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  1. #1
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    Default 10 things I don't like in the Superman franchise, past and present

    As simple as that, the title is clear.

    My list. Not in order.

    1- Humans gaining "Kryptonian powers". It doesn't make any sense to me. See Smallville or Superman & Lois.
    2- Jonathan Kent and Martha being both alive when Clark debuts as Superman. John Byrne's "Ma" and "Pa" were terrible.
    3- Superboy. It doesn't make any sense. Having Superman younger and operating in Smallville. Goodybe secret identity, goodbye mystique.
    4- Having Clark returning to Smallville as an adult man. Too risky and dangerous for his secret identity.
    5- Kryptonian enemies. Kryptonian enemies alive, operating with full yellow sun-based powers without any training or experience. Superman must be the last son of Krypton, in my view.
    6- No trunks. I miss them a lot.
    7- No yellow S-Shield on the cape. I miss it. See Man of Steel (2013).
    8- Superman having powers outside our galaxy. Too far-fetched. Too "powerful". I don't buy it.
    9- Superman being Superman before he turns 30. I don't like that. The Donnerverse origins were 100% perfect.
    10- The secret origins established by John Byrne. Not epic. Too simple. Again, Ma and Pa contributing. Nah.
    Last edited by Mutant 77; 07-30-2022 at 04:53 PM.

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Prime's Avatar
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    I agree with some of these. But is this for everyone to make their own list?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime View Post
    But is this for everyone to make their own list?
    YES! Do it, please.

  4. #4
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    1) I'm gonna dragged for this but...him having kids with Lois. She's a human. He's an alien. They aren't supposed to be able to do that. Plus, the kid would probably kill her in the womb.

    2) Not having powers from day one. I will be the first to admit this is petty and shallow of me but there's a backstory here. I was born with all kinds of birth defects. I was always weaker than the other kids. So to see a character who also grew up differently than everyone else but in a good way, that actually made him easier to relate to. So when you have a Superman who was "ordinary" at one time, that actually makes him harder for me to relate to. I know that sounds strange to most people but that's how I see it.

    3) Him growing up with Luthor in Smallville. Back in the SA when Smallville was just a suburb of Metropolis, this made a little bit of sense. Half the town would move to the "big city" when they grew up. But it doesn't make a lot of sense today. Smallville has been moved to the midwest. And even back then they were pushing credibility. The only version that seemed to make it halfway believable was the Smallville show and that's because Luthor was already from Metropolis.

    4) The fact that the only things they seem able to do with him are having him fight the alien of the month. The GA proved you can tell good Superman stories without having him take on aliens all the time. At this point, it just makes him look like a magnet for aliens to come to Earth and cause trouble that they didn't have before he debuted. Prankster could be a credible rival to Joker. Toyman could be made formidable. TAS did it.

    5) Him being a flying brick when being used with Batman. Everyone else has to be powered down or made to look dumb just to make Batman look useful. His father was a literal rocket scientist. He's not stupid. This is why I kind of like the way Titans is handling Conner. Giving him both Superman's powers and Luthor's intellect and arrogance. It makes sense he would inherit traits from both parents. (not that Titans isn't without it's own set of problems too. See #3)

    6) Most of TAS.

    7) The Snyder version and pretty much all of that. Which leads me to my next complaint...

    8) The fact that we can't get a decent Superman movie. Can we please get someone beside Luthor and Zod?

    9) The last 20 or so years in the comics. It's obvious to me that mismanagement caused this. No one could agree on what vision they wanted. Storywise, you could go back to 1999 and start from there and still have a more stable continuity than the one we've gotten over the last 20 or so years. I get that they wanted to bring back elements from the SA but they half assed it. Which kind of brings me to my final complaint...

    10) Fans not being able to get on the same page about what it is that they want. The one version that I think that has done the best job of this, honestly, is Superman and Lois. They get it. You have to give everyone a little bit of everything. A little GA, a little Smallville, a little SA, a little post-Crisis, a little Donner, a little Snyder, and even a little Lois & Clark. Johns tried this with SO and it was so dull and so thrown together that no one really cared. I have my issues with the show (cough) last season (cough) and some of the things I listed above, but for the most part, it's trying to be all things to all fans and is doing a good job. It's not perfect, but it's come closer than any other attempt at genuine fan outreach and actually listening to fans.
    #RestoretheDonnerverse

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member Ra-El's Avatar
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    Here's mine:

    1 - Making him evil, I consider as evil Superman any time he is used as an adversary, be it because he is psycopath, because he is mind controlled, body swaped, brainwashed or whatever. In the end is the same thing, the writers wanting to use Superman to prop other characters.

    2 - Dumbing down Superman, even without his powers Superman should be smarter, stronger and better! He is the real hero

    3 - When they make Clark super naive, as someone uncapable or seeing the bad side of people and things. He is a reporter, on the Daily Planet alone he most hear about things people are capable of that would make anyone feel sick, and on top of that, he have superhearing. It makes no sense to have him surprised everytime someone is a shitty person.

    4 - Yes, human gaining Kryptonian powers makes not f*cking sense, I remember some episodes of Smallville and Lois & Clark, where all it took was Superman and a human to be stroke by lightning. It's a bad concept, imo, Kryptonian powers should come from their celular capacity of absorting and processing solar energy, if that energy was passed to a human, they should get at most temporary powers and it should destroy their cells like radiation does.
    I like how they did with Kenan Kong, because they actually got Superman's DNA and used it to alter Kenan's making possible for him to keep the powers.

    5 - Clark and Lex growing up together in Smallville. I just don't like it.

    6 - The fact that almost every run of Superman for the past decade have Batman showing up, usually in the first arc or so. Superman doesn't need Batman to help him investigate a case, he is a investigative reporter he can do that on his own, if he needs help he can ask for Lois, or Maggie or Jimmy. He also doesn't need Batman to help him with science, specially Kryptonian science, Clark is smart, and if he needs help he can ask for Kelex, or Henry Irons, or Natasha Irons or Shay Veritas if she is still around.

    7 - His villains getting promoted to JL villains and barely getting used in the Superman books. When was the last time we had a epic Brainiac story that didn't involved the Justice League?
    And it's spreading to other medias too, everytime someone suggests on the internet Brainiac as the villain to a Superman movie, someone comments that he should be saved to be used in a Justice League movie.

    8 - Superman overly connected to the Fourth World, mostly because the New Gods works so well on their own, but all they are now is jobbers Darkseid defeats before the Justice League saves the say.

    9 - Killing him, or foreshadowing his death, or any callbacks to Death of Superman.

    10 - The constant reteling of his origin story, the majority of Superman minis or maxi series are some form of origin story.
    Last edited by Ra-El; 07-31-2022 at 10:14 AM.

  6. #6
    Fantastic Member Jeffrey2's Avatar
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    It all comes down to WB/DC controlling the franchise. Until the IP goes public in a few years nothing will change. WB/DC believe Superman is hard to write yet that is not an issue with any other superhero. WB/DC believe that a Superman film can't be a financial success yet virtually every other superhero film in the past 20 years - the golden age of superhero movies - has been a financial success. WB/DC has imbibed this belief to the point it has become a self-fulfilling prophecy which is how we got to a woke Jon Kent replacing Clark/Superman in the books and Supergirl replacing Superman on film. Nothing will change until the IP is public and Marvel starts doing Superman.
    Last edited by Jeffrey2; 07-31-2022 at 11:43 AM.

  7. #7
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    I agree with some of the things from the O.P. list and disagree with others, while some aren't even on my radar--but I can live with most of them.

    Yeah, I don't like the Kents being alive and I'd prefer Superman was the only surviving Kryptonian. I'd rather have the trunks and the yellow shield on his cape.

    But I like the old Superboy stories. A lot of what is now Superman lore came out of the Superboy tales from the 1950s and 1960s--something about those comics proved to be a great generator of comic book concepts. And the adventures of Superman as a boy keeps the Kents relevant in his past, so they don't need to be alive in the present.

    It makes less sense to me if Clark only decides in his twenties that he's going to try being a super-hero, if he's grown up with super-powers all his life. And it bugs me that the Donner, Byrne, Cavill and Welling Clark Kent has no glasses and makes little or no attempt to create the Clark Kent persona until after he becomes Superman. That's a bigger red flag than a Superboy in Smallville. People would just need to look up Clark's history and they could figure out that this guy up until ten minutes ago acted and looked exactly like Superman.

    It makes more sense that the Kents were actively covering up any clues that would link Clark with Superboy and helping their son create a distinct persona with glasses, from an early age. The classic Superboy stories spent a lot of time explaining how Clark and Superboy were perceived as completely different individuals and the measures he took to protect his secret identity. I prefer a Superman who has been training and developing his skills all his life rather than falling into it by accident when he's grown up. And along with Superboy, you had the classic Legion of Super-Heroes. So the benefits of original Superboy far outweigh the deficits, in my book.

    The two big things that bug me about current Superman are 1. the marriage to Lois Lane and 2. their grown up son taking over for his father. As an Elseworlds or a possible future, I could live with these. But now this is supposed to be the status quo and the version of Superman they are promoting--while Superman without a wife and son is strictly out of continuity.

    I know the marriage has been in the comics for almost three decades, but I don't like it. However, in the end, I think that pushing Jon as the new Superman will break the universe. It's not a concept that can be sustained and when it breaks, something else will emerge. But what form that will take is anyone's guess. Going back to basics is something that happens repeatedly in comics, so it's probably only a matter of time before Superman goes back to basics again.

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  8. #8
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    Here are 10 things I do not want to see with Supes:

    1) the Jesus crap. STAHP! He was NOT sent here for any reason other than a parents desperate hope to save their baby. It's primal; it's pure; and relatable. It is a very real part of Americana as well. So no screens, no crystals of holo Mom and holo Dad, or any of that drip.

    2) stop limiting Superman's abilities to prop up a specialist who don't have his varied powerset. I am a purist and a researcher. If his design called for it it should be there and it should be at the level intended or indicated. So no dumb Superman and no Superman being eclipsed by any speedsters or earth scientists.

    3) no more Kryptonite being available at 7/11

    4) this one really stems from the fact that with Flashpoint and New Crappy-2, DC has run its continuity into the ground. So we might as well take advantage of the reset and begin with Lois not knowing Supes and no kiddies. But only if we can't just go back to just before Infinite Crisis and redo the ending of New Krypton

    5) For this one, I am not sure if this is the place. But Supergirl and Power Girl Supes support characters? Or no?

    6) Supes and Wondy(and Bats and Wondy ftm) are FRIENDS. NO BENEFITS. STAHP!

    7) Lex is NOT the only Superman villain worth a darn. Use the other ones!!!

    8) Dead Kents I like the Kents alive. I feel like Supes brand is Americana and we live longer these days so I like seeing the Kents find new paths and offer a different take on romance. It is also nice to see Clark go help Me and Pa every now and again.

    9) Red Sun lamp = powerless Supes

    10) I never liked Superman as Superboy myself. That is one thong Byrne did that made sense to me
    Last edited by Stanlos; 08-01-2022 at 02:04 PM.

  9. #9
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    1) The loss of Clark Kent. While this is obvious after the reveal of the secret identity, I've wanted to see more of Clark since a little before Rebirth. Part of what made Superman interesting to me was that in addition to fantastical adventures we also had scenes of Clark reporting and having friendships with people who weren't superheroes.

    2) The over-emphasis on Lois. Yes, she is important in Superman's life and mythos. No, I do not want her removed or side-lined. But while I don't want Lois back to being the constant damsel in distress, I also don't want her on Superman's (or Wonder Woman's) level. Lois works best (IMO) as a run-of-the-mill reporter who if she'd never met Superman would be at best a name in her local city. She and Clark should not be nationally known and celebrated reporters. And Lois should not be a one-woman commando team. She shouldn't be a person Batman considered a master detective. She should be a journalist who is talented but like most would not be known if she wasn't associated with Superman. She also should not be the one coordinationg the heroes Superman has on speed-dial during emergencies.

    3)Loss of his uniqueness. Whether it is the constant pastiches like Hyperion, Gladiator, Plutonian, Homelander ... or the overuse of depowering plots- Superman is too often coming in last behind characters based on him. I'd love to see a ban on kryptonite weaponry, a moritorium on stories where Superman loses his powers, and an increase in villains not tailored to Superman. Most villains who go to hand with Superman should be guys that Hawkman, Flas and especially Batman do not want to trade blows with. Even people like Diana or Captain Marvel should consider these foes as serious threats. We need to restore the idea that if something takes down Superman the big guns are taking a step backwards.

    4)For all my complaints up above about Superman having too many superhero "friends" I do miss the more casual friendships Superman one had in the Silver/Bronze Eras. Things like the JLA out of costume grabbing a bit to eat at a diner, the Atom consulting with Superman about enlarging Kandor, or the JLA pinch-hitting for both Superman and Clark when Superman was on a mission outside Metropolis,

    5)Lack of consistency/continuity. I used to hate the Weisinger era's repeat plots. Mon-El/Hal Kar, Interplanetary Olympics scam, one of Superman's cast runs across a physical double, etc. They might have been cute or even amazing as a single story, but when the number of reused stories in a two year period easily outnumbered the original ones ... Now the overused plots are all backstory, particularly the origins.

    Or What is Lana's profession (world travelling engineer? reporter?), Was Superman active during Jon's early life? What does Supergirl do in her spare time? Did Clark ever consider Power Girl a blood relative? Will these questions have the same answer next month or in six months?

    6)Undead parents: Other than the one 1980's Pre-Crisis tale that brought Jonathan back for a single day (which no one remembered once he returned to the grave) I am not a fan of returning any of Clark's parents to life. I could live with the Byrne/Triangle era where Clark had the Kents alive into his adult hood, but having them return Post-Doomsday Clack in the same story where we lose Clark Kent as a secret identity? Then to have the JLA promise to watch them now that they were public figures... only for their farm to get targeted when their grandson drops in for a visit, And both Jor-El and Lara never need to come back, The whole Mr. Oz bit was so bad it should permanently ban any use of Jor-El outside of a flashback to the origin.

    7)Krypton. Why is a single dead world given this much attention. The best part of the early Superman stories was the lack of having Krypton in your face every other issue. Can we have a break from other survivors (Phaeosains, Kandorians, new Phantom Zoners, ...) and stories focusing on the explosion (Rogol Zaar and the Circle).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    But I like the old Superboy stories. A lot of what is now Superman lore came out of the Superboy tales from the 1950s and 1960s--something about those comics proved to be a great generator of comic book concepts. And the adventures of Superman as a boy keeps the Kents relevant in his past, so they don't need to be alive in the present.

    It makes less sense to me if Clark only decides in his twenties that he's going to try being a super-hero, if he's grown up with super-powers all his life. And it bugs me that the Donner, Byrne, Cavill and Welling Clark Kent has no glasses and makes little or no attempt to create the Clark Kent persona until after he becomes Superman. That's a bigger red flag than a Superboy in Smallville. People would just need to look up Clark's history and they could figure out that this guy up until ten minutes ago acted and looked exactly like Superman.
    Dear friend, I know where you're coming from. Not a bad point. Fact is... we must suppose that Clark left Smallville when he was 18. We must suppose that there are no many photographs (around) of Clark when he was 15-18. And, at last but not least, we must suppose that when Clark debuts as the "Clark Kent Persona", and he's 30, he looks different.
    That said, Clark must not return to Smallville. At all. That's too dangerous for him and his double life. This is the only point of Superman III which I don't truly like.

    Superboy is a great "What If" concept. Alternate Earth. I like this perspective better, quite frankly.


    Quote Originally Posted by superduperman View Post
    2) Not having powers from day one. I will be the first to admit this is petty and shallow of me but there's a backstory here. I was born with all kinds of birth defects. I was always weaker than the other kids. So to see a character who also grew up differently than everyone else but in a good way, that actually made him easier to relate to. So when you have a Superman who was "ordinary" at one time, that actually makes him harder for me to relate to. I know that sounds strange to most people but that's how I see it.
    This is an interesting point. Fact is, I don't know how the Kents managed to deal with a super-powered baby. Even the Donnerverse Clark, having (ONLY) the superstrength when he was 3, seems to me difficult to hold as concept.

  11. #11
    Extraordinary Member HsssH's Avatar
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    I probably forgot something, but here it goes:

    1. I don't like there being multiple Kryptonians around, Clark should be the only one.

    2. I think that Clark asking for advice and learning from his relatives is ok, but I feel like it has gotten out of hand at some point. Now it often feels like Clark is a moron who needs to be told that good people should do good things. This is partially related to various alternate universe versions where one bad day or his parents not being around causes him to become a psycho. I'm not sure if his parents need to be dead or not, but I know that whenever I see some flashback story where they teach young Clark some important lesson I just roll my eyes.

    3. We obviously can't do anything about Marvel and smaller publishers (or independent creators) creating Superman-like characters, but maybe DC should stop doing that themselves. It makes Clark's powers look bland and less unique. This includes characters like Martian Manhunter as well. I don't know whose bright idea was that he should have very similar powers (but cooler!) as Superman and also be last survivor of his own civilization. If it was up to me I'd reboot him back to his "classic" status. Someone like Lobo can take a hike entirely.

    4. I'd like if nobody important was born or grew up in Smallville asides of Clark. I'm ok with Smallville having its own history and maybe some plot hooks for potential mysteries here and there, but someone like Luthor having some connection to it should be out of the question.

    5. Now this makes me a bit of hypocrite since I enjoyed recent Olsen stories by Fraction, but I'd love to if there were more normal human beings around Superman. Lois is the best journalist in the world, Olsen has crazy adventures every day, Lana was in charge of Lexcorp at some point I think? There are always some super scientists around. Ma and Pa are literally the best parents in the entire universe. His son is going to be even better than he is. His biological parents were also the greatest that their stupid society ignored. And with secret identity gone Clark doesn't even really have any opportunities to have a normal relationship with normal human being.

    6. Secret identity. Yes, you could make an argument that Clark shouldn't lie or that his "secret" was obvious, but in my mind if you do it then it fundamentally alters the status quo. What we have now is basically DC pretending that not that much changed with him revealing his identity and everyone is just living their totally ordinary lives.

    7. Krypton blew up, lets move on. Stop searching for survivors, related species or "real reasons" why it blew up.

    8. Superman is not a moron, he is super smart. If he asks for help it is because he literally can't be at two places at the same time or because he needs some unique perspective that another character might have. Idea that someone like Batman needs to run some tests for Superman is stupid.

    9. I don't like Superboy and Legion. Those ideas never worked for me.

  12. #12
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    One for each decade.
    30s-Lack of consistency of powers
    40s-First ten years of Superboy make no sense.
    50s-Kryptonian things everywhere.
    60s- Entire cast having intelligence and maturity of 10-year-olds
    70s-anchorman Clark Kent
    80s-post-crisis reboot
    90s-the mullet
    00s-messiah parallels, symbol of hope
    10s-Superman/Wonder Woman pairing
    20s-so far, everything

  13. #13
    Better than YOU! Alan2099's Avatar
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    (In no particular order)

    1. Lack of trunks on his costume
    2. Any Super-Jesus story
    3. Any story where Superman goes evil because something bad happened to Lois, Jimmy, the Daily Planet, his 3rd grade teacher/etc
    4. Superman having a kid (fine for alternate future stories, but not present continuity)
    5. writers that keep bringing back Krypto but nobody ever bringing back Beppo the super monkey
    6. Clark Kent and Superman both acting like the same guy
    7. Darkseid being considered a Superman enemy
    8. Bibbo not being used more frequently
    9. Superman being married, I don't hate it, but I think Lois as the love interest that doesn't know Clark and Superman are the same guy is a lot more interesting
    10. Superman being treated like a chump while Batman is treated like the most awesome guy ever

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutant 77 View Post
    Superboy is a great "What If" concept. Alternate Earth. I like this perspective better, quite frankly.

    I'd say old school Superboy is a defining character of the era. He's as key to the original Earth-One universe as Barry Allen was. When certain characters are declared off limits, they can become emblematic of the period they were in.

    Look at the original Captain Marvel. Once he was out of bounds, the whole idea of a "Golden Age" took shape around him. This is what the old fanboys were pining for.

    The existence of Superboy pretty much generates the concepts that are vital to the old Earth-One Superman.

    If we were ever offered the chance to have Superboy in a "What If" Alternate Earth Elseworlds, not part of the main universe--I would have taken that and been satisfied. That actually would have worked out better for Superboy and the Legion, because they wouldn't need to fit into whatever universe was in continuity that week.

    We were never given that choice! That's the hell of it.

    They even took the name "Earth One" and gave it away to publications that had nothing in common with the original continuity, proving they had no interest in going there.

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  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mutant 77 View Post

    This is an interesting point. Fact is, I don't know how the Kents managed to deal with a super-powered baby. Even the Donnerverse Clark, having (ONLY) the superstrength when he was 3, seems to me difficult to hold as concept.
    I know I'm probably the outlier with this, particularly among parents with young children, but him growing up different was what made him relatable to me.
    #RestoretheDonnerverse

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