Reign of the Supermen #324: Jordan Elliot

Source: Action Comics #583 (1986)
Type: The real deal (since retconned... twice!)We just saw one Superman end and another begin. Not my first time, I have to admit. Back in 1986, when I was a young pup of 15 , the Superman whose adventures had been unbroken since 1938 came to an end under the pen of one Alan Moore. You may have heard of him. In fact, there's quite a good chance you will have read "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" if not then, in some collection later on.

Chris Roberson and Paul Cornell left the 1986-2011 Superman in open-ended mode, allowing us to believe his marriage to Lois will continue and deepen, and his legacy in the DC Universe lead to the great things heralded by the Superman Squad and DC One Million. Not so Alan Moore, whose relentless deconstructionist logic put an end to the Man of Steel, not in an epic big bang, but in a mundane, we've-all-got-to-grow-up-sometime, anticlimax of middle-aged domestication. Over the course of two issues, Moore destroys iconic elements surrounding Superman one after the other, either corrupting or killing off characters, simultaneously revealing an inherent silliness. Bizarro, Clark Kent, Toy-Man, Prankster, Luthor, Brainiac, Krypto, Jimmy, Lana, Mr. Mxyzptlk, and finally, Superman himself, who after committing murder (well... execution), submits himself to Powerlessness by Gold Kryptonite.
And having put away all his toys - the living action figures of heroic friends and evil enemies, the secret identity, the Fortress of Solitude playset, the childhood dog, the refusal to marry Lois Lane, and the super-powers - becomes a husband to Lois and a father to their son, Jonathan. It's the Baby Boomer story, isn't it?

13 comments:

Jayunderscorezero said...

Wow, that is the most downbeat review of WHTTMOS I've ever read. :p

Siskoid said...

Hahaha!

Well the damn thing IS depressing!Everyone dies! Violently!

Matthew Turnage said...

Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow lost a little luster for me once I read Superfolks and realized how much Alan Moore borrowed from it. Still, I'd have to rate it as one of my favorite Superman stories. It is depressing, but it has some nice emotional moments and a fairly upbeat ending.

The final splash page of Superman #423 is one of my all time favorites.

Siskoid said...

It does have some powerful moments. I think what's actually depressing isn't so much the mayhem as it is the message that at some point, you have to grow up and leave childish things behind. A message my generation pretty much rejected.

Delta said...

I think that this observation is going to stick with me:

"... mundane, we've-all-got-to-grow-up-sometime, anticlimax of middle-aged domestication... It's the Baby Boomer story, isn't it?... A message my generation pretty much rejected."

Siskoid said...

In a good way, I hope!

rob! said...

That scene with Krypto and Metallo chokes me up every time. Seriously.

chiasaur11 said...

Thinking of Lewis's line?

What was it again, "When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."

Siskoid said...

No allusion escapes you, sir!

Siskoid said...

You mean the Kryptonite Man, don't you?

rob! said...

Er, yes, Kryptonite Man.

Also, that shot of Superman before he walks into the gold K chamber. Even tho its made up, within the context of the story, I find its still very powerful--this is the Superman we all know, walking into that goodnight.

BBally81 said...

Alan Moore's story just doesn't succeed as a "final" Superman story for me and is one of the reasons why I find it overrated. I take Maggin's possible future stories like Luthor's Gift as the final Pre-Crisis story over Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow any day.

Siskoid said...

I don't disagree. The concepts used are Silver Age bright and silly, but the plot is dark and depressing.

The Silver/Bronze Age Superman's definite ending would be more like what Roberson gave the post-Crisis Superman before the New52 kicked in, or else All-Star Superman's fate.

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (74) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (25) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (53) Aquaman (71) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (31) Avengers (59) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (680) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (134) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (61) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (19) Buffy (6) Canada (71) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (56) Cat (156) CCGs (59) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3986) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (78) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (67) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1685) Doom Patrol (22) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (56) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (86) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (769) Geeks Anonymous (47) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (61) Godzilla (53) Golden Age (440) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (87) Hawkman (40) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (241) House of Mystery (16) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (34) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (50) Jack Kirby (87) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (97) JSA (26) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (100) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (130) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (6) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (9) Memes (39) Memorable Moments (35) Metal Men (5) Metamorpho (65) Millennium (72) Mini-Comics (5) Monday Morning Macking (7) Movies (457) Mr. Terrific (6) Music (73) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (9) Nightmare Fuel (22) Number Ones (60) Obituaries (42) oHOTmu OR NOT? (79) Old52 (12) One Panel (300) Outsiders (166) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (77) Podcast (498) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (16) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (540) Sandman (23) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (70) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (371) Siskoid as Editor (35) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (21) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (13) Star Trek (1725) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (39) Supergirl (90) Superman (1062) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (24) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (85) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (62) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (65) Turnarounds (7) TV (193) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (211) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (84) X-Files (246) X-Men (103) Zero Hour Strikes (27) Zine (5)