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I'm sorry for talking about Batman in a Superman post...

I'm sorry if this is a little more opinion then reflection on the readings (which I did do!)...

Soooo... Superman has never been one of my favorite superheroes. It's not that I have any particular problem with him, I was just always more attracted to heroes like the X-Men and Batman who were strong and brave, but also very human and inherently flawed. Batman is dark and brooding and despite Bruce Wayne's charm and charisma, there's always the undeniable sense of a shadow lurking behind the facade.

Superman, on the other hand, is clean-cut and outstanding in every possible way. Not only does he have powers, but he's the model of what a "good man" should be. Batman does what Superman does, but without any powers and while also dealing with a very daunting and traumatic past. Does this mean that Bruce Wayne can't be a good man too...?

When I think about Superman as Clark Kent, I feel like he's more of an imposter then a savior. I can't help remembering that little speech that Bill made at the end of Kill Bill 2 about how Superman is the best hero because he was born extraordinary, and yet also the weakest because, despite his tremendous ability, he lives as a boring, puny human... by choice! I mean, I get the whole thing about protecting his parents and preserving his ability to live among the people that he needs to save, but come on. Did his other self have to be that bland?

Aside from the fact that Superman is an alien (which is definitely a big deal and something that could prove to be mindboggling in itself), there's nothing particularly interesting about him. He's an alien who pretends to be a man, and an unremarkable one at that. At least Bruce Wayne puts on a good show. Superman is a talented actor as well, certainly, but even when he's not acting, he still maintains that perfect goldenboy image and adheres to the same ideals of an almost religious moral principle. His methods aren't debatable, he isn't scrutinized by the law, and he isn't considered a "menace" by some. Everything is done the "right" way and there's never a blemish - Superman is untouchable.

I guess maybe that was what we needed as a country at the time of his creation, but now it all just seems a little too... smooth and shiny, if that makes sense. It's just too perfect.

I have to say though, despite all my griping (and obvious Batman bias :)), I do have a lot of admiration for that glorious, "shining" mythology that surrounds Superman and all of the wonder and awe he instilled in people. He really is the miraculous savior that so many Americans identify with and, through his development and position as one of "us," he was able to connect with Americans in a way that no hero has or may ever be able to again. The infallible goodness endures, even when we feel like we've outgrown it.


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