Superman renounces his U.S. citizenship in Action Comics’ record-breaking 900th issue. But that’s not all the benevolent alien refugee does in the sprawling special issue.
The Man of Steel throws down in outer space against a continually misguided Lex Luthor, who’s finally rewarded for his boundless ambition by becoming a petulant god. Supes also throws a pizza party with Lois Lane for his Kryptonian pals, who crowd his couch while chowing grub and chewing scenery. He talks cosmology and philosophy with an interstellar deity beset by guilt over civilizations he was perhaps too selfish to save, and goes head-to-head with a one-time pro athlete who’s become a superheroic show-off.
It’s just another day in the life of Earth’s most recognizable comics immortal, in a landmark issue penned by all-stars from film, television and comics. Action Comics No. 900 features stories penned by Doctor Who’s Paul Cornell, Lost’s Damon Lindelof, Superman: The Movie director Richard Donner, The Dark Knight screenwriter David S. Goyer and DC Comics’ chief creative officer, Geoff Johns.
Variant covers from artists Adam Hughes and superstar Alex Ross – whose sensational revision of Action Comics No. 1’s legendary cover is particularly cool – bring up the rear as eye-popping chasers. As Luthor says in the gallery above, “You’re welcome.”
Cornell’s galactic finale for his excellent run on Superman: The Black Ring, with art from Pete Woods and Jesus Merino, takes up most of the $6 comic’s 96 pages. As it should, considering how hard Luthor has toiled to become a god and kill off his do-good nemesis. (Spoiler alert! As always, Luthor screws it up in the end.)
Meanwhile, Lindelof’s meditative contribution, featuring brooding art from Ryan Sook, is anchored by, of all things, a job interview. When a Kryptonian scientist is asked by Superman’s father to help save his son, he takes the job, even as their home planet falls apart around him. It’s much better than Lost’s heinous finale.
Goyer’s installment, with tense art from Miguel Sepulveda, steals the spotlight in Action Comics No. 900. When Superman drops in on an Iranian protest to stand with demonstrators in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, the U.S. government takes him to task for acting as an instrument of national policy. Superman responds by renouncing his American citizenship and proclaiming himself a citizen of the universe.
It’s a sobering moment, as obvious as it is revolutionary. Superman’s conscientious creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who dreamed up Superman for Action Comics’ 1938 debut, positioned their deathless hero as an American heartland warrior battling tyranny and evil.
But Superman has always been bigger than the United States, and not just because he was inspired – directly or indirectly is still subject to debate – by Friedrich Nietzsche’s polar-opposite Übermensch.
In an age rife with immigration paranoia, it’s refreshing to see an alien refugee tell the United States that it’s as important to him as any other country on Earth – which in turn is as important to Superman as any other planet in the multiverse.
The genius of Superman is that he belongs to everyone, for the dual purposes of peace and protection. He’s above ephemeral geopolitics and nationalist concerns, a universal agent unlike any other found in pop culture.
The finest moment in Action Comics No. 900 comes when Goyer makes that exquisitely clear to everyone.
This article appeared at Wired
Grant Morrison Gets Deep On Superman, Batman, Cosmology
“I tried to be true to the concept of Superman as I understood it. It seemed fairly significant that the more threatening the world has been made to feel, the more this concept of the superhero has bled from the margins into mainstream consciousness, onto screens and T-shirts and into political speeches. That seemed worth exploring via the original superhero, Superman. He seemed the perfect subject for what became an attempt to make a mainstream, adult superhero comic that didn’t rely on ultraviolence, or superheroes swearing and getting their dicks out…”