Thursday, September 20, 2012

Battle of the Super-Origins: Supporting Superheroes

Today’s post will stay within the spirit of the week and concentrate on the other superheroes that showed up in these origins. Yeah, I know that Birthright had no other heroes, but's my show! So, let’s start off with that one hero who everyone loves for some reason: The Rick James-Slappin’ Batman!

MoS – The only superhero who shows up here is Batman. Issue three of the book is pretty much the first meeting between Batman and Superman. It's kind of an important meeting because at this time, this universe was a new continuity. Things were a little different here. In the Pre-Crisis universe, they were buddies.  Here, the two aren’t “chums” and it really shows. Superman doesn’t like Batman’s style or the way he treats Gotham.  Over the issue, things do change between the two and the issue ends with them having some sort of respect for one another.
Batman: A complicated man who no one understands. 

With Birthright, there are no other superheroes. To the book’s credit, it didn’t need any other superheroes. It was all "The Clark and Lex Show."

In Secret Origin, we have the Legion of Superheroes in the second issue. After Clark pretty much severs his friendships with Pete and Lana, the LoS show up. They wanted to see Clark because he was their hero. After a little bit of conversation,  Clark pleads with them to take him to the future. They do take him and  in the future, we have a little battle with some xenophobes. We also get to see some of the other founding members like Brainiac 5 Phantom Lass (?). After all of this, they take Clark back and set up (or reset) this old plot thread. I could also throw Krypto in here, but he really just makes a cameo at the end of issue two.

In the year 3000...fanboyism will go too far. 

In the Nu52 origin, we get the new version of Steel and the Legion of Superheroes. John Henry Irons is seen working for the government on the “Steel Soldier” program. When he finds out that Luthor is torturing Superman, he quits the program. He soon comes to the aide of Superman and mankind when the Collector begins his attack. He puts on his prototype suit and even gets to put down Metal-Zero for a second. The Legion actually shows up during the two-parter involving Superman’s rocket. That whole story is pretty out there, so I’ll just say that older versions of the main three show up with a future Superman and kick some butt. We also see their younger selves interact with a Young Clark in a couple of flashbacks.

This is probably a better meeting than in Secret Origin.

With all of that being said, which version has the best supporting hero/heroes? I do have to say that this was a little tough to choose. As I said before, Birthright has no other heroes and it doesn’t need them. With the Nu52 origin, we get a little more of variety. Steel showing up in the origin is pretty cool, but we really don’t see him and Superman interact that much if at all. I do think it’s Superman’s action that inspires John to use his suit though.  The Legion in Nu52 is cool too, but their story and reason for being there doesn’t do much for me in terms of the origin. It has to do with the overall story that Morrison is telling in his run on the book. I will be going into all of that  later in the Story section.
"He was turned to steel In the great magnetic field!"  

So it comes down to MoS and Secret Origin. Which one has the better supporting heroes? On the one hand, it’s Batman. On the other hand, it’s the Legion of Superheroes. They both add something and interact with Clark in a big way.  In Secret Origin, Clark feels alone and misunderstood. He can’t be honest with his “normal” friends. The Legion is pretty much the answer to Clark’s prayers. They’re his age and they’re aliens with powers just like he is. Through them, Clark becomes more accepting of his powers and even starts to accept the "superhero" lifestyle more.We also get a couple of funny moments from other members like Brainac 5 and Triplet Girl. 

With MoS, it’s a little different. Here, Superman runs into Batman in Gotham City and pretty much treats him as a crazed vigilante. There’s kind of a “good cop/bad cop” vibe to it all. Also, Batman has a bomb that’ll go off if Superman touches him... Friendships are weird sometimes. Anyway, the two work through their issues with each other and beat Magpie. We have Superman working with someone who goes by his own rule of law. Does Superman learn anything from this encounter? Well, I guess he learns that not all heroes are like him and that they have a right to fight injustice. 
In conclusion, I’m going with MoS with this one. Why?  Simple: Batman…and something that’s a little different. The whole story with “The World’s Finest” is a good one. It has these two meeting for the first time. Plus, I like this story over the Legion’s part of the story. Now this doesn’t mean I don’t like what Johns did in Secret Origin. Seeing Clark's meeting with the Legion  really interesting.  I just like what was done in MoS better and I’m more of a shipper for any Superman/Batman team-up. So the point goes to MoS.

I don't think he's thinking about me. 

Score tally:
Man of Steel (MoS): 2
Superman Birthright : 1
Superman Secret Origin : 1
Superman and the Men of Steel (...Nu52): 2

Next time was going to be a look at the rest of the supporting characters, but I decided to hold off that one for later. Next time, it's Lois Lane. Place your bets! 


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