sacred Knight; 07-17-2019 at 11:35 AM.
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  6. #21
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sacred Knight View Post
    I hear that argument a lot, that just beacause it was so in the past doesn't mean it should be so now. And that's true. The Kents shouldn't be dead just because it was that way before. You shouldn't do anything "Just because". The argument from our camp is it should be that way because it was better.
    Pro living Kents people cite the “they were alive in the past so they should be alive now” argument too. Frankly what Mark Waid said about the situation was exactly how I feel:
    1. Superman’s loneliness is a crucial part of the character and that’s taken away with living Kents
    2. Superman constantly flying back to Kansas to get some rural wisdom made him look stupid and childish for not being able to solve his problems on his own
    3. The advice was either so generic as to be utterly useless “Now Clark you gotta do the right thing. Gee thanks Pa why couldn’t I think of that?” or it was so specific that it made you wonder how the hell Pa and Ma Kent somehow possessed brilliant insights into supervillains mindsets from their rural farm in the middle of nowhere.
    4. The Kents aren’t real characters, they’re perfect role models who are utterly flawless. Every charge people lay at Superman “he’s boring, he’s too perfect” is true about the Kents. They are boring and perfect because they need to imbue Clark with a good upbringing, but having them around in his superhero life robs him of any real moral challenge. Any time he has doubts he can just go to the Kents and they’ll instinctively know the right thing to do or they’ll be useless and not given any useful advice and at that point why include them at all?

    And it’s not like people have any decent story ideas for them once they’re back. Pretty much everything I’ve seen has been “OMG wouldn’t it be soooo cute if the Kents could see Jonathan?” Yeah but what else? What storytelling aspects do they offer? The answer is not much and in fact they basically severely reduce the moral complexity of Superman stories. If Clark could argue and disagree with them then maybe I could support their return but that’s not what people want. They want good ol’ boy Clark talking about his day over pie with Ma and Pa and that is so utterly boring to me.
    Last edited by Vordan; 07-17-2019 at 11:35 AM.

  7. #22
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Basically all they can be used for at this point is to mentor Jon while he has adventures with the Legion and such. The original Superboy status quo, only replacing Clark with Jon and doing it in present day instead of Clark's childhood. Which I basically find outright offensive to Superman's character. But that of course is a bit of a tangent.
    Last edited by Sacred Knight; 07-17-2019 at 11:44 AM.
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    "Now why don't we step up here and everybody get stepped up, and let's get some stepped up personal space up in this place." - Phillip Jacobs

  8. #23
    AT EASE, LOO-SUH! Superlad93's Avatar
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    Functionally speaking: doesn't really matter. Could be either, and things would work just fine. We've seen it.

    That said, I personally think it should be a Pa dead with Martha alive situation. Pa's borderline deific, and he's got too much importance and screen time in the general public's eyes to ever really be truly adjusted or really grown as a character. Ironically enough, he's more untouchable than Superman's space father. In Jor-El's case, he never really had a widely known personality or expectation beyond being being really smart, saving his son, and dying. So when he's brought back from the dead or a flashback goes beyond those ideas it's kind of just like "yeah, sure, I guess. I usually know him to be dead, but it's not like he has some iron clad character that stops this take from being a thing." Pa Kent? Not so much. F#%k that, more like not at all. Remember Pa Kent's "maybe" line from MOS? That dude is immovable, and grows ever more divine as the years go on. And honestly, that's okay.

    Martha has kind of always been swept to the wayside as either an appendage of Pa at her worst, and given a short lived thing of her own that never sicks outside of that particular take at her best. Her biggest claim to fame is usually making Clark's suit. So, I think she has the most room and ability to grow as a character beyond the divine mountain top her husband is sort of trapped on.

    So I'm like kill off Pa and let him join Uncle Ben in the sphere of comic mentor gods that are essentially folktales in their respective franchises, and let Ma be a mortal with character. If you let Ma stay a person then she can't possibly have the perfect thing to say to Clark every time he swings by. She's also allowed to find it hard without Pa around, and clutch that much more tighter onto what's left.
    Last edited by Superlad93; 07-17-2019 at 01:29 PM.
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  9. #24
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    Functionally speaking: doesn't really matter. Could be either, and things would work just fine. We've seen it.

    That said, I personally think it should be a Pa dead with Martha alive situation. Pa's borderline deific, and he's got too much importance and screen time in the general public's eyes to ever really be truly adjusted or really grown as a character. Ironically enough, he's more untouchable than Superman's space father. In Jor-El's case, he never really had a widely known personality or expectation beyond being being really smart, saving his son, and dying. So when he's brought back from the dead or a flashback goes beyond those ideas it's kind of just like "yeah, sure, I guess. I usually know him to be dead, but it's not like he has some iron clad character that stops this take from being a thing." Pa Kent? Not so much. F#%k that, more like not at all. Remember Pa Kent's "maybe" line from MOS? That dude is immovable, and grows ever more divine as the years go on. And honestly, that's okay.

    Martha has kind of always been swept to the wayside as either an appendage of Pa at her worst, and given a short lived thing of her own that never sicks outside of that particular take at her best. Her biggest claim to fame is usually making Clark's suit. So, I think she has the most room and ability to grow as a character beyond the divine mountain top her husband is sort of trapped on.

    So I'm like kill off Pa and let him join Uncle Ben in the sphere of comic mentor gods that are essentially folktales in their respective franchises, and let Ma be a mortal with character. If you let Ma stay a person then she can't possibly have the perfect thing to say to Clark every time he swings by. She's also allowed to find it hard without Pa around, and clutch that much more tighter onto her what's left.
    I could live with this. I was fine with the post-Brainiac status quo of Pa dead and Ma alive, and that’s pretty much been Superman’s default status quo in outside media.

  10. #25
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    The problem with "the Kents are perfect with generic advice and more touching as memories" to me is that the only argument I can make is to let the stories speak for themselves. If you don't count the Man of Steel film I can only ask if seeming perfect in Death of Clark Kent had any story relevance. I don't think flaws highlight character, that imo gets into Batman territory (consequently I feel like dead parents are sort of a shield from Batfan criticisms and the like).

    Morrison's excellent stories with some Fisch moments took place within his own canon, as parts of completely remarkable plots. There wasn't much design with going forward. I really like the Miraculous Return myself but it comes up rarely. Man of Steel #20 and Adventures #500 are just about as dated by now, sure. But those are two of the examples I would like to see met by "flashback" strength and relevance from that opinion. Action 847 is recent. What's good usage of the Kents being dead?

    Of course I do think that in a regular Superboy feature with them, it's redundant to have them in the present.
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  11. #26
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kuwagaton View Post
    The problem with "the Kents are perfect with generic advice and more touching as memories" to me is that the only argument I can make is to let the stories speak for themselves. If you don't count the Man of Steel film I can only ask if seeming perfect in Death of Clark Kent had any story relevance. I don't think flaws highlight character, that imo gets into Batman territory (consequently I feel like dead parents are sort of a shield from Batfan criticisms and the like).

    Morrison's excellent stories with some Fisch moments took place within his own canon, as parts of completely remarkable plots. There wasn't much design with going forward. I really like the Miraculous Return myself but it comes up rarely. Man of Steel #20 and Adventures #500 are just about as dated by now, sure. But those are two of the examples I would like to see met by "flashback" strength and relevance from that opinion. Action 847 is recent. What's good usage of the Kents being dead?

    Of course I do think that in a regular Superboy feature with them, it's redundant to have them in the present.
    What stories do you feel do a good job of showing how living Kents benefit Superman? My local library has a really great Superman collection that I’m reading through right now. I was actually planning on doing a reread of Byrne’s Man of Steel volumes because my library has them all available, going to see how I feel about them now. First time I read Byrne I liked it, then after a while I reread them and didn’t really enjoy them. Going to be interesting to see how I feel now.

  12. #27
    Mighty Member LordUltimus's Avatar
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    I've noticed that a lot of people who say that Superman going to his parents for advice makes him seem weak are fine with him going to this AI bio-dad for advice.

  13. #28
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    I'm bad with recalling issue numbers but there was a story where in Parasites powers allowed him to manipulate peoples emotions and essentially turned the people of metropolis against Superman making them view him as a menace. Supes eventually gets fed up with them and leaves them to rot but eventually he puts two and two together, kicks Parasites butt and puts everything right. The story was book ended with Supes fondly remembering the Kents and remembering that no one could turn them against him. I feel like that ending wouldn't have been as nice if it had involved him flying back to Smallville talking to his parents, asking them for advice, etc. Also there was that one story where he and Bruce talk about their relative childhoods in the Fortress of Solitude another story where I felt it was more nuanced because the two actually had some point of relation rather than the more modern "diametric opposites" take where they essentially had nothing in common. Both had "dead parents" even if they had wildly different childhoods what with Clark having been a teenage superhero and Bruce being a victim of gun violence.

    Frankly much of what I always see when this question gets brought up is a bunch of outside factors concerning what things are like in the rest of the DCU outside of Superman's wheelhouse. I don't see why Superman's existence should be dictated by what's going on in other peoples lives.

    Also I don't like the narrative that gets pushed that Superman where Superman's peace of mind is tied up with who or what is in his life ie the Kent's tie him to his humanity, Lois keeps him grounded, he needs a regular job to stay sane, etc. I mean if you imagine if the original Superman's psyche was so fragile he probably wouldn't stayed in the game very long much less almost 50 years. That guy basically had the clothes on his back, his wits, and old school toughness. (and super powers)

    But at the end of the day I can't really say the Kents being alive ruins anything for me and the characters do have their moments. I can definitely read Superman just fine with them around and did prior to the N52, but I think if the point of them being around is to make sure "Superman isn't sad" then you've missed a basic aspect of the character in that he's tougher than that.
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  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordUltimus View Post
    I've noticed that a lot of people who say that Superman going to his parents for advice makes him seem weak are fine with him going to this AI bio-dad for advice.
    Hmm, idk I've seen people on both sides of the argument at the very least question why the AI parents needed to exist in those movies. Frankly Superman's existence and his day to day activities are so far and away from the lives of his parent biological and adopted I can't really see what either would really know that could consistently help Clark in the long run. I mean if Superman needs scientific advice or farming advice then sure go to Jor-El or John for advice otherwise he's probably more of an expert on whatever issue hes dealing with than either of them.

    I just don't see how Jor-El could have been so smart that he could have possibly known exactly what Kal-El needed to know to become Superman. Makes the guy seemed more like a restrained omnipresent God than a desperate scientist.
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  15. #30
    Astonishing Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordUltimus View Post
    I've noticed that a lot of people who say that Superman going to his parents for advice makes him seem weak are fine with him going to this AI bio-dad for advice.
    Does he even do that anymore? I don’t think the AI existed in the New 52, and it hasn’t shown up in Rebirth, so I don’t think it exists in current canon. And most of the time Jor-El is portrayed as wise but remote or as a dick, so Clark gets to argue with him or disagree with him in a way he doesn’t really do with the Kents. But I’d be fine with him not having access to the Jor-El AI anymore.

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