Saturday, August 24, 2013

Retro Review: Superman Vol 2 #22

I've only kinda skimmed the other parts of this storyline, but in it Superman meets a Supergirl from a pocket universe and follows her back there where General Zod and his two goons have killed everyone on planet Earth including that world's Clark Kent AKA Superboy. In this issue Superman uses gold kryptonite to take away their powers (it doesn't work on him though since he's not from that universe). The General then threatens that he will find away to get their powers back and go to his universe and kill everyone there. Superman then uses green kryptonite to execute them, even while the General and Zarora beg for their lives, Zarora even going so far as to offer to be Superman's sex slave should he spare her. Superman walks away from them shedding a tear for what he had to do.
On the way back to his universe, he finds the injured Supergirl, who was some sort of genetic construct thingie, and takes her/it back to his universe. She would later end up bonded to a human girl named Linda Danvers and something about an angel or something. Confusing premise aside Peter David had a rather critically acclaimed run with that character.

In some ways this issue represents both the best and worst things about DC comics. This issue had a very powerful and touching character moment with Superman forced to kill, something he abhors. But because editorial mandates after Crisis on Infinite Earths made it so Superman had be the only survivor of Krypton, he couldn't kill General Zod in his own reality he had to go to another universe. And not even a parellel universe, because those had been done away with too, but a "pocket universe" basically a fake little bullshit universe like "Heroes Reborn". These people he killed barely existed. So what should have been Superman forced to kill members of his nearly extinct race for the greater good became a convoluted mess.

 And then there's the Supergirl that came out of this. Rather than be his cousin, because again he has to truly be the last son of Krypton at this point, she has to be a genetic construct. Again, she's barely a person. Now granted, quality writers like Peter David would come along and make the most of this character, but still this was an attempt to have Supergirl without having Supergirl. Supergirl should be Superman's cousin, not a genetic construct from a pocket universe that merges with a human and then there's an angel or something.

And that's the thing DC never got, and especially doesn't get with the New 52, while it's OK to tweek some continuity things around after these cosmic events, reboots do not make things simpler, they actually make things more complicated. And the things you tried to get rid of in the reboot inevitably end up getting dragged back out by some writer down the line. Crisis on Infinite Earths made Superman the only survivor of Krypton....for a while. But eventually Supergirl, Zod, Kandor, hell, even Kypto for fuck's sake, all popped back up. These editorially driven reboots don't simplify continuity, they just tangle it up.

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