Man of Steel

Writer Grant Morrison is wrapping up his run on ‘Batman’ this week, before devoting his energy to ‘Wonder Woman – Earth One’, but the scribe responsible for ‘All-Star Superman’ was questioned by USA Today regarding the recent cinematic hit Man of Steel and his reaction echoed those of many other classic Superman fans, like Mark Waid, who lambasted the brutal climax.

I kinda liked it and kinda didn’t, to be honest. I feel bad because I like (director) Zack Snyder and (writer) David Goyer, and (star) Henry Cavill was really good. But it felt like one of those ones where it’s like, “Bring on the second movie now that you’ve done this,” and I don’t need to see that as someone who knows all I know about Superman. For me, it was a bit “seen it before,” no matter how they tried to make it a little bit different. I’m more looking forward to the Dark Knight version of Superman, the next one, where hopefully it will have Lex Luthor and be some fantastic second act.

It’s a credible Superman for now. But I’m not sure about the killing thing. I don’t want to sound like some fuddy-duddy Silver Age apologist but I’ve noticed a lot recently of people saying Batman should kill the Joker and, yeah, Superman should kill, he should make the tough moral decisions we all have to make every day. I don’t know about you, but the last moral decision I made didn’t have anything to do with killing people. And I don’t think many of us ever have to make the decision whether or not to kill. In fact, the more you think about it, unless you’re in one of the Armed Forces, killing is illegal and immoral. Why would we want our superheroes to do that?

There is a certain demand for it, but I just keep wondering why people insist that this is the sort of thing we’d all do if we were in Superman’s place and had to make the tough decision and we’d kill Zod. Would we? Very few of us have ever killed anything. What is this weird bloodlust in watching our superheroes kill the villains?

Is Morrison onto something?  Is there something about our modern culture that calls for our super heroes to slay their foes?  Or at least to see the villains appear to die in some capacity, the way both Loki and The Red Skull seemed to drop off into nothingness?

Or on the flip side, are some people over simplifying the matter.  Henry Cavill’s Superman didn’t callously kill Zod and walk away.  He genuinely seemed agonized over the decision.  I don’t think anyone is casting Superman as The Punisher, going around and snuffing criminals out.

What do you think?  Do you agree with Morrison?  Or do you feel that times have changed and we need a slightly grittier Superman?  Comment below!