Saturday, March 31, 2007

Review of the Forbidden Loves of Superman, By Johnathan

In reading tales concerning the life and times of the good ol' Man of Steel I've noticed something: Superman's love life is often pretty creepy. Now I'm not referring to the eternal distance that he maintains between himself and Lois Lane/ Lana Lang - that's just perplexing - and I'm not talking about the one time that he was willing to settle down being with a mermaid. I'm talking about how he keeps trying to make time with his relatives.

Now, I can kind of almost see the reasoning behind this tendency, from a writing standpoint. Pre-1985, Superman is ridiculously powerful - easily the strongest, most invulnerable dude in the DC Universe. For him to have anything approaching an equal relationship, power-wise, he'd pretty much have to date inside his family. This, however, does not make the concept any less creepy.

To show you precisely what i mean, here's some picture evidence.



Action Comics No. 289 is a real gem. It's given me material before and it will again. And why not? It's got a perfect Silver Age ridiculous plot:


Supergirl saw a movie about a sorrowful bachelor, which naturally gets her thinking about her cousin Kal-El - what if he never gets married? Basically, civilization as we know it would crumble. Supergirl decides to find a suitable dame for Superman, resulting in not a few hijinks - she tries Helen of Troy first, but Helen turns out to be something of a colossal wench, and so she's out. Then she tries to get him together with Saturn Woman of the grown-up Legion of Super-Heroes, but she turns out to have gotten married, so that plan is also out the window.

Finally, Supergirl confesses her worries to the big guy, which triggers possibly the most uncomfortable moment in comics history:

Sheesh! Aw, Superman... that's just, um... incredibly wrong. Look at how he's got her chin, and how close he's standing... he completely *wants* his fifteen-year old cousin. Not only that, but Supergirl can tell - check out the expression on her face - she's freaking out, probably because she remembers this incident.

So the justifiably-freaked-out Supergirl rushes off and finds somebody to take the bullet for her - her super-powered doppelganger on the planet Staryl.

Superman takes the bait, thereby making Luma Lynai Creepy Object of Desire No. 2: Someone who you're only after because they look just like an adult version of your teenaged cousin (who is Creepy Object of Desire No. 1). Despite this, they seem to get on well:




But it all ends in tears, in the good ole DC manner - Supes doesn't even think about staying on her planet (or visiting occasionally for some super-nookie, or trying to solve her problem, or anything else) , he goes home to hug Supergirl some more, and everything goes back to normal, except that the Man of Steel now creeps everyone out.

Not that he gives up, as seen in the very brief appearance of Creepy Object of Desire No. 3: Your cousin, just from another dimension.

See? He's totally folding under the mild flirtations handed out by his extra-dimensional cousin. Don't do it, man! Check the DNA!


No resistance to kryptonite, magic, or gettin' some. "Trophy room" my eye.

The No. 4 Creepy Object of Desire isn't really his fault, but it's still telling when a scene plays out like this:

A young man who has come to the future meets an attractive young lady who is wearing next to nothing...

He tries to impress her with a show of strength, they talk for a while. He's starting to feel pretty confident...

Wait for it...

And she's his descendant. Which probably messed up his libido for a while - maybe that's why he grew up to be the kind of guy who hits on fifteen-year olds that he's related to.

All in all: Bad form, Superman. Bad form.

NOT APPROVED.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ewwww...

That is just plain sick. Give me Captain America back!

rachelle said...

Man, I was really hoping that last girl was going to end up being a future version of Superman after the sex change. "Don't you know who I am, Superman? I'm you!"

To be fair to Superman, she was inappropriately dressed for meeting her ancestor.

I love "Hey, a girl!" Superman is so easily distracted.

Johnathan said...

I gotta say: if I ran into someone dressed like that I'd probably think "Hey, a girl!", too.

I mean, there's not much chance of thinking otherwise.

Jim Drew said...

Let's not forget Creepy Object of Desire No. 4-1/2: when the yummy babe who turns out to be your great-great-...-great-granddaughter turns out to actually have been a robot. (Albeit one sophisticated enough that Brainiac 5 could do surgery on it without being able to tell it wasn't human. That's pretty sophisticated.)

Johnathan said...

Yes, Retconnian technology is highly advanced.

Okay, I must admit that making Laurel Kent a Manhunter is possibly my favourite retcon, in that it was that or erase her from continuity (or something equally lame). For what it was it was quite well done.