Monday, 6 January 2020

Disguised As A Mild Mannered Reporter No More

The holidays are finally over, and life is slowly returning to what passes for normal. My main piece this time is on Superman’s big reveal. But first, since I’ve been gone so long, I want to shine the spotlight on two other properties first.

Spotlight 1:

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Let’s face it, the period from Phantom Menace to Solo gave Star Wars audiences nothing to really get excited about. Out of our love for Episodes; IV, V, and VI; we desperately wanted to like what we were given next, but bad acting and annoying characters (Yes, I’m pointing at you Jar-Jar) made it hard to remain fans of the franchise.

The long night is finally over. Over the past few months, Star Wars fans have been treated to The Mandalorian on Disney’s streaming service and the theatrical release of Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Disney and Lucas Films have finally figured out what fans want to see and how to deliver it. Heck, there's a fan craze centered around Baby Yoda alone. If these two productions are any indication, Star Wars finally has a bright future.

Spotlight 2:

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Years before most of the Avengers were even born; Captain America, Namor, the original Human Torch; formed The Invaders in order to combat the Nazi scourge during World War II. Years later, within the pages of Tarot #1, Namor is remembering a battle Captain America doesn't have any recollection of. This memory may be connected to a magical threat being faced by the Avengers.

Having the Avengers and Defenders working together gives readers a book with superhero action on almost every page. Of course, The Incredible Hulk is a founding member of both teams, so he serves as the glue which ties the teams together.

This was a very fun read. I find myself looking forward to Alan Davis’ next three issues more than I usually look forward to a miniseries.

Disguised As A Mild Mannered Reporter No More:

In the landmark issue, Action 1000, Brian Michael Bendis restored the classic version of Superman to comics by putting his red briefs back on the outside of his pants, after an eight-year absence. I cheered, feeling Superman was actually Superman again. Fans, such as I, praised Bendis for restoring our hero back to his status quo. Ironically, he’s ended 2019 by shattering the aforementioned status quo.

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In Superman 18, Bendis had Superman come out of the closet. No, not that closet; although that might be interesting someday….. But no, he had our hero tell the world his secret identity. That's right, Superman held a press conference to announce he’d been living as mild mannered reporter, Clark Kent, the whole time. Perry gave him a big hug; it was all very touching.

I’ll be honest, I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing. On the one hand, I totally understand the “pro-reveal” argument. Superman is known for his honesty, so he doesn't want to keep living a lie. Plus, Superman and Clark are close to the same people, so the dual identity isn’t protecting anybody. Perry, Jimmy, and Lois still find themselves tied to their share of time bombs. I get it, I do.

Be that as it may, the big reveal makes me uncomfortable. I’m what you call a “comic book purest.” I like Batman to have Robin. I like Aquaman to have short blond hair. Ray Palmer should be The Atom, Wonder Woman should have an invisible plane, the Hulk should smash things, and Superman’s identity should be a secret.

Lois learned Clark Kent’s secret back in 1991, and I’m still trying to get used to that one. As hokey as it may have been, I enjoyed seeing Clark Kent make an excuse to leave the room mere seconds before Superman shows up. It was classic Superman schtick.

Of course, Peter Parker held a similar press conference during “Civil War” (the comic book story, not the movie), and it only lasted a year or so before the world was magically made to forget who Spider-Man really is. Thus, this particular development may be undone eventually, perhaps by Mister Mxyzptlk. Who knows?

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