Sunday, September 9, 2012

Battle of the Super-Origins: The Kents

This week’s posts will look at the both sets of parents. Today, I will be looking at the adoptees of the origins: John and Martha Kent. I’ll be calling them Pa and Ma for short. 

MoS - The Kents found Clark during a snowstorm. To derail the fact that they found Clark in a ship, they said that Martha had him during the snowstorm. Years later, Pa tells Clark about the secret in order to have him use his power more responsibly. A few more years later, Clark comes back to the farm confused because he outed himself in Metropolis. They help him come up with the two identities of Superman and “Clark Kent: Mild-mannered Reporter." In part 6, Clark goes back to Smallville to visit the family. They don’t do too much here, but Pa does help out Clark when “Ghost Jor-El” attacks him.

Birthright – While on his adventures, Clark keeps in contact with Ma and Pa. After he leaves Africa, he heads back to Smallville to get some help from the two. He tells them that he wants to use his powers in the open but needs help in do so. Ma is ecstatic about it, but Pa is not. It’s unclear at first, but Pa feels that Clark letting go of the Kent name. Plus, his relationship with Clark feels off. He and Clark do settle things though. Ma and Clark create the suit by using images from the "Kryptonian iPad." They even help him with his mild-mannered identity by telling him what to wear and giving him a book on acting. Pa then lends Clark an important piece: the glasses. In Metropolis, Clark does stay in contact with Ma via email. After Lex installs that K-field in Metropolis, Clark heads back to Smallville to talk to the parents about the whole situation.

Secret Origin – When Clark begins to really develop his powers in ways that are freaking him out, The Kents tell Clark of his alien heritage. Clark is upset about the news, but Pa consoles him. By using images from the crystals on the ship, Ma is able to create the suit. The two decide that Clark should try to embrace his heritage by giving him the suit. The Kents are pretty much there during the second issue talking to Clark. They are seen later in flashbacks to before Clark leaves Smallville.

This is one of the best moments from this book. 

Nu52 – By the time Clark makes it to Metropolis, the Kents are already dead.  Ma’s not there to make the costume this time. We do see them in the fifth and sixth issues of the origin. We see them in flashbacks and in the backups. We see them get married and deal with trying to have a child via invirtro fertilization and adoption. We then see them find Clark’s ship and come up with a surprising way to distract the military. Finally, we see them raising up Clark as their own. We also see Pa’s death from a heart attack.

Johnathan Kent: Father of the year!

So which version of the Kents is the best? I have no clue. They all raised Clark up well. They raised him up so well he decided to do something with those abilities of his. The only major differences between these four versions are the age and some attitudes. The MoS Kents and SSO Kents are older while the other versions seem younger like Clark’s parents on the tv show Smallville. Other differences are where Pa Kent is sometimes portrayed. In Birthright, he doesn’t want Clark to embrace his other side. In others, he wants Clark to use his abilities to help people. You know it’s bad when your father has to come get you from a football game and scold you for being Peyton Manning.

Another major difference between the four is really between the Nu52 version and the others. Here, the Kents are dead. Pa died of a heart attack and Ma’s cause of death is unknown. Still, they do influence Clark in becoming Superman. On his death bed, Pa gives Clark a speech about how he could use his powers to help folk. We even see that this version of Pa has a wicked sense of humor. I think I see where this version of Superman got all of that bravado from. The ones who seem to be more a part of Clark’s life are the MoS Kents. This version of Clark has been Superman longer than the rest and still has time to come home and visit his folks. Aw.

So, which one is the best? They’re all good! I really wanted to go all "Oprah" on this part and give each book a point, but that wouldn't be fair, would it? I'm supposed to choose something, so I decided to go with the Kents from MoS. They really do help Clark become the man we know him. We especially see Pa get on him about not using his powers for the betterment of mankind.

Now this doesn't mean I don't like the other versions. All of these versions add something different.
 Pa’s attitude in Birthright is a little jarring, but it’s understandable when we find out what’s wrong. Afterwards, he’s cool. In the Nu52 origin, we see the Kents deal with life pre-Clark. With Secret Origin, we see them deal with Clark in his teen years. With the rest, we see the Kents deal with him in the adult years. It’s all good with the Kents. Still,  the point goes to MoS. Plus, you have to admit it's awesome when Pa kicks "Ghost Jor-El's" butt.

Score tally:
Man of Steel (MoS): 1
Superman Birthright : 1
Superman Secret Origin : 0
Superman and the Men of Steel (...Nu52): 1


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