I’ll admit upfront The Man of Steel was never my favorite. I don’t have much against him, but our personalities just never clicked.
He kind of reminds me of Mr. Incredible (who is clearly based off of him.) And like that hero, I think most of Superman’s mistakes (and successes) are the type that a dad might make.
There’s more to this than you might think. In the JLU show I’m referring to for all of this, Superman was the one who founded the Justice League. He said he needed more help protecting the Earth. So you might truly say he was the Father of the League.
That is how he relates to it an its members. Even though they are all friends, it’s demonstrated several times that Superman can never forget that he;s the mpst powerful, for better or for worse.
Unlike with Wonder Woman, Superman is someone we have to look at the background of before his character on the show will even make sense. Especially since its referred to several times.
Superman’s worst moments all have to do with Apokalips, if you’ve read my other superhero posts, you’ll know that that is the hellish planet Scott Free and Big Barda hail from.
The trouble is, the writers of JLU didn’t believe in making characters who could be stronger than the evil of Apokalips. Scott is the only one they ever let escape it without help, and that only because they couldn’t change too much about him. (And Scott actually had help originally, so his story got totally rewritten for that show.) Superman gets targeted by DArkseid after crossing the wrong person (I forget exactly who it was.) And brainwashed via machine into forgetting who he is and then attacking earth.
I hated that whole twist, but it creates his central conflict, so I ahve to include it. One cool thing about the whole mess was that Lois Lane, the one without powers or any notable fighting skills, was the one to snap him out of it. She keeps him grounded. (Honestly, it’s the best version of her I know of.) Other than that, the whole thing completely detrys Superman, and he has a hard time picking up the pieces.
This comes into play on the show many times. Darkseid is the one who can upset Superman’s self control (aside from Luthor.) The others have to hold him back from attacking. Batman gives him one hard hitting talk about getting over it. Deserved, I grant you, but as usual Batman has no tact whatsoever and its clear superman is sore and bitter about the whole thing. IT would be hard not to be, if you’ve never forgiven yourself for it, which he hasn’t.
We see in another episode that his greatest fear is losing control of his powers and destroying everything without being able to stop himself. Something I can relate to. Very much the Elsa-complex. And just like with her, superman only feel reassured when he lets someone who loves him reach out to him and help him bear the weight of his own powers.
I’ve heard that we are more afraid of our greatness, our glory, than we are of our weakness. It ain’t kryptonite that gives Kal-el nightmares.
MAybe we could all learn something from the way his friend help him wiht it. My only problem is that he never seems to be cured, which I think he could be. But notwithstanding, they were on the right track.
Some good things Superman does are also fatherly. He gives pep talks. He keeps the Leauge centered and focused, and whenever he cant ake a hit for is friends he does. HE’ll get in front of them to sheild them, or put him self first if they are falling hard, the best time was when he got Batman out of a burning watchtower in the nick of time. I love that scene because Superman is using his invulnralbily and speed without regret or thought of himslef. It’s pure.
No one is afraid of him most of the time, some jokes are made at his expense regarding how he can’t intimidate people like Batman can; but friends and enemies alike are terrified of him when he’s truly angry. Like most mild mannered people, when Superman gets ticked, he gets really ticked.
Even though he starts the league in order to have help, he has a hard time delegating to them. They feel like he doesn’t think they can take care of themselves.
One of the worst episodes (at least if you go by the hardest to watch) was “The Secret Society.” That was the one where the obligatory team split-up happened. The writers had the sense not to ever do this again, and the way they did it was completely annoying.
You’d really expect a team of adult superheroes to be more mature. Frankly, all their problems came out of nowhere. I never understood what Green Lantern was talking about for the first en minutes when he was laying out their problems.
But well-written or not, it did introduce some problems that came back in later episodes. One of them being Superman’s problem with letting other people be in danger.
If I had to say what the best thing about Superman was, I wouldn’t know how to answer. Or would I?
My favorite thing about him was that, except with his three most hated foes, Superman is a very merciful guy. He doesn’t hold grudges against anyone else, he expects the best from people. We never hear him knock any of his friends for being anything but less powerful than him–and not always right.
Superman got made into a complicated mix of proud and humble by the time the show ended, but over all, he’s likable. And he is the League’s fearless leader, and no one else could be like him.
All of them care about him deeply, as is shown in the episode “Hereafter.” And they share how he encouraged them, and set them all a good example. Because most of the time, his motives were pure, and his character more steady than the rest of them.
And I think that says it all.
This is pretty fun, I can’t wait till the next installment, and even if the J.L. isn’t your thing, I hope you’re enjoying this trip down memory lane with me.
Until next time–Natasha.