Superman Stops Fighting for the American Way

Superman making his debut in Action Comics #1 ...

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Via Comics Alliance, we find that Superman, the icon of “truth, justice, and the American way” for eighty years will be renouncing his American citizenship. The surprising and polarizing act makes sense in the context of the storyline, where Superman’s attempts to protect and support the protesters in Iran is interpreted as an act of war by the USA. Superman, realizing that he was naive for thinking his actions would not be interpreted that way on the world stage, promptly goes to the UN and renounces his American citizenship, pledging to fight the good fight on a global scale.

This is a move that is obviously going to attract very strong emotions. The comments on the article speak volumes:

“SUPERMAN ALWAYS HAS BEEN A GLOBAL IMAGE AND “AMERICAN ICON!” I still believe in truth, justice and the AMERICAN WAY!” The creators of Superman saw him as the ultimate imigrant! why is it that American is now associated with not fair yet the whole world calls on us to save them! I am a life long Superman fan..and if the story has him renounce his US citizenship, then it will be an insult to the patriotic image they created…..” – Iceman

“Key point: Superman didn’t renounce anything. He’s only a cartoon character. Action Comics has renounced their citizenship. Or at least signaled a change of values. Expect to see A LOT of shilling for leftist causes now. I wonder what they gain by selling out to propagandize for the Democrats, like the main stream media did. Maybe they’ll get a bailout from the taxpayers. Or when it comes time for opting out of Obamacare for their employees down in the printing room.

Yep. And once the comic book world has completely cashed in on the side of “global transformation”, I’m sure they’ll get some well-deserved extra rations and larger apartments in the workers paradise. Thanks for enlisting in the corporate propaganda army, Action Comics. Now lets get busy! Can Superman make it to Palestine next week? We hear the Israeli Army is picking on the Gaza Strip again and we need him to help Hamas leverage power!!!” – Jon

“Interesting concept, but terrible timing…..With the tragic comedy of our politicians and an absence of visible American heroes ( this does not include our valiant troops ), DC basically outsources Supe ! Is nothing sacred ?” – onc8

It’s interesting that almost all of the commenters take this in a completely real-world political context. I am not naive enough to not see the political drive going on in the writer’s minds, but at the same time, from the point of view of someone who actually reads these comics, and watches the cartoons, and Smallville, and the movies…wow, I’m a nerd. But regardless, the actions of Superman, and indeed, the entire ensemble of the Justice League, stopped being limited to America or the agendas of American exceptionalism and nationalism a really, really long time ago. The villains stopped being foreign armies, and many of them became members of our own governments. The Project Cadmus storylines…hell, the greatest villain of Superman history, Lex Luthor, was elected president of the US!

In addition to this, the affairs of these heroes reach far beyond our planet. The affairs of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis (among many others) reach beyond our dimension to all possible realms of existence.

On the political side, it’s not exactly news-worthy to suggest that perhaps, just perhaps, America is not the moral leaders that they once were (or at least that the history books written by Americans say they were) and that if a superhero is truly to be “good” an objective, non-political sense, Superman can’t exactly align himself with the US anymore. We torture. We kidnap people and make them disappear. We lock people away with no evidence, no trial, and no means of review. In light of all of that, is it any surprise that the universal symbol of good, honor, and justice can no longer wrap himself in the US flag?

Maybe when we clean up our act he’ll come back. Thoughts?

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