Monday, October 15, 2012

Battle of the Super-Origins: Superman - Part 2

The Reporter
In this section, I’m going to look at the reporting side of Clark. It’s something that has been with the character since the beginning. All of these versions became reporters for a reason. For MoS Clark, he did it get to the first word on trouble. It’s a lot like how it was in the Golden Age. Since technology has stepped up during that time, there had to be another reason. With Birthright Clark and Nu52 Clark, they became reporters because they liked it. It's shown in their respective origins. Secret Origin Clark’s reason is vague and not mentioned, but I can guess it’s because he likes journalism as well. 

The ways they get and do their respective jobs is also pretty different. In Birthright, we see Clark actually do reporting in the field during his travels. He’s interviewing government officials and viewing all sorts of events.  In Metropolis, we get to see the interview between Clark and Perry. Clark tries to use the disguise to get the job, but it isn’t working. So, he goes into “Super-Clark” mode…and saves Perry from getting shot from those robocopters. Nice guy, that Clark Kent. Another big moment is where Clark is pretty much forced to report about Lex’s research on Superman. That move, as well as Luthor, makes the city really freaked about Superman. 

Man, Clark flipped switches quick!

We don’t see Clark’s interview in Secret Origin. It’s a lot like how it was in the first Superman movie. He just shows up and that’s about it. Now that’s an interview I really wanted to see! He also doesn’t do much reporting here. He does do something noteworthy towards the end. It’s mentioned that he got the public’s reaction to the big battle at the end between Superman, the military, and Metallo.

So he does work at the Daily Planet!

In the Nu52, we find out that Clark is actually working for the Daily Star, another newspaper business. We also find out that he got his job by reporting on the corruption of Metropolis on a blog…I could do that! Anyway, he’s also more of a social crusader here, which I really like. When news of this new continuity was made public, Morrison said that he wanted to make Clark Kent the voice of the people or something like that. It’s cool because that makes Clark as much as a hero as Superman. One fights with words while the other fights with fists. He even has in own informant in Icarus aka Lex Luthor... now that's funny. 

Dang! They really did mess Clark up the second issue! Look at that upper panel!

His moment comes when Sergeant Casey and some cops to over to his apartment to essentially shut him up. They don’t rough him up or anything, they just tell him to stop writing articles on Glenmorgan. He stands his ground with the cops, and they leave. He does all this in boxers no less. At the end of the story, Clark even gets one of his articles on Glenmorgan’s downfall printed on the front page of the Daily Star. 

Then, we get to Byrne’s version. It’s not a bad version especially when you get into his run, but there’s the whole “I got my job by reporting on myself" thing. It is a little dishonest when you think about it. It’s true that it was like this back in the day, but it still just feels off. Then, there’s the whole “interview with Lois” thing. Lois did have a right to be ticked at Clark. I mean, she interviewed him and he in turn delivers the same story to Perry!
Superman fights for truth, justice, and an American way.
Clark Kent needs a job to pay off all of those accumulated student loans.

Now there is a rational explanation for this. Clark didn’t expect to get interviewed by Lois and he probably contacted Perry about his "one-on-one interview" in advance. You probably don’t want to go to an interview for a job and say “Yeah…well, I couldn’t get Superman to stop for an interview. Sorry. I do have this amazing story on a former thespian though!” Yeah, I’m bringing up how Clark got his job at the Daily Planet on Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman. I bring it up because it was actually better than this.

So which one do I think is better? I have to go with the Nu52 version here but Birthright is not far off. We actually get to see Clark do something pretty awesome in the realm of reporting.  In one book, he’s reporting on corruption. In another one, he’s reporting on all sorts of things around the world. Johns didn’t go into the reporting side of Clark and that kind of sucks. It’s really the only aspect of Clark he really didn’t touch on in Secret Origin. Byrne’s version isn’t bad, but this is one area of the story that feels dated and kind of makes Clark seem like a jerk. And now, it’s time to look at the man in the city.

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