Home > Comic book, Random musing, Storytelling Failures > Storytelling Failures – One More Day

Storytelling Failures – One More Day

I covered this a bit (okay, a lot) already in my earliest entries.  But since I started this particular format, I think it might be useful to revisit this story and provide a more formal critical analysis as opposed to my angry rantings.  That said, there may still be angry rantings because my hatred for this story is as intense the burning of a thousand blue suns and the hole it leaves in my writer’s soul is like the supermassive collapsed supernova that sits in the center of the Milky Galaxy consuming all that ventures too close to its ever-hungry maw.  No, I will NEVER get over this.  And I tried out Brand New Day, I really did.  And because I personally hate this story much more than say, Man of Steel, I may get a bit more personal here than I normally do.

Right, for those that don’t know, the mini-series “One More Day” was the end of writer J. Michael Stracynski’s run on “The Amazing Spider-man” comic book and the one where Joe Quesada (then Editor-in-Chief) decided since he was deeply unhappy with life, the universe, and everything, that he would make all Spider-man fans deeply unhappy as well (at least, this is my working theory; I have no proof as such).  Quesada, being the worst kind of villain, was convinced he was setting right what once went wrong, which was that Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson got married.  Yeah, because that is the one fundamental flaw with the continuity of the Marvel Universe…  But I’ve already stated the dangers of trying to fix what one perceives as broken.  In the aftermath of the Civil War (ugh) in which Peter Parker revealed his secret identity, one of his many enemies took a hit out on him (duh) and his 187 year old Aunt May got fatally shot.  In the course of four issues (the latter two heavily re-written by Quesada himself), Peter and MJ trade their marriage to Mephisto for Aunt May’s life.

1) Characters:
a) Peter Parker – I’ve mentioned before that writers have a hard time letting little Petey grow up and be an adult.  I thought that JMS was actually trying to move Pete into a more adult direction.  I should also confess I loved Babylon 5 and when a friend told me he was the lead writer on “Amazing Spider-man,” that was enough for me to start picking up the comics.  JMS got Pete and MJ through a rocky time in their marriage and I thought it was well done and well, quite adult.  I understood why they were having difficulties and I thought the ultimate resolution was appropriate and even poignant.

Peter has a hell of a guilt complex.  Every bad thing that happens is his fault, even when we the audience know that is not the case.  But hey, that’s part of why he’s my favorite superhero even now.  I understand that kind of misplaced feeling of responsibility, and I don’t even have superpowers.  I would guess pretty much everyone has an incident in their life that they look back on and feel they just didn’t do enough or just weren’t there when they were needed.  The nature of being willing to love is to risk the loss of that love; and when there is loss, there is regret no matter how misplaced it might be.

That said, I understand that Peter would be upset that Aunt May got shot by an assassin’s bullet meant for him.  I understand he would blame himself and frankly in this case that blame is not entirely misplaced (see the section on plot).  But he does nothing but behave like a whiny teenager in this entire series.  He’s in the anger stage of grief and I get that, but there’s no character arc.  There’s no growth.  He’s angry and selfish from beginning to end, which is so obvious other characters comment on it!  If I recall correctly, even Aunt May’s spirit tells him to let her go, and he ignores her because it just hurts too much.  I’m going to steal a line from my favorite comic book review in his review of DC’s “The Rise of Arsenal” – “Your pain is NOT SPECIAL.”

b) MJ – She barely shows up in the series and I am mad at what was done with her character.  I never saw MJ as a hopeless romantic.  To me, part of the reason she and Pete got back together was that she had made peace with him being Spider-man.  MJ cares about Aunt May as though she were family (her Aunt Anna was friends with Aunt May).  But MJ is the one who talks Peter into taking the deal (OMIT makes it even worse).  She’s the one who tells him their love is so strong and great that it can overcome the power of Mephisto and even God.  *facepalm*  Riiiight.  That just does not fit with her character.  She loves Aunt May, but she loves Peter more.  She married him knowing full well he was Spider-man from the beginning and all the risk that entailed (yes, despite many writers portraying her as just constantly worrying).  To marry a superhero implies, to me, a certain strength of character.  The storyline up to OMD in which the two reconciled their marriage showed that strength.  This was a pretty big character change.

c) Mephisto – depending on the writer, Mephisto is as low in the cosmology of the universe as just a ruler of a hell, or as high in the cosmology as the very incarnation of Evil itself.  Even if he is not the devil, the difference between him and the devil is only semantic.  Stan Lee himself took the name from Mephistopheles in Faust (and says so).  I won’t say Mephisto doesn’t have an interest in romance.  The first time he showed up was to corrupt the Silver Surfer by kidnapping the soul of his beloved and trapping her in hell.  The purity of the Surfer proved too much for Mephisto to bear (so that part of OMD about righteous souls is right), and he returned Shalla-Bal and released the Surfer.  But caring about Spider-man’s marriage?  Mephisto is not a hopeless romantic either.  And his whole, “I like pain” rationale is just lame.  Lame.  Oh, sweet baby deity, Quesada made the devil laaaaaame… *headdesk*

d) May Parker – Spoiler alert.  The little redheaded girl is the daughter that MJ is unknowingly pregnant with, and in an alternate universe, is Spider-girl.  She is my favorite character but I think she acts mostly as an author avatar (for JMS that is) because she points out exactly how selfish and self-centered Peter is.  Sometimes the way this reads I feel like JMS has made Peter Parker into Joe Quesada and as May Parker is bawling out Quesada for this terrible story.  May Parker is truly the hero of this little comic book of horrors.

2) Plot – The plot is very straightforward but fundamentally flawed, but considering it’s an editorial mandate, I’m not sure it could be anything but fundamentally flawed.

a)  The end of the marriage could have been accomplished in multiple ways.  They could have gotten separated or divorced.  That would have made more sense.  But the evil mastermind behind this plot could not allow Peter and MJ to separate or divorce because that meant they could reconcile at some later date.  No, the marriage could not simply end; it had to be erased from continuity.  Everything that happens is to push forward this mandate.

As an aside, looking at DC, it appears Quesada is not the only villainous, power-hungry dumb-ass of an editor who believes marriage totally sucks dude and it’s like totally lame for a superhero to be like married and stuff.  ZOMG!  What if they like had a kid and then the comic would be all, “Dude, I can’t be like a hero because I have to like pick the kid up from school or whatever.”  Laaaaaame!  *facepalm*

b) The wrong person got shot.  If MJ got shot that would be a dilemma.  Peter forced to choose between the love he shared with MJ and the life of his beloved?  That rings true, emotionally.  But Aunt May?  There is no dilemma here.  There is pain, yes, but not a dilemma.  Aunt May is old, really old, like really really old, and in much of the story leading up to OMD, she told Peter not to worry about her and that she was old but she was happy with her life.  Her being shot is awful, and no one wants to see a loved one die, but Peter and MJ chose to become a new family.  They have hopefully years together and Aunt May by all indications was at peace with her life.  If Mephisto had come to Peter when he still had Aunt May’s blood on his hands then I could see Peter making the wrong decision and accepting the deal.  He makes mistakes like that and with the pain and shock so raw that would be human and forgivable.  But taking the deal after a day or two to calm down?  Not so much.

c) Who trusts the devil!?  He’s the devil!  He’s red and demonic with powers to bend space and time!  Why in the hell (pardon the pun) would Peter and MJ believe a single word he uttered?  He is the Lord of Lies.  He is the Incarnation of Evil.  Consider briefly the movie Ghost Rider.  Johnny makes a deal with the devil to save his father, and the devil complies and cures Barton Blaze of cancer.  Then the devil kills Barton in a terrible accident the next day so Johnny has no pesky emotional ties.  Or go back to the original story of Faust.  Do know what happened to him?  He got his brains splattered against the walls of his room.  That is what happens when you make a deal with the devil!  The devil screws you!

I-I just don’t have enough *facepalm* to express my frustration and rage.  There may not be enough *facepalm* in the world (no, not even in The Naked Gun 33 1/3).  This is almost the stupidest thing in this comic mini-series, and there is a lot of stupid in this (see below).  ARGH!  He’s the DEVIL!

d) Peter is unfathomably stupid.  When he turned against the pro-registration side in the Civil War, he took MJ and Aunt May away from the safety of Tony Stark‘s security measures and put them up in a crummy hotel.  He didn’t even skip town!  Sure, he’s broke but MJ has money.  Even he realizes he’s been unfathomably stupid after the fact.  Of course, neither MJ nor Aunt May had even the barest resemblance of common sense enough to tell Peter, “Hey, this is unfathomably stupid!”  Also, when the whole day turns weird, Peter doesn’t realize it until Mephisto reveals himself, because the precocious child, the insultingly stereotyped game developer, and the mysterious rich old guy who offers him a ride don’t seem any way odd.  *facepalm*  *headdesk*

e) Everyone in the story seems to be telling Peter to pick MJ.  Even the alternative hims, especially the rich one, tell him that life isn’t worth living without someone to share it with.  Except MJ, I guess.  Grrr.

f) Full of contrivances.  See 4).

3) Setting – New York City is home to the highest concentration of superheroes in the Marvel Universe.  This is acknowledged and then in most contrived fashion completely ignored.  See 4).

4) Narrative structure – all elements are present, but the set-up takes a long time.  I think this is supposed to be primarily an emotional story, but it’s still annoying when it takes until the third issue for the plot to really get going.

a) Contrivances!  Nothing but contrivances!  From beginning to end the narrative structure served only as the barest framing device for the contrivance that was passed off (badly) as a story, the sole purpose of which was to erase Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage.  Any effort JMS put forth to tell a real story was obscured by editorial mandates. *headdesk*  Here’s a short list of contrivances.

- It’s magic; it doesn’t have to be explained.
Dr. Strange can’t heal a bullet wound although he can send Spider-man all through space and time asking for help and astrally witnessing the fatal shooting of Aunt May.
– Dr. Octopus can’t heal a bullet wound.
Dr. Pym can’t heal a bullet wound.  You know, the guy who can shrink himself and anything else can’t figure out how to extract a bullet from an old lady without causing further harm.
– Dr. Doom can’t heal a bullet wound.  This is a man who has a time machine and could in theory send Spider-man back in time to prevent the fatal shot.  This is also a man who is a good enough sorcerer to fight Mephisto (he doesn’t win but he doesn’t die).  He lives for doing favors like this for superheroes.  But alas, he is useless.
Mr. Fantastic (also a doctor) can’t heal a bullet wound.  Everything Doom can do, he can do better, except the sorcery.  But no help there.
– The X-men, who have a mutant named Elixir on the team whose sole power is to heal ANY wound, can’t heal a bullet wound.
– None of these people think to pool their abilities together (i.e. Pym extracts the bullet and Elixir fixes the wound).
– Mephisto gives a flying flip about Peter Parker’s marriage in the first place.
– Absolutely nothing else in the entire world changes.
– Except Harry Osborn is alive again.
– It’s MAGIC, damn it.  It doesn’t have to be explained.

There’s also not enough *headdesk* in the world for this.  That is just a short list and I’m sure if I wanted to pick out every single contrivance this entry would be ten times as long and I’d probably do permanent damage to my forehead with all the *headdesking.*  It’s not worth this.

b) Plot holes.  So many contrivances open up a ton of plot holes.  But since this is long enough, the biggest plot hole (which is akin to saying “the dustiest table in Pompeii”) to me is that fact Mephisto cared about their marriage in the first place.  Oh, sure, he gives some half-assed explanation about enjoying human suffering, but that’s way too petty for Mephisto.  He usually has grander plans.  But even if that were the case, a marriage weak enough to be traded away as it was weakens its value to Mephisto.  This is just lazy.  It would have been easy enough to provide a better explanation than “I like your pain.”  Hey, I thought of one – Mephisto knows that Spider-man or his daughter would one day be a threat to a truly grand plan of his and erasing the marriage is the only way to prevent that.  See?  In fact, that could help close the other gaping plot hole (akin to “that other sucking chest wound”) which was that NO ONE could help Spider-man.  If the complete lack of aid was all due to the machinations of Mephisto (he occasionally has reality-warping powers or maybe it was all just an illusion), then that would make sense.  Would it be good?  Probably not.  But at least it wouldn’t have been so damn lazy.

Conclusion – contrived and lazy.  The world was contorted and the story was merely a means to an end, which ultimately didn’t matter as long as the end was achieved.  And boy, did that lack of caring show in every single aspect of this mini-series.  Would this have been a story I liked?  Probably not.  But it didn’t have to be a bad story.  I’ve read good stories I did not personally like.  This could have been one of those.  But no, the villainous mastermind behind this abomination of storytelling didn’t give two flying figs about the story.  He wanted that marriage erased.  It was erased, and OMIT was a half-assed attempt to quell the fan rage.  It didn’t work. The sequel to a contrivance meant to push an agenda was no less a contrivance meant to push an agenda.  The story failed on every level because the villainous mastermind didn’t care if it succeeded.

  1. February 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    You know something hilarious I noticed a while back that no one else seems to have? The basic premise of this story – that the hero is forced into a dire situation where he and his wife have to sacrifice their love to the (comic book universe stand-in for the) devil – is actually a rip-off of a Mark Waid story from “The Flash” that was published ten years earlier in 1997. In that arc, Neron backed Wally West and Linda Park into the exact same corner.

    • February 12, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Rip-off, inspiration, same thing :-) The idea is pretty old, so I’m not going to quibble, but it’s interesting this sort of thing was already done with a popular superhero. I hope it worked out better with Wally West.

      • February 12, 2014 at 7:32 pm

        It did, more or less. Wally and Linda were tricked into giving up their love for each other by Neron in exchange for restoring the souls of the reanimated Rogues, who were tearing up the city with their vastly augmented abilities and were both unstoppable and unkillable. Unlike Mephisto, Neron actually had a good reason for doing this: Linda had served as Wally’s tether to humanity and prevented him from disappearing into the Speed Force on several occasions. While he claimed that the lovey-doveyness of the couple made him puke and his desire to make them cut that crap out was what motivated him, the real reason was that he planned to use their captured emotion as a means of accessing the limitless power of the Speed Force.

        Unfortunately for Neron, he royally miscalculated. Their love had an unintended side-effect: it ended up poisoning him by granting him human empathy, completely disrupting both his plans as well as his ability to rule over his section of Hell efficiently. In the end, he was pretty much left with no choice but to give it back before it killed him. In the comic’s moment of awesome, though, Wally and Linda refused to take it back unless he agreed to their terms. :)

      • February 14, 2014 at 5:05 pm

        I like it. It seems like many of the plot points “OMD” got wrong this got right. Maybe that’s the worst part of “OMD.” The villain won. Who wants to see the villain win? Once and a while sure, but not when the stakes are as high as fundamentally altering a character’s entire timeline.

        I wish there had been more to Mephisto’s reasoning. He did kidnap Silver Surfer’s beloved once, but that was to bring low one of the most righteous, pure souls in the galaxy. Maybe that’s kind of petty, old-school style of devilry, but he aimed high in his quest for souls. But this? Marriage and nothing else? I mean, I like Pete and MJ but breaking up their love is just not in the same league as attempting to corrupt the Silver Surfer. I’d be more impressed if Mephisto tried to break up Reed and Sue Richards because many, many “What If” comics (and a storyline in the FF) confirmed that without Sue, Reed would be worse than Dr. Doom.

        But it’s nice to know there’s comic story out there where the villain had a good reason for a seemingly petty act and was defeated by the heroes :-)

      • February 14, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        If I remember correctly, this storyline also had a bunch of other subplots going, including Wally West temporarily becoming a commuting superhero after the Keystone City officials decided that his presence was costing them too much money when it came to repairing the damage that occurred as a result of his battling the supervillains in the city. (Yes, Mark Waid actually deconstructed that trope!) I believe that some west coast city actually paid him to be their resident superhero, and what drove Linda and Wally to accept Neron’s bargain was that he used one of his agents, Major Disaster, to wreck that other city and threatened to do the same to his old stomping grounds.

  2. February 14, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    Oh, and this might be a good time to check your e-mail. Hint hint. ;)

    • February 15, 2014 at 2:01 pm

      Thank you! I might have to read more Flash comics. I didn’t realize Wally had such a witty inner monologue.

      • February 15, 2014 at 2:48 pm

        You’re very welcome. As for witty inner monologue, he developed that largely while Mark Waid was writing him. Heck, Waid himself once quipped that Wally was him “fifteen years and a full head of hair ago”, or something to that effect and his characterization is the one that stuck and was used in the DC Animated Universe for nearly a decade. He only became all grimdark and serious about halfway through Geoff Johns’ run, when Zoom caused Linda Park to miscarry and Hal Jordan used his almighty Spectre retcon powers to mess things up even more.

        The reason a lot of people are rightfully butthurt about Wally West’s fate is because he broke the mold when DC made him the Flash. He started out as the sidekick of Barry Allen – a straight-laced police scientist who was a good-natured but rather dull nice guy and comic book fan – and evolved into a cocky, sarcastic, witty superhero with a bit of an ego who grew out of his mentor’s shadow in a big way.

        If you’re really interested in reading more, check the usual spot for the rest of Mark Waid’s first run on the title. To this day, my favorite storyline remains “The Return of Barry Allen”. Oddly enough, in the letter column for the last issue of that arc, Waid – himself a huge fan of Barry’s – explained extremely well why he should never be brought back.

      • February 21, 2014 at 7:45 pm

        Isn’t Geoff Johns one of the people on the creative team behind DC’s New 52? If so, that explains something about the direction that retcon/reboot went.

        I just don’t understand why the creative teams think that funny, likeable characters are worthless. I did get a chance to watch some more DCAU with the Flash. His dry wit made him no less an awesome character. I am really so weird for wanting to read about characters who are funny?

      • February 21, 2014 at 9:19 pm

        I think you can also blame Dan DiDio for it. It’s not like this is the first time something like this has happened on his watch. The year he joined “ReBoot”, Enzo went from an annoying but fun-loving kid to a musclebound adult named Matrix with a gun and cybernetic eye who shot people execution style in the head.

        One of the big problems is that DC has been stuck with this “Highlander Mentality” since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths: there can be only one universe. If they’d really wanted to do a New 52, they could’ve just pulled an Ultimate Universe and started a whole new one from scratch. And they could’ve gone all out. Superman could’ve been black. Bruce Wayne could’ve been an Asian adopted by the Waynes as a baby. They could’ve made everyone happy: old fans could’ve kept their universe and new fans would have a jumping on point.

        Seriously, if you want to read stuff that I enjoyed, let me know and check the usual spot. I’ll show you the DC Universe that I remember and actually enjoyed, where heroes actually and weren’t all just a bunch of mentally damaged nutcases.

      • February 28, 2014 at 9:04 pm

        I’ve seen the calls to fire DiDio, so I know he’s culpable. And I agree; DC should have just done an Ultimate Universe. Even though I don’t like the Ulti-verse, I think Marvel had the right idea about it. But New 52 just seems like the top guys at DC said, “Okay, let’s keep the awesome stuff we like and re-write all that boring and lame stuff we don’t like and add blood and guns!” (which in my head I’m hearing in ’90s Kid’s voice). Congrats, DC top guys – that’s what we call “fan fiction.”

        I appreciate the offer to read some back issues and will probably take you up on it. Marvel was my first universe, so pretty much anything in DC will be new to me.

      • March 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

        I’ll add a few more random things for you to read, including the original appearance of the Metal Men, just for fun. :)

        One of my big pet peeves about the New 52 is that it has, in many ways, become “Kingdom Come”. In that Elseworlds story, the general populace embrace bloodthirsty vigilantism, which outrages Superman and he simply leaves them behind to live with their decision. Naturally, as a result, the whole world goes to pot. And what’s ridiculous about this whole movement about embracing the idea of superheroes killing people is that no one seems to realize how dangerously self-contradictory it is: you’re placing your lives in the hands of people who don’t respect the sanctity of human life. And that’s just asking for trouble.

      • March 15, 2014 at 2:00 pm

        Indeed. The danger is not just people who clearly don’t respect the sanctity of human life, but people who have such power that attempting to stop them would wreak havoc upon the world, if they could be stopped. This is why the Sentinal program was started, and honestly in some ways I can’t fault Trask and his lot for their point of view. Magneto is terrifying.

        And yet there are people who like the New 52 for just that reason. There are people who are upset Batman didn’t kill the Joker at the end of “The Dark Knight.” There are people who defend Superman killing Zod at the end of “Man of Steel.” Vengeance is apparently more appealing than virtue. We are back in the ’90s again.

      • March 15, 2014 at 2:13 pm

        Agreed. And what you just said is why I blame Dan DiDio for the current state of DC, even though a lot of people claim that my hatred for the man is irrational. Not so. Based on a quote of his from 2002, his vision was to reshape the DC Universe for a post-9/11 world. And the end result is a fictional universe filled with fear, paranoia, and mistrust of the people who’re supposed to be protecting you. The heroic ideal is not only dead, but also openly mocked and ridiculed.

        I disagree that we’re back in the 90s, though. Because back in the 1990s and early 2000s, we only had thinly-veiled stand-ins for the Justice League – such as the Authority – acting like reckless vigilantes. In the 2010s, we have the actual Justice League acting like reckless vigilantes.

      • March 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

        You’re right. Even in the ’90s there was a distinction between heroes and villains and hope won out over fear. Gun-toting, pouch-wearing, bendy-blade-wielding hope, but hope nonetheless. My question is “why?” Why do you want to reimagine a fantasy universe as a fear-filled paranoid dystopia?

        I may have a topic for my next blog entry…

      • March 15, 2014 at 4:35 pm

        I think it’s a reflection of the times, to be honest. People have become inherently mistrustful of government and authority. I’m no expert on the matter, but while I think that Richard Nixon was when America started becoming really disillusioned with government, even back then, superheroes were largely above all that. They served to inspire mankind to greaterness. Now, they all have psychological issues and seem to be mentally unstable. Another blogger said that the way Superman is being written today, he’s about one step away from the Plutonian from Mark Waid’s “Irredeemable”.

        I think you’re right about a lack of distinction, but not quite in the way you’re suggesting. I hate sounding like some kind of bitter old coot, but I get the distinct impression that people read things like “Watchmen” and completely missed the damn point. “Watchmen” was a deconstruction of the superhero genre and showed you not only how messed up in the head you’d have to be to put on a costume and become a superhero, but also how a normal person putting on a costume and becoming a superhero could mess them up on the head. It’s like so many people who read it in the 1980s and then started writing comics in the 1990s latched on to Rorschach as a model and embraced the whole idea that good guys killing bad guys is awesome.

      • March 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm

        You may be right there. I dub this “Lobo Syndrome.” Lobo Syndrome – when a piece of media is obviously a parody, satire, deconstruction, or otherwise critical look at another piece of media, and the audience not only misses the point of the critical piece of media, but takes it as the paragon of that kind of media.

        Hey, I may have another entry!

  3. March 15, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    As an aside, it’s a shame we don’t have a more regular form of communication. I enjoy our always insightful discussions on these subjects, even if there are weeklong gaps between them. :)

    • March 21, 2014 at 3:38 pm

      I enjoy our discussions as well :-) But life has this way of being in the way, you know?

  4. March 21, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Both our lives tend to do that, unfortunately. :)

    I look forward to reading these future entries of yours! I eventually plan to write my own articles, specifically to show how the origins of various superheroes have changed since the Silver Age. I need to research this in depth more, but I have this theory that the people at DC actually hate Superman and have been passively aggressively trying to imply that his moral code is either antiquated or imply that he’s a closet douchebag.

    • March 22, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      I’m looking forward to your articles too. It’s obvious you have a really good comics library (or where to access old comics). Do you think just the current people at DC hate Superman and think his moral code is passe or he’s secretly a douche-bag? Because if you read the comments to some of the criticisms of “Man of Steel” (like the most excellent Honest Trailer for it or Blockbuster Buster’s heartbreaking video commentary), it seems like a great many people seem to agree with DC’s new direction. Heck, Zack Synder clearly thought there was no other avenue for Superman but to kill Zod (although the “How It Should Have Ended” points out the plotholes very well).

      • March 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

        Thanks. I look forward to eventually having the time to write and research them. Need to land a proper job first. :)

        To be honest, my working theory – which I have yet to prove – is that the people currently in charge at DC hate Superman because he was the biggest obstacle standing in the way of the direction they wanted to take their fictional universe in because he was antithetical to the values they wanted to promote: a post-9/11, shoot-now-and-ask-questions-later cowboy mentality where the ends always justify the means. And they accomplished this through a combination of character assassination, painting him as grossly inept due to his adherence to what they considered a quaint and hopelessly outdated moral code, and, finally, by creating a New 52 version where he’s kind of a dick (or at least was when he was starting his career).

        I’ve run across the same people you and the others you mentioned have: the ones who complain about how they can’t associate with Superman due to his being unrealistically virtuous. And here’s the funny thing: they’re right, but they’ve also completely missed the point. Superman virtuousness is supposed to be unrealistic, or, more correctly said, just ever so slightly beyond realistic. He’s supposed to be a moral paragon, someone you look up to and aspire to be like. But a lot of people these days seem to want to do things Jack Bauer style, which I find disheartening and troubling.

        I remember an exchange that took place in an issue of JLA written by Grant Morrison 17 years ago:

        Superman: “I can only tell you what I believe, (Wonder Woman): Humankind has to be allowed to climb to its own destiny. We can’t carry them there.”
        Flash: “But that’s what she’s saying. What’s the point? Why should they need us at all?”
        Superman: “To catch them if they fall.”

        Superheroes are there to keep the peace and not to serve as judge, jury, and executioner. We saw where embracing the latter kind of thinking lead in “Kingdom Come”. But I never thought I’d see the day when people would embrace that kind of dark future and rush headlong into it of their own free will.

      • March 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

        I sympathize with the job hunting. It took me longer than I like to admit to find a job after graduating.

        I think you’re really onto something with Superman. As part and parcel of that kind of mindset, I think that’s why the New52 Amazon society is a dark dystopia. There’s just no room for idealized virtue in the new universe.

        I’m beginning to think there isn’t room for any virtue, or hell, even characters who aren’t complete [Denis Learys].

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Raging Fanboy

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 185 other followers

%d bloggers like this: