Today sees the publication of Superman #28 by Peter J Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Scott Godlewski and Gabe Eltreb, and it is a "very special episode of Superman". Entitled Independence Day and originally intended to be published last month closer to, you know, Independence Day, it sees Clark Kent, Lois Lane and Jonathan Kent visiting Washington DC, to wallow in the history of America while managing not to mention slavery, from the Civil War through to Vietnam. It is mawkish as all hell, but it ends with something straight out of an EC Comic.
There will be some serious spoilers for this comic. I'd obviously recommend reading it first. So we get massive speech balloon exposition….
Major American exceptionalist platitudes which hold true in all areas of life…
… you know, unless you are Orson Scott Card. And then the tale of a wounded soldier who fought in the Civil War. And, yes, it's a moving one, as the death of any young person persuaded to fight, to lay down their life may be, and given a richer story, of being wounded, but then taken by the elements.
It's a place and a time for this family to gather and commemorate, and they invite the Kents to join them. It's a poignant moment of reaching out, of a welcoming family. So what does Superman go and do? Well, he has to spoil it all obviously.
First, by finding the dead body using his X-Ray vision…
And then, and this is when I kinda lost it, wrapping the skeleton in the American flag (presumably after drying it out with his heat vision)…
…and dumping the body on the family's doorstep. Sadly we don't get to see the next scene of the family screaming in terror and dread at a skeleton on their garden furniture, or having to deal with the police and explaining all this with a note that anyone could read and probably wouldn't be believed, everyone being hauled down to the police station for questioning, the resulting trauma from encountering a skeleton wrapped in the stars and stripes, the destruction of a long standing family tradition now transformed into a day of horror, the heart attack of the oldest family member, and the youngest being being alienated, driven away and eventually being converted to terrorism and blowing up various monuments in Washington DC.
Maybe we'll get to that in the next issue.
There's a great website called Superdickery that has isolated Superman (and other) panels and covers, often meant to be incongruous and surprising then later revealed to be something else, but taken as a whole prove that Superman is a dick. Well, there's no pull-back-and-reveal for this one. This is the whole issue. He may have been meaning to do the right thing, but damn. Superman? Stop dropping desiccated corpses of people's loved ones on people's properties on the fourth (oka, by then the fifth) of July and then flying off without a word.
Unless of course, that truly is the American Way.
Superman #38 is published by DC Comics today.