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  1. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myskin View Post
    The more I think about the issue, the more I understand (maybe) why Landis' Clark is so convincing and compelling. One of the plagues of Superman stories in the latest decades (maybe even earlier) is that the writers always want (maybe DC obliges them to do so) to fill the story with dogmatic assertions concerning Superman's holiness. Lots of pages focused on lessons about what is right and what is wrong. Even worse: lots of pages focused on preachy Superman SAYING what is right and what is wrong. I am rather sure that one the reasons behind the decline of the character is that the writers always represent him as an example. This is a bit contradictory by the way, because in the stories proper Superman never does anything particularly heroic, or at least nothing which another superhero wouldn't do.

    In certain cases - especially in stories written by writers who have a deep love for the character and therefore they don't want to 'taint' his reputation - this has created a short-circuit which have made Superman more and more unbelievable as a character. I like Mark Waid's Kingdom Come, but IMHO the whole story collapses at the end, when Norman McCay reproaches Superman by saying that his greatest power has always been his skill at instinctively discerning between right and wrong. Well, the whole scene sounded fake to me. Because up to that point, Superman has taken a lot of bad decisions. And I mean A LOT of them. Including putting thousands of metahumans in a gulag. But that would even be acceptable, because - after all - the story is about ethical confusion in modern times, and the contrast between a old-fashioned generation of superheroes and younger, wilder, metahumans. The problem is, I am constantly under the impression that Waid is trying to represent his character in a positive light, even when he is clearly wrong (and even if the only real sacrifice in the story is made by Captain Marvel).

    This is partly even the readers' responsibility, because they ALWAYS expect the best from Superman, even if character-wise it would be better if Superman openly faced his own contradictions and found a solution to them. Let's admit it, how many times did we see Superman facing an interesting, ethical dilemma, but the writers provided an easy escape for him at the very end, therefore avoiding any real confrontation? Even the celebrated (and justly so) Superman vs the Elite story ends on a flat note, because Superman hasn't really proven his point, he just demonstrated that he is more skillful at using his own superpowers.

    Anyway, I think that the secret behind Landis' story is that he is finally treating Superman as a character and not as an example. Everything is aimed at this - the style of drawing, the perception of the characters, the dialogues. That's why it seems perfectly natural and acceptable that Superman drinks beer, goes to the woods with his friends and has a sexual life (yes, Clark Kent has sex with Lana Lang, or at least is particularly willing to do so, at last). What we are seeing here is not Superman's path towards being world's greatest hero (a flamboyant expression which ultimately doesn't mean anything). What we are seeing here is Superman's path towards becoming a good person, in a world where aliens exist of course, but by following a path which we can all relate too, because in the same situation we would have probably done the same exact thing. And if Landis will ever write a story about adult Superman (I think that the Superman vs Joker one doesn't count, because it was basically a meta-commentary), I expect him to treat the character as wise, good, but sympathetic guy, not as the god of heroism or whatever.
    Your right...I don't see the problem with Clark having a healthy sex life like everyone else. Like you said, he needs to be threaten as a character, not just an example.

  2. #47
    THE MARK OF MY DIGNITY Superlad93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tra-EL View Post
    I didn't see it as such. I think he's reluctant because of Ma and Ka's potential reactions and the way they parented him not to do what he's doing. The Clark/Ma Kent convo in the midst of the moment told you everything you needed to know why Clark seems this way as a young teenager. The "I wish you would act like any normal teenager" line was cut-throat to Clark and Martha knew it right away. Hell, she even admitted she was going to rip him a new one and Jonathan wasn't too far behind as he was livid.
    I'm so glad Landis followed up on this little beat from the first issue with a nod. Martha and Jon don't care that their son can fly or shoot lasers for his eyes. They care that their son is happy, healthy, and on track to live a good decent life. That's all any parent cares about regarding their kid. They don't "train" him to be a champion of the oppressed. They don't expect him to live up to some god complex. They just want him to life his life the same as the rest of us. And that's kind of wonderful, right? It's almost anti almost all other Superman takes in that Clark isn't given the weight of the world by his mom, dad, or space dad. Clark Joseph Kent takes on the weight because it's a nice thing to do and it just makes sense.

    So when Martha says "--act like a human teenager? Can't I expect that" it's more that she's asking "but why does my son have to do ALL of this or be responsible for ALL this? Why doesn't he get to just live his life". And I think Clark is apprehensive about helping because he's scared of expanding his context (as Deniz Camp put it). I mean it's all finally worked out. He's beaten the alien monster that was himself from last issue. Now he's making time with Lana Lang from down the street, drinking beer with his friends, and just living life. This issue makes it very clear that life is going pretty okay for this guy. Then his little world (Smallville) is turned upside down with a big hit of reality. But in the end Clark rolls his sleeves up and tries his best despite this new leap being so far out of the safe zone he's made for himself.

    I loved how this issue relayed this.
    Last edited by Superlad93; 12-17-2015 at 10:30 AM.

  3. #48
    Father Son Kamehameha < Kuwagaton's Avatar
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    Glad to see people turn around on Landis as a writer.

    Personally I hope this is the one series that doesn't end with him donning the costume. This is emphatically Clark Kent, a concept I wasn't warm to, initially.

  4. #49
    Fantastic Member Tra-EL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    I'm so glad Landis followed up on this little beat from the first issue with a nod. Martha and Jon don't care that their son can fly or shoot lasers for his eyes. They care that their son is happy, healthy, and on track to live a good decent life. That's all any parent cares about regarding their kid. They don't "train" him to be a champion of the oppressed. They don't expect him to live up to some god complex. They just want him to life his life the same as the rest of us. And that's kind of wonderful, right? It's almost anti almost all other Superman takes in that Clark isn't given the weight of the world by his mom, dad, or space dad. Clark Joseph Kent takes on the weight because it's a nice thing to do and it just makes sense.

    So when Martha says "--act like a human teenager? Can't I expect that" it's more that she's asking "but why does my son have to do ALL of this or be responsible for ALL this? Why doesn't he get to just live his life". And I think Clark is apprehensive about helping because he's scared of expanding his context (as Deniz Camp put it). I mean it's all finally worked out. He's beaten the alien monster that was himself from last issue. Now he's making time with Lana Lang from down the street, drinking beer with his friends, and just living life. This issue makes it very clear that life is going pretty okay for this guy. Then his little world (Smallville) is turned upside down with a big hit of reality. But in the end Clark rolls his sleeves up and tries his best despite this new leap being so far out of the safe zone he's made for himself.

    I loved how this issue relayed this.
    Agreed. Landis, so far, is knocking this story out of the park. I can't remember the last time I was excited enough to wish next month was here already to get issue 3. I'm that hooked right now.

  5. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myskin View Post
    The more I think about the issue, the more I understand (maybe) why Landis' Clark is so convincing and compelling. One of the plagues of Superman stories in the latest decades (maybe even earlier) is that the writers always want (maybe DC obliges them to do so) to fill the story with dogmatic assertions concerning Superman's holiness. Lots of pages focused on lessons about what is right and what is wrong. Even worse: lots of pages focused on preachy Superman SAYING what is right and what is wrong. I am rather sure that one the reasons behind the decline of the character is that the writers always represent him as an example. This is a bit contradictory by the way, because in the stories proper Superman never does anything particularly heroic, or at least nothing which another superhero wouldn't do.
    I like this argument.

    In certain cases - especially in stories written by writers who have a deep love for the character and therefore they don't want to 'taint' his reputation - this has created a short-circuit which have made Superman more and more unbelievable as a character. I like Mark Waid's Kingdom Come, but IMHO the whole story collapses at the end, when Norman McCay reproaches Superman by saying that his greatest power has always been his skill at instinctively discerning between right and wrong. Well, the whole scene sounded fake to me. Because up to that point, Superman has taken a lot of bad decisions. And I mean A LOT of them. Including putting thousands of metahumans in a gulag. But that would even be acceptable, because - after all - the story is about ethical confusion in modern times, and the contrast between a old-fashioned generation of superheroes and younger, wilder, metahumans. The problem is, I am constantly under the impression that Waid is trying to represent his character in a positive light, even when he is clearly wrong (and even if the only real sacrifice in the story is made by Captain Marvel).
    That was the point: Superman took all the wrong decitions because he was acting more "Super" and forgett his human side, same as all the new breed. But his capacity of choose between right and wrong was the "man" part of him, the part he had quit when he recluded himself in solitude. That part was not inherent to him but he learned to do it from his his human parents. He had left his human identity and that was the cause of all the problems. So meanwhile Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman had seek refugee in their "super" identity, Captain Marvel had hidden himself in his human identity.

    This is partly even the readers' responsibility, because they ALWAYS expect the best from Superman, even if character-wise it would be better if Superman openly faced his own contradictions and found a solution to them. Let's admit it, how many times did we see Superman facing an interesting, ethical dilemma, but the writers provided an easy escape for him at the very end, therefore avoiding any real confrontation? Even the celebrated (and justly so) Superman vs the Elite story ends on a flat note, because Superman hasn't really proven his point, he just demonstrated that he is more skillful at using his own superpowers.
    Good point on this one. I like when I see more ethical dilemma on mainstream Superman and less about his perceived perfection.

    Anyway, I think that the secret behind Landis' story is that he is finally treating Superman as a character and not as an example. Everything is aimed at this - the style of drawing, the perception of the characters, the dialogues. That's why it seems perfectly natural and acceptable that Superman drinks beer, goes to the woods with his friends and has a sexual life (yes, Clark Kent has sex with Lana Lang, or at least is particularly willing to do so, at last). What we are seeing here is not Superman's path towards being world's greatest hero (a flamboyant expression which ultimately doesn't mean anything). What we are seeing here is Superman's path towards becoming a good person, in a world where aliens exist of course, but by following a path which we can all relate too, because in the same situation we would have probably done the same exact thing. And if Landis will ever write a story about adult Superman (I think that the Superman vs Joker one doesn't count, because it was basically a meta-commentary), I expect him to treat the character as wise, good, but sympathetic guy, not as the god of heroism or whatever.
    I totally agree.
    "Never assign to malice what is adequately explained by stupidity or ignorance."

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  6. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thor-Ul View Post

    That was the point: Superman took all the wrong decitions because he was acting more "Super" and forgett his human side, same as all the new breed. But his capacity of choose between right and wrong was the "man" part of him, the part he had quit when he recluded himself in solitude. That part was not inherent to him but he learned to do it from his his human parents. He had left his human identity and that was the cause of all the problems. So meanwhile Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman had seek refugee in their "super" identity, Captain Marvel had hidden himself in his human identity.
    Yeah, I know, but I think that the story doesn't work so well from this point of view - especially the whole resolution, when Supes is pardoned very quickly after attempting to (or rather being seriously tempted to) kill the United Nations members. Maybe I am not able to perfectly communicate what I am trying to say (it's a general sensation rather than well defined moment in the story), but I think that Waid sympathizes too much with Superman, and he isn't able, or doesn't want to dig very deeply into his inner turmoil.

  7. #52
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    And by the way, now that I think about it: has anyone ever noticed that - especially in the latest years - the lesser the writers were able to use Superman properly, the more there were mentions of Superman as an inspiring force, as an example to follow?

    The inspirational element is a very risky way to define a superhero, because it summarizes its heroic skills in a very INDIRECT way. I mean, it could be said that Batman is even more inspirational than Superman - many people follows his steps, he succeeded in rehabilitating some criminals, and he is subject to a lot of risks - including, but not limited, to physical risks - which can touch Superman only in very special circumstances. In addition, Batman lives in an incredibly corrupt city, he's a lonely soldier against an army of evil people in a war which he may never win. His heroism is truer, easier to discern than Superman's. On the contrary, Superman's heroism is always reduced to the fact that he is taken as an example - even if it not easy to understand how (an example of what?), since his heroic deeds have become more and more insignificant in the latest years. IMHO, the inspirational thing is just a stopgap measure, an expedient to artificially make Superman meaningful because a story with a genuinely heroic Superman has become increasingly difficult to write.

    IMHO Landis succeeded on this point, too: because he is making Superman realistically concerned about what he could do to make the world a better place, as an average good person, behaving in a way which everybody can understand and relate to. That's why we don't hate Clark even if he burned some guy's arms off: because we understand his confusion, his fear, his inexperience, and him being so well-intentioned makes him more sympathetic, nicer to our eyes. If he had been classic Superman, with total invulnerability, in full control of his powers, and he had captured the bandit without a real effort, maybe the result wouldn't have been so messy, but at the same time he wouldn't have been so sympathetic.


    EDIT P.S. It's the first time I genuinely like Pete Ross (and Kenny Bravermann) as a character.

    EDIT2: does anyone remember this point?
    http://i413.photobucket.com/albums/p...Superman12.jpg
    I think that Lex's lines (including the haiku!) summarize Landis' philosophy, too.
    Last edited by Myskin; 12-17-2015 at 04:05 PM.

  8. #53
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Damn if Landis hasnt made me love this book.

    Generally speaking, I agree with Myskin and Superlad (surprise surprise). The themes and topics being explored here are a breath of fresh air, and Id take it a step further and say that these ideas (taking Superman off the pedestal and making him a character, not an archetype) are critical to Superman remaining a major player in fiction and not fading away as a relic of yesteryear. I think its important that we embrace the character of Superman (who can make mistakes and have flaws) and not the idea of Superman (who is flawless and nigh-perfect).

    That said, in my mind Clark Kent is never normal and never without "Superman". You cant have one without the other. The personas of Clark and Superman grow together throughout Kal's life; as Clark Kent grows up, makes friends and builds a world around himself where he is comfortable and accepted (at least insofar as Clark is ever accepted and comfortable) Superman grows up as well, just largely out of Smallville's sight. The expansion of sensory data informs new ideas and knowledge that cannot be shared by Clark (if for no other reason than the words dont exist to describe what Clark sees), the thrill of Superman's abilities are mostly kept quiet because no one is ever going to get it anyway and they'd likely be terrified if they knew (Clark himself is scared of where his limits are, and even more concerned by the possibility of not having any. Not that he's scared of his powers, those are a joy, he's scared of the unknowns they represent). And the desire to use those abilities, to do something that matters, grows with him.

    In other words, I dont subscribe to the idea that "Clark is who I am, Superman is what I can do." That, to me, is a flawed analogy that doesnt take into account the simple fact that Clark is indeed very different from us on a fundamental level, with a biology wired differently and a huge swath of his life experience that differs from our's. And here Landis is, writing a story about "Clark" and using the post-Crisis mistake of "Clark came first".

    Yet somehow, Landis has given me a Clark Kent story that works. He may say this is not a story about Superman, but I disagree. I see Superman here, in the moment Clark decides that he's going to help save those people. I see a young Superman (who doesnt know how to be a hero yet) push Clark out of his comfort zone and endanger the delicate acceptance he's found, risking everything he has to save lives, even though he's completely clueless as to how. I saw Superman last issue too, when a little boy realized that the world had become a lot smaller and he could use those abilities to help his family.

    I think, whether Landis realizes it or not, he's writing the story of how Clark Kent and Superman grow up together; not how Clark grew up to be a good person, or how he grew up to become Superman. That, at least, is how I am choosing to interpret the story thus far.
    "We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."

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  9. #54
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    edit post. never mind.

  10. #55
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    I think, whether Landis realizes it or not, he's writing the story of how Clark Kent and Superman grow up together; not how Clark grew up to be a good person, or how he grew up to become Superman. That, at least, is how I am choosing to interpret the story thus far
    I think that Landis knows about it. Better: I think that the way this miniseries was advertised (the story of Clark Kent or something) was just to make it clear that it wasn't about Superman proper (I mean, classic costumed Superman). But personally speaking, I think that Landis isn't that interested in the dichotomy Clark/Supes as other writers may be. I think that in his mind, he is writing the story of a human being and his life path, a human being who happens to have superpowers which are an integral part of him. And calling him Clark or Superman is purely optional.

  11. #56
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    I betcha some of the formula's in this story will carry over into the main title alongside a whole new angle of dark and realistic context in how the stories are told as Superman. I know this book could be the next Dark Knight Returns in terms of how Superman is depicted as the depiction that carries popular from the Silverage and the donner films to a new Games of Throne audience, maybe this will make Superman more modern and cool in some people eyes and finally beats Batman.

  12. #57
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myskin View Post
    I think that Landis knows about it. Better: I think that the way this miniseries was advertised (the story of Clark Kent or something) was just to make it clear that it wasn't about Superman proper (I mean, classic costumed Superman). But personally speaking, I think that Landis isn't that interested in the dichotomy Clark/Supes as other writers may be. I think that in his mind, he is writing the story of a human being and his life path, a human being who happens to have superpowers which are an integral part of him. And calling him Clark or Superman is purely optional.
    Yeah, I imagine that's about right.

    So, he's not quite hitting the character the way I would, but damn its been good so far, and avoiding (thus far, only two issues) the pitfalls that brought post-Crisis down; mainly treating Superman as an average man with powers, rather than as a super man who has one foot in humanity and one foot in the future.
    "We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."

    ~ Black Panther.

  13. #58
    Ultimate Member Ascended's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimishim12 View Post
    I betcha some of the formula's in this story will carry over into the main title alongside a whole new angle of dark and realistic context in how the stories are told as Superman. I know this book could be the next Dark Knight Returns in terms of how Superman is depicted as the depiction that carries popular from the Silverage and the donner films to a new Games of Throne audience, maybe this will make Superman more modern and cool in some people eyes and finally beats Batman.
    Superman's Dark Knight Returns?

    Well, someone is reaching for the stars. But hey, maybe. I mean, they could do worse.
    "We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe."

    ~ Black Panther.

  14. #59
    THE MARK OF MY DIGNITY Superlad93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ascended View Post
    In other words, I dont subscribe to the idea that "Clark is who I am, Superman is what I can do." That, to me, is a flawed analogy that doesnt take into account the simple fact that Clark is indeed very different from us on a fundamental level, with a biology wired differently and a huge swath of his life experience that differs from our's. And here Landis is, writing a story about "Clark" and using the post-Crisis mistake of "Clark came first".
    More and more I feel like that quote is more and more true (I feel strange to say). I mean Superman is a name that they gave Clark when they saw him flying/jumping around doing nice things for people. Clark (most of the time) doesn't even pick the Superman name at all. He's just Clark Joseph Kent, raised by Jon and Martha doing nice things for people in a suit. Superman is an icon, celebrity, misconception, god, and whatever else people think. But Clark Kent? Well he's a working-class guy from Kansas who happens to have been born in space. He likes writing, scifi movies, football, and music. He doesn't need a telescope to look at the stars, and he's also a fan of alien music from the Vega sector (but he's not so much into the new stuff. Too much use of Coluan sound mixers). He also loves to help people whenever and however he's able. It makes him feel good and it just makes sense.

    I think Clark has been Clark since forever, but we've all been swept up in the hype of Superman so much that we forgot that he's not a legacy or a creed (that's Adonis lol). Batman is and ideal, a template, a formation of commandments that one must live by in order to be worthy. You raise your right hand up and swear to vanquish injustice at every turn to be Batman. Green Lantern is a job that you're drafted to do as part of your duty to your fellow sentient lifefrom , and Flash is a faster version of a cop. But Superman? Superman is just a guy named Clark Kent who happens to be very nice. There was no template or call to arms.

    Even Grant All Star Superman Morrison believes this in his own more extravagant way. No matter how amazing and fantastic he may be, Superman is just Clark Kent in a suit. It's the world at large that puts him into grater context. Remember the labors of Superman? You probably didn't even notice them till they were told to you. That's because the world in hindsight put them into greater context. At the time it was just Clark Kent living his life. When they make Superman's successor at the end, that's a culmination of expectations and misconceptions. They even reduce Clark Kent's life down to a formula to mass produce these "Supermen". Desperate scientist + doomed planet + last hope + kindly couple = Superman. I remember Morrison saying that the statement he wanted to make with "Superman 2" was that Superman was not commodified. The life and time of a guy named Clark Kent were turned into a template. Superman 2 would be sleeker and almost plastic. It's almost bittersweet when you take that into account. I also remember Grant saying that the realest face of Superman is the guy that knows how to drive a tractor and likes alien music.

    So when Clark rolls up his sleeves and makes his way to the house scared out of his mind, I think it's just Clark pushing past his fears. I think called that part "Superman" under cuts his acts a little bit. Almost like "Superman" is divine intervention or a guide book from space dad ("do's and don't's of being a god on Earth").

    Lol we keep going around on this.
    Last edited by Superlad93; 12-17-2015 at 06:40 PM.

  15. #60
    THE MARK OF MY DIGNITY Superlad93's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myskin View Post
    I think that Landis knows about it. Better: I think that the way this miniseries was advertised (the story of Clark Kent or something) was just to make it clear that it wasn't about Superman proper (I mean, classic costumed Superman). But personally speaking, I think that Landis isn't that interested in the dichotomy Clark/Supes as other writers may be. I think that in his mind, he is writing the story of a human being and his life path, a human being who happens to have superpowers which are an integral part of him. And calling him Clark or Superman is purely optional.
    Lol I should've just scrolled my mouse down to read this. Anyways, Agreed.

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