comic book movies

Can we please stop killing Superman off? (Discussion)

 

killing superman batman v superman dc rebirth

You know, it’s very emotionally draining being a Superman fan these days. There’s always this constant need to keep things big and shocking with Superman, to keep him interesting to the audience. Which often leads to the same fate, his death.

Spoilers for Batman v Superman (as if you haven’t already watched it) and DC Rebirth follow.

There’s always the looming questions of, is Superman relevant anymore? Is he boring? How can we keep him interesting? Now I know a lot of people feel that he isn’t as interesting as some other heroes, but there’s a reason he’s remained in pop culture for as long as he has. But there’s this desire from creative teams to keep spicing things up with him. Which is fair enough because after 77 years, you need to keep things new and fresh. And so the latest trend apparently is to just kill him.

First of all you have the movie universe, the DCEU. I liked Batman v Superman, but the more I think about it, the more I wish Snyder didn’t make the choice to kill Superman. Obviously his death triggered the world’s belief in Superman, along with Batman’s belief in Superman as well. It will lead to the birth of the Justice League and a new age. So yes it had its storytelling benefits.

batman v superman superman funeral casket

But imagine an ending where Superman didn’t die. Instead he was triumphant against Doomsday. The world saw the sacrifice he was willing to make, putting his life on the line, but he was eventually successful and they rejoiced him. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman start hanging out and talking, realising that they should seek out the people from Luthor’s files. So their relationship starts to grow and strengthen as they work together to unite the seven.

This way we get to see more from Clark. One of the problems with Batman v Superman, was that it spent too much time focusing on the bigger picture of Superman, what other people perceived him to be. It didn’t spend enough time focusing on Clark, who he perceived himself to be. We could have the chance to explore Clark more, things from his perspective, as he takes a leadership role in forming this team. And we get to see the relationship between the trio become real.

killing superman batman v superman dc rebirth

However with the ending we got, we probably won’t get much Superman in Justice League. So obviously the huge Superman fan in me gets a little upset.

Then you have the comic books. New 52 Superman is dying, and is going to get replaced by pre-Flashpoint Superman. So you know, the Supes who was killed by Doomsday and came back with a sweet mullet.

I know the Superman titles have had its ups and down since 2011, but I definitely think they got to a point where they finally had a grasp on what they wanted to portray with Superman. And just as they started to embrace it, they decided to replace him.

Of course this is the world of comics, so its to be expected. In 2011 they replaced one Superman for another, and now they’re replacing the replacement Superman with the one that got replaced in the first place…

dc rebirth new 52 superman dying

But this post isn’t a whinge fest. If you can’t handle change, then you probably shouldn’t be into the world of comics. My only hope is that we get good Superman stories. There doesn’t always have to be some big shocking thing that’s happening to sell the character. Embrace the story of one of the most ordinary people happening to be this super-powered alien whose biggest strength and weakness is that he wears his heart on his sleeve.

So to Snyder I say: don’t get too obsessed with the grand imagery and the metaphors. Don’t forget that Superman is just Clark Kent. It’s great to discuss the philosophical implications of the Superman figure, but the reason why so many people love him is because of just how human such a god-like figure can be.

And to DC Comics I say: pick how you want to portray Superman, and stick with it. Because he’s such an established and long-running character with many interpretations, you’re never going to make every person happy. But you can’t keep replacing him anytime you feel things aren’t working. Oh and that in the world of the multiverse, you can have parallel Superman stories running, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

But yeah, if this can be the last “Superman dying” stories we see in a while, I’ll be happy!

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37 replies »

  1. Yeah, I agree, was a shame they killed Superman in BVS Dawn of Justice, it would’ve been a much better ending if he’d survived and helped to form the Justice League with batman and Wonder Woman

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  2. Well at least the ending of BvS shows he’s gonna make a comeback. Hopefully when they do, Snyder/Justice League director will remove the grey filter and reveal a whole lot of blue in Superman’s outfit 🙂

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    • Haha yeah well there really wasn’t a question of whether he would come back or not. I actually had no problem with how his suit looked in BvS, definitely still had the Snyder filters though

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  3. Bravo I am huge Batman fan myself but I am tired of kill Supes kill side kicks and kill Batman well sort of ….stop the madness lets stop trying to hit the reset button to get the casual fan to become hardcore fan at the expense of die hard fans ….ugh! Killing Superman is getting tiresome besides he is a alien how do you kill off an alien ??

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  4. for the Justice League movie they just wanted to find a way to get rid of Superman so they can focus even more on Batman. The moment when he comes back can be epic, but I hope they won’t wait for the last act of Justice League part 1. I hope the movie won’t end up being “Batman & the Justice League”. I think the problem is not only killing him, but ignoring him… even when he was alive in the movie, he was quite sidelined.

    In the comics… well… I like the pre-flashpoint Supes, but the New52 Superman was great too… when he had his powers and secret identity. There are many potentials left in this incarnation, they should not get rid of him…. I hope it will be only temporarly. DC should just bring back the whole pre-flashpoint universe and keep the New 52 also. Just like Marvel did when they created the Ultimate Universe, but kept the original two.

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    • I feel like it will be Batman and the Justice League. I hope Supes comes back before the third act, but I don’t know how else they would do it otherwise.
      Yeah I wouldn’t mind having the two universes at once, that way everyone has a story to enjoy

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      • They could bring Clark Kent back early in the movie without his powers. He could try living a normal life but when a new treat emerges he realizes that even without his powers he still wants to help. So his part in the movie could be about him trying to find a way to regain his powers…. however it’s very unlikely to happen, they killed him of so Batman can shine.in full glory. I like Batman but putting one character above everybody else feels wrong.

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      • I would have loved that, and it would have been possible if they didn’t publicly declare Clark dead as well. Hopefully the other League members get their time to shine as well

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      • There are many ways to bring back Clark Kent.For example his death could been staged for an article where he had to go undercover. The only limits are the filmmakers lack of creativity.

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      • Idk like they could do that, but I don’t think that’s something Snyder would do. I think Clark Kent is going to remain dead unfortunately

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  5. Superman in BvS portray very humanly and relatable. Look at how frustrated is he when the right thing he does do not pay off well he wanted it to be(africa incident, expose batman vigilantisms through newspaper), doubltful of himself whether he actually make things better and make it worse(senate hearing), happy being with lois and act like a normal people around her to temporarily relieve himself from the stress of being superman(bathtub scene), being extremely very angry when his mother is threatened and so on. There is alot of humanly and grounded moment that superman has in BvS in regards to his relationship with Lois and Martha as well as his ghost encounter with Pa Kent about the flood as well

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  6. There is no shortage of good engrossing Superman stories to tell, only of writers capable of telling them.

    From my article: Superman, John Wayne and Apple Pie
    https://numberonebatfan.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/superman-john-wayne-and-apple-pie/

    …While these [archetypal non-Superman] stories are entertaining and brilliant in their own right, [Miracleman, Iredeemable etc] their place in the canon of Superhero stories is part of a larger cycle. Creation, Innovation, Experimentation, Deconstructionism, Post-Modernism and eventual metamorphosis back to Holism (the reintegration of the various deconstructed story parts and themes that often resembles the very first version of character) means that even stories not about Superman, ultimately help to define who and what Superman IS, by showing us what he is NOT.

    In a similar fashion, the Batman “Knightfall” story gave the world a Batman it did not want, and clearly demonstrated that Batman (as an idea) was not broken, and was not in need of fixing. Similarly, Superman is not “broken” or irrelevant. The Man of Steel’s stories are as strong and relevant as the authors ability to write engaging fiction.

    Superman stories are as emotionally resonant and deeply meaningful as a writer allows them to be.

    The values Superman stands for are not just old fashioned and irrelevant so much as timeless and subject to innovation that ultimately brings the character full circle back to his earliest incarnation. Superman (and Batman) can withstand endless revisionism and retconning because they are such strong well defined characters to begin with, yet with room to project something of ourselves onto the characters so that we can also relate to them.

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    • Wow really well said! And yeah at the end of the day its about the purpose of the writer, and often Superman writers are too consumed with the idea of doing something big and shocking to reflect his power, that they often end up writing misguided stories

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      • Despite the various complaints, I’ve enjoyed the NEW 52 Action + Superman stories a lot more than most of the Supes comics in the 90s (“Death of” is about the only story I like from that era, hated the electric boogaloo blue Superman story)

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      • I don’t even know what the hell they are talking about. People moan about the NEW 52 and I genuinely don’t understand their compaints. I’ve read pretty much all of NEW 52 Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Deathstroke, JLA and enjoyed all of those books immensely.

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      • I love a lot of the New 52 stuff as well, just depends on how much people want to cling onto past iterations of these characters

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      • Meh. Comics are always changing. The one thing that really pissed me off (and made me stop reading Spidey for several years) was when J M Strazycrazyski or whatever brought in a ridiculous storyline that to me forever ruined the Gwen Stacy character – by giving her a retroactive story where she had illegitimate children with Norman Osborn, it just shit all over the Peter/Gwen relationship in the original comics. I think some thinks writers should not be allowed to mess with, like taking a classic beloved story that was around 30 years old at the time and changing it to make it far worse. But apart from that, even some stuff I hate like when they did Red Hood in Batman, or Bucky/Winter solider in Cap turned into fun stories – but they would have been better served if they made those characters go away again afterwards, now they just hang around like a bad smell and nobody knows what to do with them after their storylines ended.

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  7. When The Death of Superman storyline happened, it had meaning and impact, because hundreds of comics, regardless of retcons and whatnot, kinda built up to it as ppl who read and loved Superman saw him die. Even real-life news media reported on this. With New 52, who knows if it’s still canon, and with that the story has lost any meaning or impact. Zack Snyder only did TWO movies with Superman and killed him off. Sure, it’s great that the Justice League is forming to honor him, the world is realizing he was a good guy after all, but this could’ve been done with him living too. The Death of Superman was a DCU story, in which it affected everyone and not just Superman characters, because Supes was known and liked by EVERYONE, and Dawn of Justice didn’t do that much justice. I hadn’t seen Superman: Doomsday, the animated adaptation, but from what I looked up while it did cut out wider DCU elements and other things, at least it understood that Supes was around for a long time and was liked by ppl.

    The more I hear about Rebirth, the more I think that DC will never learn to stick with something. New 52 could’ve been done without rebooting everything, just be an alternate imprint or something. At least Earth One fulfills the idea of DC having an equivalent to Ultimate Marvel and manages to be more hopeful than New 52, while also balancing it with modern-day cynicism and paranoia. If they had that, why would they need New 52?

    It’s funny that in recent years DC and Marvel have kinda been switching around on outlooks for superhero fiction. Marvel has been a bit more hopeful, optimistic, having an idea of legacy, addressing modern problems too in a way, and maintaining continuity somewhat despite changes like One More Day or updating Iron Man’s origin to reflect the times while still keeping his other stories canon, while DC has been doing the opposite, nothing but cynicism and everything has to be EXTREME. Heck, the way DC has been treating Batman and Justice League as their safety nets lately is similar to how Marvel did it with Spider-Man and the X-Men back in the 90s. I wouldn’t be surprised if they go through a speculator boom too, maybe that’ll get em to learn. DC has been trying to be “dark, edgy, and gritty” since New 52 or before that with Identity Crisis, all to appeal to hipsters and piss on longtime fans. There’s still a chance for them to have hope again, maybe try to bring back the pre-Flashpoint universe and not try to reboot everything every couple of years to stay relevant.

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    • Yeah the death wasn’t as impactful in the movie, probably would have worked better later on.
      I think Rebirth looks promising so far, I feel like (hopefully) this is a change that will stick. They’re keen to embrace the past whilst looking to the future, so I’m excited to see what they do

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      • The thing I don’t see discussed online, at least not very often is that overall the NEW 52 was a success for DC, and from a marketing/sale perspective, relaunching your books every 5 years or so tends to get new interest in the comics. The long term fans tend to be there regardless of what event or gimmick is going on. So even if they keep exactly the same continuity and never change it, and keep the old numbering of books etc, they still have to do SOMETHING newsworthy to get the attention of media, websites and new fans.

        The interesting thing is that Marvel has done 2-3 soft relaunches of their core books in the last decade, yet with half the complaints by and large they kept the same continuity across those books, eventually even rolling their “Ultimate” line of books back into the mainline Marvel universe after those books finished up with some key mini-series books and crossovers.

        DC tends go from one extreme to another, that is they go from massive multiverse, down to smaller universe and back, which they done several times since the 50’s. Ultimately however “small” they make the core DC-verse, it will always expand back out again at some point as they own too many characters, imprints and old characters NOT to do that.

        In contrast Marvel tends to be more inclusive – whatever side projects or new universes or Ultimates or 2099 continuities they create are always side projects that don’t replace the core MCU, but expand upon it, and don’t negate anything that has come before.

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  8. If DC were to embrace the past, they could at least bring back stuff like the REAL Wally West instead of the blackface little kid juvenile delinquent stereotype and repeat his story all over again. Or the legacy characters like Atom Smasher, Jade, Jesse Quick, and others. Or bring back Lian Harper. Plus a couple other things. I’m probably sounding too cynical, but that’s just the way it looks to me. In the current state of DCU, there just doesn’t seem to be any trust or respect, just shoot first ask questions NEVER.

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    • That was a major problem with New 52, it almost felt like changes for changes sake, to keep “new and hip”. But I do think they are trying to go back on that now, and respect the past a little more

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      • I hope so. It’s funny how DC has been about being “new, hip, and extreme” lately, depicting the heroes as unsympathetic, unrepentant, holier than thou jerks, when they’ve done comics like Kingdom Come and Infinite Crisis, regardless of continuity,that were about trying to find a balance between old and new. Sometimes I wondered whether New 52 was DC trolling the audiences in an attempt to appreciate the old stuff more and showing that pointless action doesn’t make everything. Idk I’m kinda over thinking at this point.

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    • I like all the versions of the the Flash right from the golden/silver age up to the present. I don’t why long term fans are always on about the “real” flash when it’s a character like Green Lantern that has had at least 3 major incarnations for a decade or so each.
      The “real Flash” to me is Jay Garrick AND Barry Allen AND Wally West.

      Like Green Lantern, The Phantom, and other similar characters, their is a lineage to the costume and powers. So the “Real” Flash is whoever is wearing the costume at the time.

      I like how in post 90’s JSA and JLA (and their spin off books and mini-series, one shots etc) we get multiple version of the Flash from different eras at the same time, there is no sense of one being in competition with another.

      I’m curious to know what do you personally (along with other long term Flash fans in general) not like about the modern Flash, and I assume you are talking about the New 52 Flash in your posts here? If not, please clarify. I read all of that run, but I don’t know what character you are referencing when you say ” blackface little kid juvenile delinquent stereotype” – I have no I no idea who or what that is, please explain.
      I have no interest in trying to “disprove” your opinions, I’d just like you to expand upon them as I really don’t know why people dislike NEW 52 Flash so much. If anything, it felt a bit bland and safe, and all for bringing back any of those characters you mention, all of whom are great characters. I loved the way Johns and Waid built up the Flash Family, not just his relatives, but all those legacy characters going right back to the silver age like Jay Garrick, Jesse Quick and other speedsters etc. I also enjoyed Flash’s kids in the short run Flash comic came just before the NEW 52 launched, they were a bit hokey at times, but I loved the family dynamic and the love of those characters for each other.

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  9. What I mean specifically that I don’t like about New 52 Flash, and probably part of what I don’t like of New 52 as a whole (along with New 52 Lobo cutting off the head of 90s Lobo, who’s apparently an “impostor”? what the heck, DC?), is what happened to Wally West. I’m fine with Barry Allen being The Flash, l like that character a lot, but I also don’t like how DC kinda shoved away Wally into almost non-existence because of it and then bring him back to the point of non-recognition, as if he never had any impact whatsoever to them. It’s funny you also mention Waid and Johns building up Flash, because a lot of their stuff involved Wally West and some of Barry Allen.

    Wally West is like the Dick Grayson of the Flashes, growing up a sidekick then becoming a full-on hero in his own right. He started out as Kid Flash, then when his mentor Barry Allen died saving the multiverse, he took up the mantle and became The Flash. He went through a lot in doing this, and oftentimes it was questioned whether he was truly worthy, but eventually he was able to overome his doubts and even became more powerful than his own mentor. Not only was he a staple member of the Titans, but he also helped ushered in new generations of that team and the Justice League. He even got married and had kids. Wally’s character, power set, and other attributes as The Flash were also used as a model for how to adapt The Flash for other mediums, along with elements of Barry Allen too, such as The Flash TV shows (1990 and 2014), the JLA TV movie (apologies for mentioning that), the DC animated universe, Young Justice, Teen Titans, and more. Of course, eventually he did kinda “retire” and left with his family into the Speed Force when his own protege Bart Allen aka Impulse/Kid Flash became the new Flash, however later Bart died (came back again as Kid Flash later on) and Wally returned as Flash. It was decided to bring back Barry Allen in Final Crisis and Flash: Rebirth in the same manner as how Hal Jordan came back as Green Lantern. Now, it did seem like Wally would be benched for a little while before coming back and working alongside Jay Garrick, Barry, and Bart, as the Flash family, kinda like how Hal Jordan would coexist among all the other Green Lanterns, but then Flashpoint and New 52 happened, and Wally was nowhere in sight.

    In New 52, Barry was apparently the only Flash in existence of that universe, Jay was rebooted on a new Earth 2, and Bart was Kid Flash again only renamed “Bar Torr” (probably some weird way of DC wanting to be EXTREME in how he’s from the future). Wally was nowhere in sight and a lot of people wondered where he was. Then he came back…as a 12-yr-old black kid. Not only that, but he lost both his parents (dad left, mom missing), spray paints grafitti, gets in trouble with the law, hates The Flash (The Flash got his uncle, Daniel West the New 52 Reverse-Flash, in jail), and according to his aunt Iris West (who’s still white in New 52, btw), needs someone, that being Barry Allen, an adult white guy, to “show him the way”. DC had turned a beloved character, a legacy character even that grew up over time and kinda embodied the young generation that grew up with him, into nothing more than a one-dimensional stereotype packaged with an overdone story trope so convoluted, dated, forced, and trying to be “hip and modern”, it came off as if whoever thought of this idea watched only ONE episode of The Wire or something and said “yeah we could totally use this in our comics, only instead of making an ORIGINAL character for this, we’ll just slap this on a fan-favorite character a lot of people like with little-to-no explanation”. Not to mention it comes off as a lame attempt for DC to “address diversity”, especially since this happened around the time racial shootings were getting reported a lot, and instead of either creating an original character for this like how Marvel did with Miles Morales, Kamala Khan, and others, or even utilizing an existing character like Static, Icon, Jakeem Thunder, any of the Milestone characters, and others, they just did it to Wally West, as if the fact that he was a character that already spoke to a younger audience and more because of his existence and development over the years before New 52 happened. When I call it blackface, I mean this is similar to that early 20th century movie trope in which a white guy is wearing makeup in order to look black.

    The New 52 is like Spider-Man: One More Day, only on a larger scale. It retconned a lot of stuff out of existence, gave a middle finger to those who didn’t like it, and just brought things back to square one in order to maintain some status quo for the powers-that-be who don’t want things to gradually change and develop from how they were originally conceived in their eyes (*cough* Dan Didio *cough* Joe Quesada). However, like how Linkara mentioned about One More Day, The New 52 has gotten people to discuss about what they like/dislike about the comics, the characters, and other stuff, not to mention the Convergence: Speed Force miniseries did bring back the REAL Wally West and his kids, along with a couple other legacy characters in their pre-New 52 statuses like Stephanie Brown as Batgirl and others. Though the previews for DC Rebirth showing the New 52 Wally West instead of the pre-Flashpoint version make me question the whole idea of it, among other things, so I guess I’m just gonna wait and see how long this one lasts before DC decides to reboot everything all over again or at least try to bring back certain stuff people liked before New 52 and maybe try to find a better balance or something.

    Apologies for overly explaining, but I wanted to clarify what I meant and I hope I did that. I know I get repetitive on these things, and I hope I don’t come off as too much of an angry fanboy, but a lot of what some certain modern comics, especially DC and sometimes Marvel, are doing these days just really irks me and I hope they can change for the better somehow.

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  10. Also, just to be clear, this doesn’t have anything to do with Wally West on The Flash show. Sure he looks New 52, but he’s more relatable and likeable. It’s an adaptation, liberties can be taken with the source material, and not only be judged for how it utilizes the material, but also how it holds its own, the acting, and storytelling, which are all great in the show’s case.

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  11. Batman n Superman, are to high on the pedestal with unimaginable powers n fighting knowledge.
    DC n DCEU WILL NEVER BE PROFITABLE LIKE MARVEL, DISNEY MARVEL, N MCU. Fact DC wanted MARVEL to buy them out,before Warner Brothers. Stan Lee said “No, because of the not realistic, in times powers, places, n 2D to buy n pack around n continue writing the same storyline over repeatedly. Unreal hero’s n villains, killing off non-essential characters, n not building the rest of the house for DC.”
    In other words DC can’t survive without Bats n Supes. WW, Aquaman, Robin, etc will never be a big as these to clowns. Marvel killed off Hank Pym, James “Logan, Patch, Wolverine” Howelett, Charles Xavier, Jean Gray, Scott Summers, n many more leading characters. Far more than DC who like to kill lower known characters.

    DC needs to be done with BATMAN AND SUPERMAN FOREVER! NO SUPERBOY, NO REPLACEMENT BATMAN. Make Nightwing, Nightwing, no superboy, only super girl n power girl. (change her name too.) build Teens Titans, like the NEW MUTANTS. FIRE SNYDER, N AFLACK.
    This is how to make DCEU better.
    Everyone loves to see their hero’s fail n die.
    Why I’m more MARVEL, N DC.

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