Reign of the Supermen #422: Superman of Earth-23

Source: Final Crisis #7 (2009), Action Comics vol.2 #9 (2012)
Type: Alternate EarthBefore he was elected, Barack Obama joked on TV that his father Jor-El sent him to Earth from a dying Krypton. In 2009, Grant Morrison turned him into Superman in a few panels of Final Crisis. This month, Morrison's Action Comics took a break from the New52 to tell a story of Earth-23, where that Superman hales from. Leaving Obama behind, he's President Calvin Ellis, ruling the free world by day from the Oval Office (or at least letting his Superman robots do it), and fighting bigger threats by night (it's always night somewhere, right?) as Superman from Fort Superman, facility run by a harnessed Brainiac computer. He might be immune to kryptonite, dresses kind of like the 90s Superboy (a change from Final Crisis where the suit was much closer to our Superman's), and regularly fights a version of Lex Luthor that stridently assures us he doesn't hate Superman because he's black. Morrison includes nods to the Silver Age, such as making Kalel hail from Vathlo Island on Krypton (the so-called "home of a highly-developed black race" according to the map in Superman #239), though sadly, we don't meet a black Lois Lane which would have been a natural (from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #106).

Why, after only 8 issues in the pipeline, did Morrison suddenly decide to do an Elseworlds story? Well, as discussed in last week's Reign, Action Comics #9 is a sort of meta-commentary on creators' rights and on a character's committee-influenced existence. It may have seemed appropriate NOT to use Siegel & Shuster's character in a story that in some way attacked DC's ownership and handling of their creation, though the New52 Superman is a few steps removed from the original, if perhaps not as much as Superman-23. Or as long as he's misbehaving, he might as well start telling his Multiverse stories, since it's obvious with Robinson launching Earth2 that DC is no longer keeping the Multiverse on hold for Morrison.

There was a certain debate last week in Reign's comments section as to what Morrison was really trying to say, and this part of the puzzle brings us no closer to a definite answer. In trying to keep it subtle so the overlords don't notice, he may just have muddled the message enough that we can't get a hold of it either.

7 comments:

snell said...

The real reason for the Elseworlds, methinks, is Rags Morales. Whenever Rags needs a break (#5, 6, 8) Morrison gives us a story that's a flashback, flash forward, or now a flashsideways.

For whatever reason, Morrison isn't doing "main" stories without Rags. So, 9 issues in, we have yet to see Grant's take on present-day nu 52 Superman. An odd thing...

Siskoid said...

To be fair, Superman's past is looking more interesting than his present, right now.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I'm curious as to how many readers expected nuSuperman to see Earth-23 Superman end up in the nu52 for a team-up (as I did). Of course, with the context of that issue, it couldn't be the case. Which does leave this as an Elseworlds story until we really do see E23 and nu52E together in one issue.

Upon first read, Seigel & Shuster came to mind, after your a column a week ago, I started thinking Grant was putting a bit of himself into the mix. Without knowing how much his ideas have been pushed aside...

Aside from Earth 2 changed, Before Watchmen affects Earth-4, and Multiversity might end up being changed to reflect how these worlds reflect the "nu" continuity. Which sounds stupid, reads stupid, but if ordained by committee, ah, who knows anymore?

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

@Snell, I wonder if the fact that Action is outselling Superman has anything to do with it. Because once he gets to Kryptonian Action Armor Superman, there's no going back.

Martin Gray said...

I really don't understand why Rags is lead artist, when he does so few issues. Get a fast guy!

Having said that, I've loved the side stories ...

NES Boy said...

Even though this post is a few years old, I'd like to pop in and say that Earth-23 Superman is returning in Morrison's Multiversity series.

Siskoid said...

That he will! Check out my Multiversity posts (last few and next days) for more!

 

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