It's always a bit unsettling when your heroes reach a breaking point. Larger than life superheroes seem *larger than life* because they never get exasperated or let their spirit break. That's why we look up to them in the first place—it's what we all wish we could be like when times get tough. But Superman has always been, for me at least, a true inspiration in that no matter what he faced, he never lost sight of his morals, manners and love for life.
When I read the first issue of Brian Michael Bendis' THE MAN OF STEEL, I thought I had the overall story pegged from the start. And not going to lie, I felt pretty cocky about it too. We were obviously getting a tale told in two timelines that would eventually meet when new villain Rogol Zaar appeared in the present to kill Superman, thereby finally achieving his age-old plan of destroying all remnants of Kryptonian life. It all seemed so simple.
If you, like me, were wondering how they were going to level up the already complicated situation with Reign, it turns out the answer to that was found in the same place as her supposed salvation. This week's episode, "The Dark Side of the Moon," mainly set up what I'm guessing are going to be some huge moves in the last few episodes.
“It’s never as bad as it seems. You’re much stronger than you think you are. Trust me.”
Superman has always been my favorite character in fiction. When I was growing up I wanted to be him, and I thought that one day maybe I could be. People would always say the idea was ridiculous, “What?!? Superman?!? The all-powerful alien demi-god? Not a chance! How about Batman? If you worked really hard you could be Batman! He’s a human!”
There are so many iconic Superman supporting characters. Lois Lane always jumps to mind (and I’ll fight anyone who doesn’t agree that she is the most important female character to ever come out of DC…or any other comic book publisher, for that matter). What is interesting about a character of alien origin like Superman is that his supporting cast and crew expands beyond the other characters that inhabit Metropolis or the rest of the planet. And sometimes, they aren’t even human.
Considering how well we know the Man of Steel, it’s almost startling how little we know about Krypton. In fact, for many people, the beginning and end of their knowledge about Superman’s home planet is its destruction. They know how the people of Krypton died…but they have very little knowledge of how they actually lived.
Two episodes into Krypton, Syfy’s new Superman prequel, and you may think you know Nyssa-Vex. She’s the fifth daughter in the ruling House of Vex, is betrothed to Seg-El in a political move orchestrated by her father and is a master political manipulator. All of this is true, but if you think this means you know her, think again.
The truth is that you don’t yet know Nyssa at all.
It’s one of the most infamous relationships in all of comics, encompassing two diametrically opposed mindsets that have been in continual conflict throughout years of comics and across two blockbuster films. We’re talking about the relationship between Superman and General Zod—two Kryptonians with very different worldviews. It’s a conflict that has played out through generations of Els and Zods, long before the destruction of Krypton.
Chances are, even if you've somehow never read a comic, seen a movie, or watched a TV show about Superman, you probably still understand a thing or two about Kryptonite. It's one of the most well-known and recognizable minerals on the planet, despite being totally fictional, to the point that the word itself has been folded into pop culture, from song lyrics to idioms, and crossing genres, mediums and cultures.
In short, anybody who knows anything about Superman knows Kryptonite too, and everybody knows something about Superman.
For eighty years, Superman has been saving us. As our first comic book superhero, there’s arguably no one better at it. But what happens when Superman’s the one who needs to be saved?