And then there was that time when Superman renounced his American citizenship, and everyone went crazy. I admit, my favorite “mainstream” reaction to the story came from the rightwing politico site Pajamas Media, which took an entirely different message than everyone else – that the White House was to blame for forcing Superman’s hand (“That the Administration thought it could dress down Superman with impunity proves that it doesn’t understand how far it has fallen since the heady days of 2008, long before the desire for change was upended by the “change” that actually ensued,” it declared) – but lots of eyes are suddenly on the Man of Steel, and not for the reasons that DC would probably like them to be. So, what happens next?
Wow, That Whole “Walking Across The Country” Thing Really Must Have Soured Superman on America, Huh?
Now, Chris Roberson may have brought me on board “Grounded” – For those who jumped off the Superman title when J. Michael Straczynski got started and haven’t taken another look since Roberson replaced him, you really should, you know – but I can’t help but feel that David Goyer’s short in Action Comics #900 weirdly undercuts the premise of the entire arc a little. Before Superman is even done rediscovering himself by walking amongst common Americans, he’s renouncing his citizenship and saying that the American Way “isn’t enough anymore”? How can that not be read as a commentary on his “Grounded” experience, even if it’s an accidental one?
I have to wonder whether the inevitable follow-up to the Goyer short – and with this much controversy, there’ll definitely be some kind of follow-up – will be a quick swerve by Roberson to explain that Superman’s walk ends with him deciding that he will un-renounce his citizenship having realized that the American Way is less to do with American politics and more to do with the American dream. I mean, if Roberson can save us from JMS’ unfeeling Barry Allen with one line, then surely he can fix this for DC, right?
Why Was DC So Clearly Unprepared For This?
It’s not just that there was no fanfare ahead of time for the citizenship thing, it’s that the official DCU blog is still entirely devoid of any reference to the story, the coverage, anything. The “This Just Happened: Action Comics #900” post from yesterday was entirely about the cliffhanger ending to Paul Cornell’s lead story, with no mention about what people were actually talking about in the issue. Did no-one at the company think that maybe Superman saying that he didn’t stand for Truth, Justice and The American Way anymore would be of more interest to most people than four different Doomsdays? Really?
Who Knew That Citizenship Was So Important In Comics?
Between this and Marvel’s “American Panther” storyline in upcoming Black Panther issues, somehow citizenship has become the hot new topic for superhero comics. As one who went through all the immigration paperwork and testing myself, I can at least attest to the experience being full of drama and deep emotional pain – I can’t wait for the issue focusing on T’Challa reeling from realizing how expensive the whole process can become – but, seriously, who saw this coming? With Marvel already knee-deep in Fear Itself, I think DC has the chance to take advantage of all this publicity and apparent need to address these issues. Dan, Jim, I have two words for you: Immigration Crisis. You know it could work. Give me a call.