Though Superman has long stood for "truth, justice, and the American way," we may have to scratch that last bit now that the cape-loving hero has renounced his U.S. citizenship in the historic 900th issue of Action Comics. In a storyline by David S. Goyen — a screenwriter for the Batman film, The Dark Knight — the U.S. criticizes Superman, whom it sees as a representative for U.S. policy, for taking part in a nonviolent anti-government protest in Iran, and a fed-up Superman quits America. (See key panels below.) Should America be offended?
You go, Superman! When a superhero originally envisioned as "an American heartland warrior" ditches the American part, "it's a sobering moment," says Scott Thill in Wired. But it's also a heroic and obvious one. "The genius of Superman is that he belongs to everyone," not just America. And at a time when America is "rife with immigration paranoia," it's refreshing to see an alien refugee like Superman reject narrow nationalism.
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Why does Goyen hate America? The "small minds" who came up with this storyline clearly "hope to peddle more of their ware by adopting anti-Americanism," says Don Surber in the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail. Instead, they're just draining the last drop of fun from the increasingly dour Superman franchise. Seriously, we're talking about "a cartoon of a man who can somehow fly through the air and withstand atomic bombs." Lighten up, guys.
Superman will embrace America again: I actually think the storyline makes sense, says Steven Taylor in Outside the Beltway. But anything that smacks of America-bashing will "create a firestorm of outrage" in comics-land. Remember how people griped that the new Wonder Woman outfit wasn't sufficiently patriotic because it dropped the stars? Anyways, as any comics collector knows, these dramatic plot twists "have a way of being impermanent."
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