Superman vs the Elite

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Blayne » 2012-06-27 03:30am

And murdering the governments of two sovereign nation wasn't superman's concern?

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Sarevok » 2012-06-27 10:11am

The Elite ended the war. Superman did nothing. Humans beings are afraid of war becaue they suffer and die. Superman does not and that is the Elites main point. It is easy to take the moral highground when yourself are a demigod.

I like superman and all but he came across an an horrible being in this movie. It was superman that was terryfing to me.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby SCRawl » 2012-06-27 01:40pm

You can easily make the argument that Superman was goaded into intervening in the conflict by the Elite, and further that he often declines to act in some of these conflicts. He certainly can stop any conventional military activity if he wants to, without harming anyone, if he puts his mind to it. My understanding about his reasons for not doing so is that he feels that humans need a certain amount of self-determination, and if he keeps them from killing each other then he's nothing but a babysitter, substituting his own moral code for theirs.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby evilsoup » 2012-06-27 02:36pm

Then why does he prevent crimes at all?

Just accept the fact that Superman is a dick.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-06-27 04:42pm

Looking at it from the point of view of the character- he wants to protect Earth without ruling it. He doesn't feel like he has the standing to decide what human civilization should look like on the large scale- anyone who does think that is a person to worry about, if you ask me.

So he upholds laws that human communities pass for themselves (up to certain limits, he's not a machine). Because that's not dictating terms to humanity, he isn't the one who decided bank robbers, kidnappers, and arsonists are doing something wrong.

And he fights to defend Earth from any alien threat that comes from outside. Again, that's a straightforward case of protecting a community, a society, a civilization from external enemies.

But when we talk about war, we have large scale clashes between human communities. And here Superman's intervention becomes problematic. Who is he fighting for? On whose behalf? Does he actually try to settle the war in favor of one party or the other? Does he reward whichever side he deems worthy, and punish whichever side he deems guilty?

It's very hard to do that consistently without making himself de facto world government- because any regime that does anything Superman dislikes enough ends up getting smacked down by Superman.

So I can see why Superman holds himself neutral in wars. Otherwise, he'd be picking winners and losers (and thus taking responsibility for deciding what kind of people will dominate in the future). If he didn't do that, the war would just resume whenever he turned his back on it (think Israel vs. Palestine). And then he'd be spending all his time flying around trying to stop a war that keeps wanting to flare up again.

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby evilsoup » 2012-06-27 05:11pm

Well if I was superman, I'd probably just settle for ripping the spines out through the chest of world leaders who started wars.

Or I guess he could drop war criminals off at the Hague, since it's pretty universally agreed-upon that those guys are worse than bank robbers.

But eh, maybe he does do that, I don't think I've ever read a superman issue.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Stark » 2012-06-27 05:19pm

Don't worry; he's limited narratively by the desire to keep the in-universe world recognisable and thus saleable.

It's pretty sad when Gundam 00 had a more sophisticated examination of what it means to use force to end war/crime/bad things. :lol:

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby evilsoup » 2012-06-27 05:49pm

Yeah that's the problem with comic book universes, can't meaningfully change anything.

Swamp Thing had the same problem, where by the end of Alan Moore's run the character would be able to replace all the rainforest & end world hunger in a few hours... but of course it was part of the DC universe, so he had to go 'oh I can't interfere'.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Batman » 2012-06-27 08:01pm

I think one of the themes running through DC in general and Superman comics in particular is 'this is man's world, and it's man's job to keep it working.'
If he fixes all our problems for us, we're bound to lose not only the desire but the ability to do so by ourselves. Natural catastrophies and the demianual alien invasion are one thing but wars are a purely human thing, and as S_J said Clark stopping a lot/most/all of the violence won't make the reasons for it happenening go away.
And as we saw in the movie, Clark did try to stop the violence best as he could, and thanked the Elite for assisting in it. It was the collective murdering of the respective governments that apalled him which is a) well, mass murder, and we all know how Clark feels about killing, and b) unlikely to improve the situation much. There's obviously some serious enmity between those two countries and now neither of them has any organized government. Had it been in support of a coup (hopefully, on both sides) that would at least have made a modicum of sense though it still begs the question of why kill all of them instead of simply removing them?
Unlike the people we of the Tights Brigade have to catcha again, and again, and again those were bog-standard humans so it's likely then when jailed they would have stayed jailed (and might even be quite properly and legally executed, my DCU International Law is a bit hazy).
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-06-27 09:00pm

The "this is man's world" thing is arguably handwaved. But it's a legitimate ethical question. Anyone who says "If I had that kind of power, I'd fix everything!" really should be able to come up with a bit of introspection as an answer to that. Would you? What is your moral standing to criticize some of the things you'd rid the world of? Who gave you the right to reshape things, as opposed to the power to do so?

We can always make exceptions to that, or well-what-about-Hitler questions, or whatever. But it's a fair question to ask yourself- just because you're sure you can answer it easily doesn't mean you don't need to have an answer. And Superman... doesn't seem to think he does have one.

Well, I don't think it's critical to Superman's character that he be especially intelligent, or good at philosophy. Maybe he just feels uncomfortable and exasperated trying to be policeman for nations, and rationalizes it as being immoral for him to do so.

evilsoup wrote:Well if I was superman, I'd probably just settle for ripping the spines out through the chest of world leaders who started wars.

Or I guess he could drop war criminals off at the Hague, since it's pretty universally agreed-upon that those guys are worse than bank robbers.

But eh, maybe he does do that, I don't think I've ever read a superman issue.
There was one back in the very early days of the comic... hang on.

[looks up online, can't remember]

OK, he did exactly that in the second issue of Superman (as in, back in the 1930s). And there was a little what-if about Superman getting pissed off and deciding to end the war by grabbing Hitler and Stalin and hauling them to stand trial in Geneva. Google 'superman hitler stalin' and look up the image results.

But since then, not so much.

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Rogue 9 » 2012-06-27 10:18pm

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby mr friendly guy » 2012-06-28 04:43am

Its interesting, since Superman sees himself as merely enforcing the rules and not deciding them, no one who felt the Atomic Skull should die, thought to point out that its the fault of the State's laws for not executing him, as opposed to Superman for simply catching him. Otherwise he most probably won't look like such a dick when he sprouts off the "I can't kill" after Atomic Skull just killed more people.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-06-28 08:52am

Hm.

Something to that- we ask why Batman doesn't kill the Joker, but we never stop to ask why the federal courts don't kill the Joker. "Not guilty by reason of insanity" doesn't get you very far when it's manifestly the case that the criminal in question premeditates his crimes and is perfectly aware of how conventional morality works, he just likes to laugh at it.

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Rossum » 2012-06-28 08:54am

mr friendly guy wrote:Its interesting, since Superman sees himself as merely enforcing the rules and not deciding them, no one who felt the Atomic Skull should die, thought to point out that its the fault of the State's laws for not executing him, as opposed to Superman for simply catching him. Otherwise he most probably won't look like such a dick when he sprouts off the "I can't kill" after Atomic Skull just killed more people.


Yeah, Atomic Skull goes on a rampage, kills cops (least I think he did, though he could have done it in the later fight) and all around wrecks havok and gives Superman a tough fight. I mean, Supes was clearly struggling to get Atomic Skull under control.

So what do they do? Stick him in a cell and strap some huge energy draining thing to him (that they just convenianetly happened to have in the prison) and use him to power the city. He isn't even strapped down or encased in metal or anything. He just sits around with just a few tubes hooked to him that limit his building-exploding atomic blasty powers. Oh, and the power drainer can get knocked out due to a lightning storm and there is absolutely no backup system to get him under control.

Actually, that sounds kind of shifty. Who profits from all the energy they suck out of Atomic Skull? Are they somehow implying that lowering the cities electric bill is an adequate compensation for him killing lots of innocent civilians just to fight Superman? If they need energy that much, wouldn't it be better to just use their sci-fi tech to make a decent nuclear reactor instead of using a "reactor" whos fuel is an evil undead monster that likes breaking free and killing people?

Plus, if there is a financial incentive for someone to keep Atomic Skull (or possibly other metahumans) locked up and sucking energy from them, that could result in corruption in the justice system as the people involved try to make a buck.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Sarevok » 2012-06-28 11:23am

SCRawl wrote:You can easily make the argument that Superman was goaded into intervening in the conflict by the Elite, and further that he often declines to act in some of these conflicts. He certainly can stop any conventional military activity if he wants to, without harming anyone, if he puts his mind to it. My understanding about his reasons for not doing so is that he feels that humans need a certain amount of self-determination, and if he keeps them from killing each other then he's nothing but a babysitter, substituting his own moral code for theirs.


Superman is free to pursue his own way of heroism. The conflict in the film started when Superman attacked the Elite to save the Atomic Skull who just seconds ago killed scores of people. Unlike the comics in this movie adaptation the only people the Elite went after were superpowered villains,tyrannical governments locked in perpetual war etc. Superman was willing to fight the Elite to save these guys.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Havok » 2012-06-28 05:52pm

Point: Superman RARELY "prevents" crime. He is almost exclusively reactionary except when one crime or evil action is going to lead directly to another in a scheme of a villain.

When Superman starts preventing things he goes from being a hero to being a a villain.

When he prevents wars he is then asserting his own will on man and man begins to resent him for it. This has always been the case.

I think that Kent understands this and it is why he hampers himself. He knows he could just take away every weapon on the planet, put every criminal in a cell, cure every disease, but then he knows that he becomes something other than a Superman and becomes a Supergod. He doesn't want that.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby mr friendly guy » 2012-06-28 08:29pm

Simon_Jester wrote:Hm.

Something to that- we ask why Batman doesn't kill the Joker, but we never stop to ask why the federal courts don't kill the Joker. "Not guilty by reason of insanity" doesn't get you very far when it's manifestly the case that the criminal in question premeditates his crimes and is perfectly aware of how conventional morality works, he just likes to laugh at it.


Ultimately, I think its more fair to blame the courts than the heroes because they are only supposed to enforce the law, not make it. That being said some people find super hero morality off because they find killing wrong, period. If Supes or Batman used the argument that they won't kill because its the courts who are supposed to judge, then I can buy that, if they used it alone. However its clear they find killing of murderers reprehensible, with the all life is sacred spiel which then sort of detracts for me. Then it gets worse in super hero morality, when some of time won't take a human life, but are willing to kill a non human who is perfectly sentient, eg Ghost Rider.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Blayne » 2012-06-28 11:05pm

Sarevok wrote:
SCRawl wrote:You can easily make the argument that Superman was goaded into intervening in the conflict by the Elite, and further that he often declines to act in some of these conflicts. He certainly can stop any conventional military activity if he wants to, without harming anyone, if he puts his mind to it. My understanding about his reasons for not doing so is that he feels that humans need a certain amount of self-determination, and if he keeps them from killing each other then he's nothing but a babysitter, substituting his own moral code for theirs.


Superman is free to pursue his own way of heroism. The conflict in the film started when Superman attacked the Elite to save the Atomic Skull who just seconds ago killed scores of people. Unlike the comics in this movie adaptation the only people the Elite went after were superpowered villains,tyrannical governments locked in perpetual war etc. Superman was willing to fight the Elite to save these guys.


We don't know if the governments were tyrannical though, for all we know they could be Not!Israel and Not!Palestine and be democratically elected and yet still dicks to each other.

I think the main thing about the Elite is that they were borderline psychotic, we had no reason to believe they would stop at just "tyrannical" governments or supervillains, they eventually turned on superman instead of simply ignoring him and doing their own thing, they might have gone after other super heroes, or executed other 'supervillains' who weren't necessarily doing acts worthy of the death penalty. Where would they stop? They clearly placed no restraints on themselves and felt they could do whatever they considered within their power to do.

They were dangerous, and whatever net utility they provided was quickly outweighed by their negatives.

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Sarevok » 2012-06-29 08:19am

Havok wrote:Point: Superman RARELY "prevents" crime. He is almost exclusively reactionary except when one crime or evil action is going to lead directly to another in a scheme of a villain.

When Superman starts preventing things he goes from being a hero to being a a villain.

When he prevents wars he is then asserting his own will on man and man begins to resent him for it. This has always been the case.

I think that Kent understands this and it is why he hampers himself. He knows he could just take away every weapon on the planet, put every criminal in a cell, cure every disease, but then he knows that he becomes something other than a Superman and becomes a Supergod. He doesn't want that.


While what you are saying is true there are certain villains that have shown.themselves to be permanently irredeemable. Some villains can be rehabilated and even become heroes in their own right. But people like joker or luthor will continue to kill people and find ways to threaten whole of humanity itself. The justice system in comics have shown incapable of keeping these characters contained or giving them the death penalty they deserve. Superman is free to believe in his own agenda and his no kill policy is indeed a noble cause in light of just powerful and yet humble he is. But if someone else like Elite in this film decided to step in and eliminate permanent threats he shoild not attack them instead to save serial killers and mass murderers. Superman is virtually immortal other people are afraid of dying and would like to kill theextremely powerful supervillains that keep kolling them.The Elite were not immortal like superman and could nit afford a rematch against atomic dkull They barely won first time and if atomic slull was allowed.to escape again one or more if the Elite would have died trying to stop him again.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Blayne » 2012-06-29 11:35am

Allowing them to murder is no different from committing murder yourself in this context.

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby PhilosopherOfSorts » 2012-06-29 01:05pm

I don't know about Atomic Skull, but someone should have iced the Joker a good while ago. After the maybe the third time he broke out of Arkham and nerve-gassed a theatre full of people, you could pick him off with a sniper rifle from half a mile out, and I doubt a jury would convict you of murder.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Batman » 2012-06-29 03:40pm

IIRC the insanity copout for the death penalty only means they can't convict you. Police snipers shoot people before there's even a trial so there should be no legal problem with doing it to the Joker as long as he's in the process of commiting a crime and innocent lives are at stake (which for the Joker you can pretty much assume to be a given).

What if The Elite had killed Skull during the battle and not once he was already subdued? A case could be made they were acting in self defence, something Clark could rarely get away with even if he wanted to.
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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Blayne » 2012-06-29 04:54pm

I can agree to that, had it happened during the struggle I would agree; problem was he was subdued and temporarily de-powered.

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Korgeta » 2012-07-21 04:14am

I thought it was poor, it had animation suited for kids but the content on the plot is more aimed at adults, also the question 'Should superman be killing his foes etc' is still simplistic and is only skin deep and is not the first DC animation that asks the question and won't be the last to give a less then in-depth look. The show talks about the importance of superman being the way he is but superman being the way he is resulted in a guy being killed (clark kent watching a guy being killed by atomic skull) Superman values his own facade over the life of some poor soul? Forcing clark kent into superman would had been a topic that would had opened up more of a debate. I can't say the 'elite' were even an attempt by the show to introduce superheroes who deserve sympathy or felt understanding to their actions in crossing the line.

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Re: Superman vs the Elite

Postby Blayne » 2012-07-21 06:00pm

I don't at all see how there is some kind of contradiction in the animation vs the tone. It's animation seemed very Batman Beyondesque to me.


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