Clark Kent, Navy Cadet, Killer? Frank Miller's Superman Year One #2 Gets All Military On Your Ass

When superheroes were first introduced, they seemed happy to kill. Born of pulp fiction such as cowboys, detectives, sci-fi, it was the done thing. but as superheroes became more popular among kids, it became less of a done thing. and then no superhero killed, it was a moral code, that lasted until the late seventies and eighties when suddenly people wanted to be more realistic and that meant, it seemed, killing people. But because this was superhero comics, an ongoing serial form, they always came back.

But it meant you had strange anomalies, such as Captain America being a soldier fighting the Nazis in World War II – but not ever actually killing an enemy combatant. The Joker played up on Batman's lack of killing. And the hulk had do go through all manner of logistical hoops as to why no one had ever died in one of his rampages.

this has become more of an issue as superhero fiction has become more military in nature. Taking a lead from satires like Judge Dredd and The Authority, and then The Ultimates which was less satirical and more fetishistic, Marvel saw SHIELD play a more active role in superheroics, with the Civil War signing superheroes up to active duty. And the Marvel films, with Iron Man especially, made superheroics and military service synonymous. So that Marvel movies right now are a pretty good worldwide cultural advertisement for American military strength and morality.

It's in this kind of context that we see Frank Miller and John Romita tell the Superman: Year One story of the young Clark Kent signing up to join the Navy. Become a man. See the world. Leave your sweetheart at home and bone a mermaid, you know those classic stories.

Remember, he did once say of the Occupy Wall Street protestors.

Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy.

Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you've been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you've heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism.

And this enemy of mine – not of yours, apparently – must be getting a dark chuckle, if not an outright horselaugh – out of your vain, childish, self-destructive spectacle.

In the name of decency, go home to your parents, you losers. Go back to your mommas' basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft.

Or better yet, enlist for the real thing. Maybe our military could whip some of you into shape.

They might not let you babies keep your iPhones, though. Try to soldier on.


So, yes, we also get to see just how comfortable Superman is with shooting unnamed, faceless Islamic pirates/terrorists with the rest of his troop I mean, hasn't he read Holy Terror? And they may be just cadets but apparently they are all down for some serious secret wet work.

Wednesday Comics

Pop pop pop. So handy that they are all wearing scarves to cover their faces, even if after killing the whole crew, they have no reason to hide their faces. Makes them easier to kill that way, apparently.

Wednesday Comics

And while Clark is fine with his compatriots slotting repeat targets, he's not quite as able himself… still, at least he tried.

So no future for Clark Kent as a soldier, it'll have to be a mermaid consort instead.

(W) Frank Miller (A) Danny Miki (A/CA) John RomitaJr
Clark Kent's journey of self-discovery continues in the second installment of Frank Miller and John Romita Jr.'s remarkable reimagining of Superman's origin story. This chapter takes young Clark to the Pacific coast and beyond, as he discovers a place as sensational as he is…Atlantis! There he meets new people, finds love, clashes with gargantuan beasts and discovers the man he's meant to be.In Shops: Aug 21, 2019
SRP: $7.99

About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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