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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-07-31 06:33am
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Speaking of Superman and world crisis, here's possibly best deconstruction of that I have read.

Speaking of the story of the Elite, one thing in it I absolutely despised was Superman ranting about "truth, honesty, American way". Ok, he is big boy scout, I get it, but since when (especially in dark, deconstructing comic) the fuck is "American way" equal to truth/honor/justice? "American way" would be supporting the genociding dictator the Elite removed, if anything, and Superman comes as either naive or idiot due to these rants. It was just very jarring, Supes, speak whatever morals you believe in but don't equate them with their polar opposites, thanks :banghead:

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-07-31 10:29am
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Batman wrote:
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.


How could Superman not get away with a self-defense affirmative defense? I don't know if things are so different in the DC Universe, but in most first-world jurisdictions on actual Earth, actions taken in defense of others are equally valid claims on which to base a defense. If I see someone (A) aiming a lethal weapon at another person (B), I can use any means at my disposal - up to and including lethal force - in the process of preventing A from harming B.

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-07-31 04:31pm
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Irbis wrote:
Speaking of the story of the Elite, one thing in it I absolutely despised was Superman ranting about "truth, honesty, American way". Ok, he is big boy scout, I get it, but since when (especially in dark, deconstructing comic) the fuck is "American way" equal to truth/honor/justice?

Every time it's Clark saying it.
Quote:
"American way" would be supporting the genociding dictator the Elite removed, if anything, and Superman comes as either naive or idiot due to these rants. It was just very jarring, Supes, speak whatever morals you believe in but don't equate them with their polar opposites, thanks :banghead:

He always has, and always will. When Clark says truth, justice, and the american way, he's always talking about the ideal, not the reality.
And he's not above fighting that reality if and when he thinks enough is enough.
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Batman wrote:
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.

How could Superman not get away with a self-defense affirmative defense? I don't know if things are so different in the DC Universe, but in most first-world jurisdictions on actual Earth, actions taken in defense of others are equally valid claims on which to base a defense. If I see someone (A) aiming a lethal weapon at another person (B), I can use any means at my disposal - up to and including lethal force - in the process of preventing A from harming B.

With the built-in presumption that if you do use lethal force that's because it was they only to do it (or at least the only one immediately available/obvious at the time etc). I.e. either your sniper shoots the bankrobber or the robber shoots a hostage/blows up the building/etc. How often do you think Clark can claim leathal force was the only option he had, be it in defense of himself or another?



'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kids with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-07-31 05:15pm
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Batman wrote:
Terralthra wrote:
Batman wrote:
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.

How could Superman not get away with a self-defense affirmative defense? I don't know if things are so different in the DC Universe, but in most first-world jurisdictions on actual Earth, actions taken in defense of others are equally valid claims on which to base a defense. If I see someone (A) aiming a lethal weapon at another person (B), I can use any means at my disposal - up to and including lethal force - in the process of preventing A from harming B.

With the built-in presumption that if you do use lethal force that's because it was they only to do it (or at least the only one immediately available/obvious at the time etc). I.e. either your sniper shoots the bankrobber or the robber shoots a hostage/blows up the building/etc. How often do you think Clark can claim leathal force was the only option he had, be it in defense of himself or another?


That is not the case, at least, not in the US. In the US, "general criminal law allows for the use of deadly force anytime a faultless victim reasonably believes that unlawful force which will cause death or grievous bodily harm is about to be used on him."

In fact, one of my favorite columnists, Robert Ingersoll, a criminal defense attorney, used to write a column entitled "The Law is a Ass," about the law as depicted in comic books. From one of his columns:
Bob Ingersoll wrote:
...And I'm not going to write that, despite Flash # 344 being a reprint issue and having only three and two-thirds pages of new material, it still managed to slip in a major inaccuracy about the law. I'm just not going to tell you that DA Slater's argument that Flash didn't act in self-defense, when he killed Reverse-Flash, because he could have stopped Reverse-Flash without killing him is so much bantha poodoo. I'm not going to remind Slater, a lawyer who must have learned criminal law and affirmative defenses at the same law school that taught Matt Murdock the elements of crimes, that in self-defense the question of whether deadly force was necessary--that is could the actor have stopped his attacker without killing him?--is immaterial.

(If I were, I'd point out that self-defense looks at how much force is justified--that is how much is allowable under the law not how much is necessary. I'd add that as Reverse-Flash was going to use deadly force against Fiona Webb and kill her, the law allowed Flash to use the same amount of force, deadly force, in defending Fiona's life. I'd remind you that, even if deadly force wasn't absolutely necessary in order to apprehend Reverse-Flash--even if Flash didn't have to kill Reverse-Flash to stop him, deadly force was still justifiable, because Reverse-Flash was using deadly force. Flash was allowed to respond with the same force--deadly force--that Reverse-Flash was going to use.)

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-07-31 06:58pm
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So essentially, under US law, as long as any supervillain is threatening to kill anybody, Clark is legally within his rights to kill them in return?



'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kids with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-07-31 09:37pm
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Batman wrote:
So essentially, under US law, as long as any supervillain is threatening to kill anybody, Clark is legally within his rights to kill them in return?


"Threatening" is a little vague of a word. If Clark Kent has a reasonable belief that a supervillain is using or is about to use unlawful force on an innocent (ie, not someone who instigated an altercation themselves) that would cause grievous bodily harm or death, Clark Kent is justified in using lethal force himself to prevent that from happening.

Use of force must be imminent; hearing a supervillain shouting "I'll kill you for this, Lois Lane!" isn't likely to count as causing a reasonable belief unless he's brandishing a weapon in her direction, for example.

Restraining one's self to less-than-lethal force when a lethal threat is encountered (to one's self or a third party) is not required:
Detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife. Therefore, in this Court at least, it is not a condition of immunity that one in that situation should pause to consider whether a reasonable man might not think it possible to fly with safety or to disable his assailant, rather than to kill him. Rowe v. United States, 164 U. S. 546, 164 U. S. 558.


In order to make the case that Superman's use of lethal force against a supervillain who was in the process of using unlawful lethal force against an innocent party is not self-defense, a prosecuting attorney would have to make the case that Superman knew with 100% certainty in a tense (life-threatening) situation that alternative (non-lethal) action would be equally successful, beyond a shadow of a doubt AND make the case that Superman's actions were taken with malice aforethought (or some other way of showing mens rea). Even if he did that (and proving state of mind is notoriously hard), it's unlikely a jury would convict Superman on such a charge in any scenario you'd care to envision; I have a hard time imagining a DA who would bother bringing such a charge in the first place.

The aforementioned trial of the Flash for killing the Reverse-Flash in defense of his wife to be was a perfect example of charges that would almost certainly never be brought. The justification for it was that since both Flash and Reverse-Flash were moving at super speed, no one else could plausibly testify to the unlawful lethal force RF was about to use on Flash's fiancée, and Flash's testimony would naturally be untrustworthy. Of course, Kid Flash was there, and could see the encounter clearly and testify to the nature of the situation, and man, this story was so retarded. The whole thing was eventually revealed to be a massive setup by a villain from the future, or some shit.

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-01 05:31am
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Batman wrote:
He always has, and always will. When Clark says truth, justice, and the american way, he's always talking about the ideal, not the reality.
And he's not above fighting that reality if and when he thinks enough is enough.

That might well be, and I wouldn't object to that in 'normal' Superman story, I just found that particular usage in dark, deconstructing comic (that also sort of suggested Elite are villains because they're not Americans) especially grating. When you make story a lot less 'naive' the one naive element you kept is going to highly stand out.

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-01 06:24am
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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.


Pretty much. Superman simply doesn't want to deal with the world's problems. That's a fairly valid idea. There's no way to stop things snowballing into him making the best decision for everyone, without their input. Morally can you truly say that killing one random psycho is okay but going around the world and ending subjugation, racism and mutilation isn't? Fuck, if you want to you can literally declare sovereignty to be meaningless and act as you please. Why should Random Victim X suffer because his/her country/tribe/family declare it so?

I still find him to be hopelessly naive though. His claims that humanity are good and will find a way remind me of religious people that crow about the goodness of God. It makes sense on the surface and makes everyone feel good about themselves but you examine it further and it's basically "Oh hey you people in terrible conditions around the world with a multitude of factors preventing you from improving your lot? Well, you have the capacity."

The Elite aren't that interesting a case to be honest. The Authority they were based off made a much more compelling argument, since they weren't just complete psychopaths (apparently they get worse in later runs but as I read through I'm not seeing it) and so couldn't provide an easy out for Superman.

Him attacking them for killing the Atomic Skull is weird as fuck to me. People have shown that they can't hold him and quite frankly it is a bit corrupt and inhuman to trap him in such a place. Why should he be allowed to threaten more people?

That said, I don't buy this no interference thing. He clearly interfered in the war between the two nations. The first time can only be explained away if there is some sort of international treaty preventing bioweapons use in wars,and even then you can make the argument that these people were fighting for their country and perhaps never signed the treaty. The second time he clearly jumps in to prevent civilian casualties, so on some level he accepts that life =/= the right of a sovereign nation to act. He doesn't just act when the laws of a country are being broken.

It seems to me that like most people, Superman's moral code requires him to just set a limit by fiat.

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-01 07:44pm
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Irbis wrote:
Batman wrote:
He always has, and always will. When Clark says truth, justice, and the american way, he's always talking about the ideal, not the reality.
And he's not above fighting that reality if and when he thinks enough is enough.

That might well be, and I wouldn't object to that in 'normal' Superman story, I just found that particular usage in dark, deconstructing comic (that also sort of suggested Elite are villains because they're not Americans) especially grating. When you make story a lot less 'naive' the one naive element you kept is going to highly stand out.

That 'one naive element' is what defines Clark. He will always cling to that. And at which point were The Elite declared villains for 'not being american', as opposed to, you know, behaving like villains, if you could be bothered?



'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kids with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-02 05:32am
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Batman wrote:
That 'one naive element' is what defines Clark. He will always cling to that.

There is naive and then there is naive. You can make Superman the boyscout without making him sound like an idiot who never reads newspapers.

Quote:
And at which point were The Elite declared villains for 'not being american', as opposed to, you know, behaving like villains, if you could be bothered?

I said suggested. I don't know, maybe the fact they are all drawn as very stereotypical members of distinctly non-US societies and the only white Anglo-Saxon among them uses parody levels of Brit slang (and in case we missed that, his name is made up from two British cities and he has Union Jack slapped on his chest) to contrast them with All-American Superhero protagonist sort of points to that? :roll:

Also, I said they got villain roles due to their nationality (or, if you prefer, were drawn distinctly non-US boyscout way due to being villains) not that they are declared villains only on their looks, not actions. Go strawman Alfred or Robin if you really have to :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-02 05:36am
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To be fair Manchester Black was a parody of Jenny Sparks from the authority. Jenny Sparks I would imagine speak with a British slang as she worked for the British secret service and also wore a Union Jack on her uniform.



Best scene ever.

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-02 03:59pm
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Okay, but still, I'm a little bit tired of plots where All-American WASP goes against stereotypical people out of 2nd/3rd world countries (Coldcast & Menagerie from Elite more than qualify) and in usual trite Holywood way Mr USA good, these dirty [insert racial epithet] evil. That's what I meant by 'villains because they're not Americans' - it's one stereotype I hate in stories.

I don't know, yes, contrasts and all that, but it smells of residue negro/yellow peril racism to me. Would it kill the writers to make characters less white/black if they are going for 'realistic' story? :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-02 06:10pm
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Okay, this may be a side effect of me not being a real world american, but-as far as I can tell the Elite ended up the Bad Guys because...they were painted as the Bad Guys? No race nor skin colour playing into it? And that's ignoring that your All-American WASP is from another planet.



'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kids with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-02 08:02pm
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Batman wrote:
Okay, this may be a side effect of me not being a real world american, but-as far as I can tell the Elite ended up the Bad Guys because...they were painted as the Bad Guys? No race nor skin colour playing into it? And that's ignoring that your All-American WASP is from another planet.

It doesn't matter that their race isn't a part of their villainy (well, it is, in that otherwise it'd be so bad almost no one would deny the racism then). It's problematic when consistently the good guys are white Americans and the bad guys are foreigners or minorities or whatnot. Even if it's entirely unintentional and unnoticed by the creators, it's still sending a message.



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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-03 04:49am
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For all its worth, lets have a look at the Authority and the Elite parody.

Manchester Black is a Parody of Jenny Sparks in the sense that both of them are the leaders of their team, both have sarcastic quips etc. Both of them British.

Menagerie is a parody of the Engineer. In the comics Menagerie is Puerto Rican, and I don't recall her ethnicity mentioned in the film, but I don't think its unreasonable to assume she is the same ethnicity. The Engineer was of course American, so an American character was changed for all its worth.

The Hat is a parody of the Doctor. The Hat appears to be East Asian, while the Doctor was European (IIRC Dutch).

Coldcast is mentioned as American. I am not quite sure which Authority character he is based on, as his powers don't correspond to a specific male Authority member. In fact his powers of electricity manipulation is closer to Jenny Sparks. However of the other male characters, Apollo and the Midnighter were Americans.

So I am not quite sure about the Elite being portrayed as bad because they are non American. They were certainly based on characters from the Authority, some of which were non Americans and the Elite equivalent were clearly also non American. The exception was Menagerie, so its not exactly blatant having the Elite filled with non Americans.



Best scene ever.

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-03 09:58am
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Grandmaster Jogurt wrote:
Batman wrote:
Okay, this may be a side effect of me not being a real world american, but-as far as I can tell the Elite ended up the Bad Guys because...they were painted as the Bad Guys? No race nor skin colour playing into it? And that's ignoring that your All-American WASP is from another planet.
It doesn't matter that their race isn't a part of their villainy (well, it is, in that otherwise it'd be so bad almost no one would deny the racism then). It's problematic when consistently the good guys are white Americans and the bad guys are foreigners or minorities or whatnot. Even if it's entirely unintentional and unnoticed by the creators, it's still sending a message.
This is an interesting management problem; I don't know what to do about it.

1) Superman dates back to the 1930s. An American comic book from the 1930s. Given the nature of mid-20th century comic books, it's no surprise he was born and raised and lives in America. Since DC still relies on the US as its main market, it would probably be a risky move to arbitrarily decide that Superman's home city of Metropolis is now in Turkey or Taiwan or South Africa. Or to arbitrarily reboot Superman's character and draw him with a different skin color. Even though he is an alien life form and there's no obvious reason he shouldn't be brown or tan or, hell, green. Because then he would be a lot less recognizable as "Superman." That'd be taking a risk with your biggest single brand name.

2) But today, unlike the '30s, we routinely expect comic book stories to take on a global scope. Having Superman go to Washington and punish a corrupt senator and the arms manufacturer who's bribing him wouldn't amaze anyone today, even though it worked great in Superman #1 (heck, I'd like to see it once or twice these days). So in a Superman story today, Superman himself is American because he's always been American (in that that's where his rocketship landed). But his villainous enemies might be American (Lex Luthor) or not.

And if you look at this and say "disturbing racial subtext," how do you resolve it? Do you just only have Superman fight other 'American' characters? Do you pick another country for him to be from? Would there not be some other, entirely different racial subtext then if a Superman from one place fights enemies from all other places?



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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-03 08:02pm
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I don't see how superheroes are consistently white americans while the villains are not. Lex Luthor is not only a white american, but he used to be POTUS for a while (and got that job legally to boot). There's plenty of non-white heroes-John Stewart, Black Lightning, JJ, Beast Boy, Starfire, and that's just off the top of my head. As for the villains not being white americans, where Clark is concerned that's mostly by virtue of virtually all of them not being from this planet to begin with (just like he isn't). Let's look at Clark's recurring villains.
Lex Luthor-easily the most prominent Superman villain, and guess what-white american. Darkseid-alien. Brainiac 5-alien (and a computer to boot). Mongul-alien. Mxyxptlk-alien (though I'll agree his villain status is dubious. He is, nonetheless, recurring). Doomsday-alien.
The occasionally ludicrous power Clark has at his fingertips means you simply can't challenge him with a mere mortal, which sort of rules out pretty much any human regardless of nationality, skin colour, or minority affiliation.
Now if you look at me an mine, on the other hand, you'll find that a lot of our villains are white americans, too. Valen alone knows what the Joker was before he became the Joker, but Harvey is. Harley. Tetch. Nigma. Desmond. Dr Isley. Selina, on and off. Yes, okay, so technically Dr Isley is green these days. The Joker is easily white enough to compensate for that. :P



'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kids with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-03 10:43pm
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Wasn't it just last year everybody was up in arms because Superman renounced his US citizenship to be a 'citizen of the world' or somesuch? Granted, that was in a back-up story and I think DC said it wasn't in continuity.

You could make a much better case for Marvel being xenophobic, because maybe a third of the classic villains are Russians. And in the context of when the stories took place, it made perfect sense.



"Any plan which requires the direct intervention of any deity to work can be assumed to be a very poor one."- Newbiespud

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-03 11:10pm
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Steel, Martian Manhunter (alien but takes the form of a black human detective, I believe. There was also a time he took on another superhero persona and that one was of a black male.) and many more.

True, that in the 30's most if not all of the superheroes created would have been white american males and in several instances they were quite racist (remember the WW2 Superman War Bonds and the Slap a Jap?) and sexist (quite a few but I cannot remember them all).

Times change and so have the comics. Comic characters have become more diverse, racially, nationality and sexually.



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"Whilst human alchemists refer to the combustion triangle, some of their orcish counterparts see it as more of a hexagon: heat, fuel, air, laughter, screaming, fun." - Dawn of the Dragons

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-04 12:23am
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Irbis wrote:
Speaking of Superman and world crisis, here's possibly best deconstruction of that I have read.
It also illustrates why Superman might not want to go down the road of solving every world crisis in the perfect utilitarian way. The world we see in that comic goes through a cycle- it turns him into a slave to his own sense of duty, then it becomes dependant on him. It's mostly good fortune that in the comic they figure out a way to live without him. Superman himself lacks the wisdom to have come up with that, and history doesn't make me optimistic that we'd bother to try and figure out how to live without Superman solving all our problems, if we DID have him doing that.

Quote:
Speaking of the story of the Elite, one thing in it I absolutely despised was Superman ranting about "truth, honesty, American way".

Ok, he is big boy scout, I get it, but since when (especially in dark, deconstructing comic) the fuck is "American way" equal to truth/honor/justice?
I'll talk more about this below, but as a nitpick. This comic is itself a deconstruction of a class of works that try to deconstruct, well... the sort of attitude behind Superman. As such, it's a bit different from the run of the mill deconstruction art, which has a nasty habit of going out of its way to show off how cynical it can be.

Quote:
"American way" would be supporting the genociding dictator the Elite removed, if anything, and Superman comes as either naive or idiot due to these rants. It was just very jarring, Supes, speak whatever morals you believe in but don't equate them with their polar opposites, thanks :banghead:
[/quote]See, the problem you're having here is that to you "the American way" means "distilled eau de American foreign policy."

This is definitely not what it meant when the character of Superman was created, and not what it means to day to a lot of Americans. Unfortunately, for political rhetoric purposes it's been hijacked; the long global cold war deformed our sense of what it means to be 'American' versus 'anti-American.'

When Superman started fighting for "truth, justice, and the American way," the "American way" in question was meant to reflect some things not common in the developed world. Not unique, but not common.

For example, the US was a land of relative social mobility, or such was the perception. The phrase "only in America!" often arose in the context of 19th and early 20th century immigrants, discussing the economic success they'd had as small businessmen in the US.

The US was a country which had maintained democratic forms of government at a time when many nations were falling into dictatorship, and had been a democracy when many countries were still dominated by holdover feudal aristocracies.

The US was a country with (at the time) a relatively limited standing army that contrasted sharply with the large, conscript armies of Europe.

I could think of other points, but that'll do. I'm sure you can come up with all sorts of reasons to declare this hypocrisy, but for a huge number of Americans it was not hypocritical, it was sincere. Nationalism can in fact be sincere, you can think there's something good about the way your own country does things and not just want it as an excuse to do terrible things to people.

There there was this idea that underneath it all, there was something a bit special about the US, as a bastion of democratic success, a place where the common citizen could do well for themselves without being harassed by political thugs. This got twisted around and distorted during the Cold War until it turned into the sort of blind inability to imagine anything needing to be reformed ever, but it was very real and it's a big part of Superman's makeup.

Arguably this is one of the reasons he's so apolitical- he comes out of a belief that violence is the wrong way to solve political problems. The US of the character's conception was a very anti-revolutionary state, opposed to both right-wing and left-wing revolution (hostility to right-wing revolutionary politics was forgotten in the cold war).

And yes, I know you can come up with reasons to say that's hypocritical too. Doing so kind of misses the point, which is that "the American way" connotes something different to Superman as a character than it does to you. He isn't saying "I emulate the US government in all ways." He's saying "I emulate the things that were good about mid-20th century America, in an exaggerated and idealistic way."



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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-04 09:33pm
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There have been (to my knowledge) three distinct storylines in which powerful aliens put Superman on trial for "interfering in the natural development of a species" or "keeping humanity from it's potential" because he always saves humanity from the consequences of our folly, preventing us from learning from our mistakes or having to come up with new solutions to giant robots trying to level metropolis or whatever. Once it was the Guardians, and they used mind control to make Supes agree with them. It was a strange story.

But Superman has ever been his most interesting when he flirts with that line. The story where Superman decides to force nuclear disarmament on the world? Epic, right up to the cop-out where he was mind-controlled the entire time. But even then it had consequences and they ran almost a year of stories about Superman having lost the faith of the general public, trying to get back what he had.

There was another occasion, and I enjoyed a quiet story, where Superman goes to a priest to talk with somebody about his feelings, because Lois is gone and he can at least invoke the seal of confession. After an incident in which hundreds of people around the world vanished for no apparent reason (including Lois) Superman was feeling helpless, like he was always two slow, too late. So he confiscated all guns from a generic African country cheerfully slaughtering itself, and was surprised when people just went at it with rocks and clubs and bare hands. Then elemental giants started popping up claiming to represent the spirit of the earth and ordering the alien to leave. Okay, that story got weird to. But it was better than "god-like alien bulldozes through all problems with super-awesomeness."



"Any plan which requires the direct intervention of any deity to work can be assumed to be a very poor one."- Newbiespud

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-06 06:50pm
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Ahriman238 wrote:
There was another occasion, and I enjoyed a quiet story, where Superman goes to a priest to talk with somebody about his feelings, because Lois is gone and he can at least invoke the seal of confession. After an incident in which hundreds of people around the world vanished for no apparent reason (including Lois) Superman was feeling helpless, like he was always two slow, too late. So he confiscated all guns from a generic African country cheerfully slaughtering itself, and was surprised when people just went at it with rocks and clubs and bare hands. Then elemental giants started popping up claiming to represent the spirit of the earth and ordering the alien to leave. Okay, that story got weird to. But it was better than "god-like alien bulldozes through all problems with super-awesomeness."


So what I'm getting from this is that Superman is a naive little child that takes this as an excuse to not interfere? Seriously? I read similar things about him going to No Man's Land and reaching a similar conclusion, I have to read the books to be sure but if that's true he's a fucking idiot.

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-06 08:14pm
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Of course he's a fucking idiot. People of his power level have to be else there's no story. Stories with a smart Superman begin and end on page one. Same with the Flashes and Lanterns.
Heck they have to make me an idiot most of the time and my only superpowers are having more money than the rest of the world combined and being able to actually intentionally hit stuff with batarangs. Problem is, I have Clark and his ilk on speed dial, so basically same damned situation.
Comics are trying to provide in-universe rationalizations for out-of-universe decisions, and at Clark's power level, they usually don't work. Since you mentioned it, let's take NML. Yeah, I told him to get lost. Twice. So-what was I going to do if he said 'Make me?' I didn't even have the kryptonite ring at the time.
The real reason he left was with Clark fixing up Gotham in no time flat there'd be no NML storyline of course, but they needed an in universe reason for him to do so and thus came up with the 'people aren't ready yet' idiocy.



'Next time I let Superman take charge, just hit me. Real hard.'
'You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors. I'm a rich kids with issues. Lots of issues.'
'No. No dating for the Batman. It might cut into your brooding time.'
'Tactically we have multiple objectives. So we need to split into teams.'-'Dibs on the Amazon!'
'Hey, we both have a Martian's phone number on our speed dial. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt.'
'You know, for a guy with like 50 different kinds of vision, you sure are blind.'

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-06 10:20pm
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He may not look like it, but Superman is an alien; he might honestly not expect people to keep fighting each other with rocks and sticks after you take their guns away.

Maybe if those African countries were full of Kryptonians, and some superpowered being flew in and wrecked all their weapons, they really would go "Gee, this war is pointless and destructive, and it's taking a much worse toll on innocents and property than on our real enemies. Let's just call it off."

And at the gut level, Superman might still expect people to act that way. The same way some people 'expect' mentally ill people to behave 'normally' and keep getting frustrated if they don't. And they get frustrated long after some outside observer might expect them to get used to it, because their instincts are being violated.

From Superman's point of view, it's not that he's naive. It's that we're all crazy. But in a strange way, he decides to respect our right to some kind of self-determination anyway, and not just blatantly turn into the Nanny-God of Earth.

Are we better off for that? It depends on how good a king Superman would make.

Should people be yelling at him for not declaring himself god-king of Earth? It seems kind of perverse, that we would demand the right to tell someone else to take away our self-determination.



Eleventh Century Remnant wrote:
What is this 'favourite character' you speak of? I have walls lined with bookshelves, having a single favourite character would be like having a favourite brick.
-Story of my literary tastes.

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 Post subject: Re: Superman vs the Elite PostPosted: 2012-08-06 10:28pm
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Isn't the whole thing with the 'Justice Lords' about what if/when Superman and the Justice League decided to eject our rights and rule us for our own good?

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