April 16, 2012
You will believe a man can... walk, I guess.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Let's talk for a second about a good writer: specifically, J. Michael Straczynski, or JMS.
(Cut to footage of Babylon 5)
Linkara (v/o): JMS is responsible for one of the greatest science-fiction TV series ever, Babylon 5. If you haven't seen it, Babylon 5 is a glorious space opera that touches on themes of war, loss, racism, pain, honor, faith and a load of other stuff. It's worth your time to watch is what I'm saying. And of course, JMS has done a lot of comic book work, too.
(Cut to a shot of the cover of "Amazing Spider-Man #35")
Linkara (v/o): In particular, he was the writer of "Amazing Spider-Man" from 2001 to 2007, finally leaving the series after producing...
(Cut to a shot of... "One More Day", followed by the sound of the infamous Psycho strings)
Linkara: (through gritted teeth) Yeah, that! Let's talk about that for a second, shall we?
(Cut to a montage of shots of "One More Day")
Linkara (v/o): There's a misconception about JMS and "One More Day". You see, he wanted his name taken off of the last two issues of it. People have interpreted this to mean that he thought that the two shouldn't get separated, or that Mephisto shouldn't have been involved. Not so. His objection was the execution of what happened after the story. He had written up a detailed plan of everything that the deal with Mephisto had changed, what wasn't in continuity anymore and was, including the idea that Gwen Stacy was alive again, and he wanted this to be printed after the book so fans could be told all this, since, of course, there are fans who have been reading the book for literally decades who would want to know this stuff. Marvel Editorial, however, declared in response that "it's magic, we don't have to explain it", believing that they should play fast and loose with continuity. He still wrote it. He still supported the retcon. He still supported Mephisto. Was it his idea? Eh, probably not, but it still happened. Every writer makes bad stories from time to time.
Linkara: Which brings us to today's kindling. After he left "Amazing Spider-Man", JMS worked on "Thor" for a bit, but was irritated by editorial interference and left Marvel entirely to go over to DC.
(Shots of JMS' work at DC are shown)
Linkara (v/o): He was handed two ongoing series: "Superman" and "Wonder Woman". I have not read his "Wonder Woman" run, primarily because the preview pages for it and the dopey costume made it clear that he would not be writing the character I was interested in reading, that he was yet another writer looking to "reinvent" Wonder Woman, an idea that I think has worked all of once or twice in the TEN TIMES it's been tried before. Is this one any good? Eh, I've heard mixed feelings from others about it, some loving it, others calling it crap. I might get to it someday, but in the meantime, we have his "Superman" run. Oh, boy, do we have his "Superman" run. Bear with me, we've got a lot to go over here.
TIME 4 BACKSTORY
Linkara (v/o): Geoff Johns had a run on Action Comics that reintroduced a lot of Superman's villains, including Brainiac. It was retconned that every time Superman had fought Brainiac before... Uh, for those who don't know, Brainiac is a robot obsessed with collecting information and miniaturizing cities into bottles. Comics are weird. It was just a probe or some other similar thing and not the real one. In this case, influenced by the Silver Age version of Brainiac, it turned out that the android had a Kryptonian city called Kandor in one of his bottles. That's right, an entire city full of Superman's people, all alive and well. This led to the storyline called "New Krypton", wherein the city was restored to normal size, and eventually, the Kryptonians left Earth, created their own world on the opposite side of the Earth in the solar system, and stayed there for about a year in real time. Now, the thing about a storyline like this is that you know it's going to end with all the Kryptonians either dead or trapped in the Phantom Zone or something. It's expected. After all, one of Superman's taglines is that he's the last son of Krypton, a title that's kind of meaningless when there are about 100,000 of them running around. No one assumes it's going to be a permanent change unless it's something that catches on in culture outside of comic books, which something like this would not. As such, a story like this is more just a "what would happen" kind of deal, in which the goal is just to tell good stories with the concept until its eventual conclusion. The ending of the storyline also had mixed reactions, with lots of death and destruction for both humans and Kryptonians, and pretty much all surviving Kryptonians sent to the Phantom Zone. JMS' idea as the follow-up to this would be to have Superman go on a walk across America to rekindle his connection, especially in light of everything that happened in the storyline and people potentially not trusting him anymore.
Linkara: Some people have said that this idea is lame and stupid, but personally, I thought it had potentially. JMS explored the idea of ("finger quotes") "walkabout" on Babylon 5, and after a big, cataclysmic event like the "New Krypton" stuff, something more down to Earth is probably warranted. What doesn't work is the execution.
Linkara (v/o): And it's off to a bad start right away, with the incident that inspired this in "Superman #700". Superman is giving a press conference about reconstruction efforts after what went down, when all of a sudden, a random woman goes up to our hero and slaps him. Why? Because while he was away, saving the Earth for the kajillionth time, her husband had inoperable cancer, but (mocking voice) Superman would have been able to save him by using X-ray and heat vision to remove the tumor without damaging the surrounding area!
Linkara: Lady, I'm sure you're just grieving and feeling really bad about your husband's death, but, uh... YOU'RE A SELFISH IDIOT!!
Linkara (v/o): Has Superman ever demonstrated this ability before? Does he have advanced medical training that would have allowed this to work? As far as I know, he doesn't! If he did, he'd probably be volunteering this ability to as many people as he could! Also, how the hell were you planning on contacting him, lady? As far as I know, Superman doesn't have a forwarding address for this kind of thing. And yeah, I called you selfish! Thousands of people DIED during the event of "New Krypton", but suddenly, YOUR pain, YOUR loss is somehow more SPECIAL than EVERYBODY else's! SCREW YOU! But no, this feeble event is what starts Superman on the path to walking across America – NOT the loss of thousands of his people, NOT the tragedy of all the humans who were killed! This idiotic woman who can't see the passing of her husband by forces outside of Superman's control! WHAT... A... LOAD!!
Linkara: The "New Krypton" story, for all its good and bad, is definitely worth a look in my opinion. It's still recent enough that you should be able to find trades, and you can see the order of the series through Wikipedia. It's also available for digital download via Comixology, so there are a couple of ways to read it. In the meantime, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Superman #701" and see what the heck's wrong with this book.
(The title sequence plays, followed by the title card for this episode, set to "I'm No Superman" by Lazlo Bane; cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): I'm reading from a trade, but the trade uses the cover from "701" for it, so we'll take a look. Simply put, it's awesome! The art here is simple, but conveys its meaning well, putting tons of ordinary and different-looking people inside the red areas of the Superman shield to represent that he stands for all people, that he represents everyone. Plus, the cover can apply to the issue itself, too, what the walking Superman's doing on the cover. And since he's walking across the country, this could also serve to mean that these are all the people in the U.S.A. Good stuff.
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open in Philadelphia – which, come to think of it, I believe is the first time we've ever began a comic in Philadelphia – where a guy is trying to fix his truck. More of his friends in the neighborhood come by to offer advice about it, annoying him. However, one person in silhouette arrives and tells him it's the fuel line.
Guy with truck: And just what makes you so sure it's the freaking fuel line?
(The person in silhouette is revealed as...)
Superman: Trust me. I'm sure.
Linkara: (as Superman) I am the one who cut it, after all.
Linkara (v/o): So, yeah, we just began this "epic journey", and the first thing he did was... identify a car problem.
(The Superman logo appears and the theme from the Superman movie plays)
Linkara (v/o): (dramatically) Superman: faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, can identify auto repair issues in less than a minute!
Linkara: I'd joke, but this is actually one of the few things about this comic that works.
Linkara (v/o): Superman helping somebody out with their everyday problems? Sure, this is a staple of the character: he'll confront problems big and large.
(Editor's note: "Big and SMALL. Editing your script? What's that?")
Linkara (v/o): It's why he's a popular guy in the DC Universe; that he feels that nobody is "beneath him". Everybody needs a little help once in a while, even if it's something small. The conflict of this character is how much should he help without coming off like a god and whatnot. Anyway, he walks off when he spots a group of reporters running after him.
Reporter 1: So what're you doing here, Superman?
Reporter 1: I can see that, but--
Reporter 2: So why aren't you flying?
Superman: I'm not flying because I'm walking. Are you sure you're a reporter?
Linkara: (as reporter) I'm pretty sure. Are you sure that you're not a rude jerk just because I asked a legitimate question about how unusual this activity is for you?
Reporter 2: Yeah, but where are you going?
Superman: That way.
Reporter 2: And then?
Superman: I'll know when I get there.
(Again, the Superman logo appears and the Superman theme plays)
Linkara (v/o): (dramatically) Superman: able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, able to wander aimlessly without purpose or goal! (normal) The reporters ask some more questions about this.
Reporter 3: This isn't a secret mission?
Linkara: (as Superman) And if this was a secret mission, why would I tell you that it's a secret mission?
Linkara (v/o): One reporter steps up and shoves his microphone in Superman's face, declaring...
Reporter 4: I think you've lost your powers.
Reporter 4: I don't think you can fly.
Superman: I can. For this moment, I simply choose not to.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of The Simpsons, showing Marge and the kids in the Middle East)
Bart Simpson: (seeing a contortionist walk away on his ears) I can do that, but I don't wanna.
(Back to the comic again)
Reporter 4: Then I simply choose to call you a liar.
Superman: I don't lie.
Reporter 4: Everybody lies. You're no different.
Superman: Would you like to repeat that at ten-thousand feet?
Reporter 4: Sure, I'll call your bluff, I--
Linkara (v/o): Aaand Superman proceeds to grab the guy and fly him up 10,000 feet in the air and then return him a second later, where he no doubt died because of the sudden acceleration, stopping, and return in the opposite direction.
Linkara: I'm sure you could've proven your point by just, you know, floating ten inches off the ground and then going back again, but nah, being a dick shows how much people can trust you.
Linkara (v/o): No apology, no acknowledgement of what he did; Superman just walks off. Ho! Now that he's been an asshole to some random guy, it's time for him to be an asshole to his wife. Lois drops by and asks him if he's really going to be doing this, which he confirms. She says she got a call from him about this, but did they ever have an actual conversation about this? THE TWO ARE MARRIED! THIS IS THE WOMAN HE LOVES AND LIVES WITH! What the hell is she supposed to think about this?! The reporters catch up to him again, and we have more questions, like what he'll do if there's a crisis where he's needed.
Superman: If there is, I'll deal with it and come back, pick up where I left off...
Reporter 1: How long you gonna keep walking?
Reporter 2: Where are you going?
Linkara: You know, you probably could've avoided having the reporters constantly asking you the same questions over and over if you had, I don't know, held a press conference, announced that you were doing this, and then answered questions then. (pause) You know, come to think of it, if he didn't announce this, how did the reporters know where he was? For all ordinary people knew, it was just some guy in a Superman suit walking along the road.
Linkara (v/o): Two hours later, he stops at a diner, and Peter Parker is outside calling his bosses. No, seriously, it's Peter Parker. Cute little cameo, though, considering Peter Parker is a photographer and not a reporter, I don't know what's going on.
Peter: (on his phone) What's he doing? He's not doing anything. He's having lunch in a diner. No, I don't know what he's having.
Linkara: (as Peter, pretending to talk on a phone) I tried to ask the waitress, but I don't think English is her first language.
(Cut to a clip of the diner scene in Birdemic: Shock and Terror)
Waitress: Here is the menu. (gives it to Rod)
Rod: Thank you.
Waitress: I'll be right back with you.
(Cut back to the comic)
Peter: This is nuts, you can't make a story about a guy walking down a street
Linkara (v/o): Preemptively trying to stop the naysayers of this concept, JMS? I would just like to point out that a reporter can make a story out of that. They can make a story out of anything, because news is just identifying what's going on! They can have a column, like "Super Tracking" or something, where reporters talk about who Superman encountered, what he did, interviews with people in the area. I mean, I know Peter Parker can be an idiot, but not that much of an idiot! So, Superman is at the counter of the diner, reading from the menu, hoping to order a Philly cheese steak sandwich. We see that Superman does keep actual money on hand in a pocket on the inside of his cape, which I like because it shows practicality in the outfit, though since I'm pretty sure Superman still has fingerprints, I'm worried about that potentially compromising his secret identity. He realizes that he doesn't have enough money to pay, and the diner waitress says he doesn't have to, but he insists on paying.
Waitress: Hey, I'm always telling Ted to clean out the storeroom, but that's way below your--
Superman: No, it's not.
Linkara (v/o): And thus, Superman fixes up the storeroom in less than a second. Again, I like it because he once again shows no problem is "beneath" him, even though he only did it so he could afford a sandwich.
Waitress: One Philly cheese steak sandwich coming up.
Linkara: Just, uh, don't go into the diner's kitchen, okay? We've been having some... (hesitates slightly) problems in there lately.
(Cut to footage of Silent Hill: Downpour, showing Murphy in the Devil's Pitstop diner; a fire breaks out there that turns on the sprinklers trying to put the fire out)
Murphy: Wh-What the hell!? (suddenly, objects start floating into the air) What the hell IS this...?!
(Back to the comic again)
Waitress: And you are so never leaving here.
Linkara: (as waitress) YOU ARE MY SLAVE NOW, SUPERMAN! YOU WILL DO MY BIDDING IN EXCHANGE FOR PHILLY CHEESE STEAK SANDWICHES! (cackles evilly)
Linkara (v/o): Later, after more reporters leave, the people in the diner tell Superman about some of the problems the area has had; in particular, a bunch of houses bought up by drug dealers, who use them to sell crack, meth and heroin.
Diner patron: Even the police don't go down there unless they have to.
Superman: (narrating) Say there's nothing they can do.
Linkara (v/o): And naturally, since this is an area even the police fear, we see that there are a bunch of little kids nearby – in the streets, at night, near the crack houses. Good parenting. Somehow, a bunch of drug dealers are already waiting for him as Superman walks by.
Drug dealer: Yo dude, whatchoo doin' here? You buyin' or you sellin'?
Linkara: (as Superman) Pardon me, citizen, may I borrow a cup of drugs?
Drug dealer: 'Cause if you buyin' then you a lot cooler than I heard.
Linkara: This guy must love Roy Harper then.
Drug dealer: Gotta tell you, S, that is one sad monkey suit.
Linkara (v/o): "Monkey suit"? It's a frickin' costume, not a business suit.
Drug dealer henchman: Looks better on TV.
Linkara: Do you think it's wise to mock Superman like this? Earlier in the day, he flew someone up TWO MILES into the sky just for annoying him.
Drug dealer: Got that whole Project Runway vibe about it, y'know?
Linkara: Oh, yeah, I'm sure street drug pushers are just the biggest fans of reality shows about runway models. (nods, then shakes head sourly)
Drug dealer: Look, I know what you're here for. Think you gonna scare us out. Like we're gonna start shakin' and sayin' "Oh, Superman, don't hurt us! Don't zap us with your eye-beams!" You can't do squat, S!
Linkara (v/o): You know, I can't help but remember those Mr. T comics I reviewed a few months ago that had a similar speech going on...
(Cut to a shot of "Mr. T #2", with Linkara describing...)
Linkara (v/o): ...and Mr. T just hung the guy over a rooftop.
Drug dealer: You can't go inside any of our cribs, you can't take anything, you can't force us to move, you can't do jack.
(Cut to a clip of a Hitachi commercial featuring Mr. T)
Mr. T: (holding up his fist to a zombie consultant) You know, you got a lotta mouth! And I got a lotta fist for yo' mouth!
Linkara: (listlessly) You know, while I love Mr. T, I should not really be wishing that Mr. T was in this comic in place of Superman.
Linkara (v/o): Superman looks around himself and the drug dealer, who has already demonstrated how much of a frickin' moron he is for trying to insult and mock SUPERMAN, of all people, demands to know what he's looking at.
Superman: I was using those eye-beams to look inside all the houses up and down the street. Finding your stashes.
Drug dealer: Yeah? So? Go tell that one to a judge. That ain't admissible.
Linkara: Superman has saved the world single-handedly, like, fifty times. Probably more so in group efforts. While a case against using his X-ray vision on grounds of privacy could potentially be made, I THINK A JUDGE WOULD TAKE HIS WORD FOR IT!!
Superman: But you should go back inside. Quickly. Looks like someone set your stashes on fire. All of them.
Linkara (v/o): And the drug dealers run back inside as very obvious, huge plumes of smoke are suddenly coming from the houses.
(Once again, the Superman logo appears and the Superman theme plays)
Linkara (v/o): (dramatically) Superman: defender of truth, justice, and arson! (normal again) So, forgiving for a moment how really, REALLY illegal this is, how does Superman follow this up? Well, a kid walks up to him and offers him some candy.
Superman: Thanks. When they come out, will you give them a message for me?
Linkara: (stunned by what he's reading) WHAT?!?
Superman: Tell them I plan to come back every few weeks. I'll do it again and again until they leave.
Linkara: (appalled) Superman... you've just gotten that kid killed!
Linkara (v/o): Are you out of your freakin' MIND?! No, really, are you insane?! You just torched the stashes for these drug dealers! When they get out, they're gonna be pissed! And they're going to see that you're no longer standing there. What they're going to see is a little kid who tells them, "Superman said he's going to come back every once and a while, you evil drug dealer poopy-heads." And then they're going to BEAT THIS KID INTO A PULP, and assuming he's not dead from that, they will kill him and leave him there as a message NOT TO MESS WITH THEM! Why the hell don't YOU stand and wait for them to come out and frighten them off?! You're not exactly in a hurry here! You can be patient! What the hell is wrong with you?!?
(Cut to a clip of Wayne's World)
Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers): Are you mental?
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Oh, but it gets better, my friends.
Kid: But you know they're just gonna set up somewhere else, over there...
Linkara: "Over there"? (looks around) Over where? Kid, where are you talking about? You're not pointing at anything.
Linkara (v/o): Oh, it's just a clumsy way to segue into Superman's response.
Superman: Yes, but they won't be here anymore, and that's a step in the right direction.
Linkara: (sarcastically) Because moving the problem is the exact same thing as solving the problem, isn't it?
Superman: See, in the end, all we can do is look at where we are, at where we're standing, and say we will not allow this, here. Over there has to stand for itself, has to speak for itself. Because it's only when over there becomes here that we can stop this once and for all. And from now on, my eye will be right here.
(Linkara stares in open-mouthed horror at what he just read; cut to a clip of the "Celebrity Jeopardy" sketch from "SNL")
Alex Trebek (Will Ferrell): And... you're an idiot.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Okay, one, as I just said, the drug dealers are STILL AROUND! Forcing them to go someplace else DOES NOT END THE PROBLEM! Two, "over there" has to stand for itself?? Um, why the hell does it have to? You just forced the problem "over there"! In fact, the only reason the problem was "solved here" was because YOU intervened! Why the hell is this new place the drugs are moving to going to be able to do any better than before?! Three, your eye is supposed to be everywhere! You care about ALL humanity, ALL places! Why the hell are you only capable of watching this ONE neighborhood?! WHAT A COMPLETE ASSHOLE!!
Linkara: Oh, yeah, and again, he can't threaten them with bodily harm because it's (makes a "finger quote") "against the law", but apparently, (shrugs) damaging other people's property, setting fire to their stuff, even if it is illegal material, is apparently perfectly okay in Pennsylvania! (beat) No, it isn't. That's not okay anywhere! (pointing to camera) SUPERMAN, YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING!!
Linkara (v/o): By the by, the original printed copy of this comic has a blank white speech bubble next to the kid's head that's absent from the trade. I'm guessing it's a printing error, but more likely, it's the kid desperately trying to whisper out, "That is the dumbest reasoning I will ever hear in my entire life, and I'm only eight years old." The next morning, after passing by a car that was planning on running a red light, and probably scaring them out of the idea with the threat of setting their car on fire, Superman comes across an older gentleman sitting on his porch. His daughter thinks he should go see a doctor, but he thinks his problem is just a little heartburn. Superman decides to just use his X-ray vision on him, because, hey, what's one invasion of privacy when he could do lots of invasions of privacy? He says the guy's heart is beating erratically and he should probably go to see a doctor – buuut doesn't offer to fly him over to a hospital, because, hey, it's not like somebody could die in the time it takes the ambulance to arrive or anything. I'm sure that sequence was meant to be funny, but I'm just thinking that in the excitement of meeting Superman, he probably had a heart attack and died! Look at how much I'm laughing! Anyway, it's time for another dose of freshly-cooked stupid. Superman comes across a group of police and firemen who are talking to a jumper on a building.
Policeman: (through a megaphone) Miss Rose... Move back inside the building so we can discuss this. We don't want to have to try and pull you inside. We're asking you to work with us.
Linkara: (as policeman, pretending to speak through a megaphone) Normally, we would have someone trained in counseling, psychiatry or psychology or the like on hand to help talk to you without running the risk that we could accidentally convince you to jump, but we needed to set an artificial situation for Superman to come in and save the day.
Linkara (v/o): And of course, Superman comes up as the cop explains that the woman, Felicity, lost her mom, lost her job, and basically lost everything, and has come here to end her life. When he arrives, she decides to yell at him and makes him promise not to stop her if she decides to jump, and he gives his word.
Policeman 1: I thought he was gonna bring her down. What's he doing up there?
Policeman 2: Dude said he was gonna talk to her.
Policeman 1: About what? The view?
Linkara: (as policeman, dopey voice) Durrr, the concept of talking to someone about their problems and convincing them not to commit suicide is a possibility that never entered my puny, non-Superman brain! I are dumb! (scowls disgustedly as he shrugs)
Felicity: After I buried my mom, I stood there after everyone else had left, and I thought...is this it? I mean, is this all there is? Working in a cubicle six days a week until I'm too old to do it anymore, then I die? Is that it?
Linkara: Hey, there's more to it than that. There's... Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and hoping that someday we'll have another good Star Trek series, and... um... oh, sewing. Some people like sewing.
Felicity: When I graduated high school, I thought--we all thought--we're gonna go off and do great things. We're gonna change the world. Save the world. If somebody said, "Hey, you're gonna pump gas your whole life," or "Better get used to cleaning up after people because that's gonna be your whole life," we'd've laughed at them. It's not fair! None of its fair!
Linkara (v/o): Really? That's your reason for wanting to commit suicide? I hate to sound unsympathetic, but lady, I'm with Denis Leary here.
(Cut to a clip of Denis Leary's concert film No Cure For Cancer)
Leary: (mocking sadness) I'm just not happy. (sniffles) I'm just not happy! I'm just not happy because my life didn't turn out the way I thought it would! (angrily) Hey, join the fucking club, okay?! I thought I was gonna be the starting center fielder for the Boston Red Sox! Life sucks, get a fucking helmet, alright?!
Linkara: (holding up hands in defense) Okay, okay, okay, before anyone comments, I'm not serious about that. Depression and suicide are very serious issues, and they cannot be solved by telling someone to "buck up" and "get over it". It's very, very important that someone finds help in these situations. Buuuut this comic never states that this woman was suffering from depression or any illness, physical or mental. Frankly, all it suggests is that she was just feeling down and wanted attention! But (shrugs) let's give the comic the benefit of the doubt here and see how Superman handles this very delicate situation.
Superman: Because you're right. It's not fair. John Lennon is dead and Moammar Kadaffi is still alive. J.F.K. is dead and Castro is alive. Gandhi is dead but Manson keeps hanging in there. It's not fair.
Linkara: (appalled by what he read) You suck at this, Superman.
Linkara (v/o): Seriously, that's your advice? That's what you say to a woman who's pouring her heart out about the unfairness of life and who is contemplating suicide?! "Yup, life sucks, whatcha gonna do?" For crying out loud, NewsRadio and Crocodile Dundee handled this better, and those were comedies! Hell, even she's amazed that that's what he has to say! And yet... she's smiling?? The hell is she smiling about?! He didn't say anything profound or hopeful or funny or anything smile-worthy at all!
Superman: But it's not unfair, either.
Linkara: Um, yes, it is. It is unfair. Life is terribly, horribly unfair!
Linkara (v/o): And yeah, that's the crux of his argument: Superman says that everybody gets out of high school thinking they're going to save the world. I didn't, I just worried about how tough college was going to be, and after college, I worried about balancing this show and my day job. Now I just worry about keeping this show funny on a weekly basis, which I don't think I'm accomplishing right now when all I'm doing is finding new ways of saying, "This comic is stupid!" He says sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, and all we can do is try.
Linkara: Hey, Superman, why don't you just tell her that she can move all her suicidal thoughts (points offscreen) "over there"! That way, "here" is better, and it's (points offscreen with thumb) "over there"'s problem now, and it can deal with it on its own!
Linkara (v/o): She says she doesn't want to talk anymore and just wants to rest, which she does so, crouching in what looks like a very uncomfortable pose well into the night. She asks him to turn the spotlight off since it hurts her eyes. And Superman, being the idiot he has been this entire time, just heat-visions the cable on it instead of, y'know, yelling down, "Hey, can you guys turn that off for a bit? Thanks." Long story short, she decides not to jump, and the two hug, and she's brought down, where the paramedics take her away.
Policeman: She'll be all right. We'll get someone to talk to her.
Superman: That's good. But maybe it'd be better to get someone who'll listen to her.
Linkara: Or, if she is suffering from depression, she'll need some kind of medication to help. If she wasn't, then congratulations, she wasted people's time and resources because she was feeling kind of blue that afternoon!
Policeman: Hey... Question for you. Would you really have let her fall?
Superman: Good night, officer.
Linkara: No. No, he wouldn't. At least, not a properly-written Superman. Superman always chooses life. The mere implication that he would've let her DIE is so horrible and completely out of character for him, especially in light of all the people who died at the conclusion of the "New Krypton" arc. (looks at comic) Go to hell, comic! (slaps comic repeatedly) GO... TO... HELL!!! (slaps comic so hard that he knocks it down)
Linkara (v/o): And so, our comic ends with one more scene of Superman speechifiying and yet saying absolutely nothing. A guy is walking his dog and decides to go up to Superman and ask him why he's doing this.
Man with dog: I mean, shouldn't you be out saving the world or something? You're a hero, right? Isn't that what heroes do?
Linkara (v/o): Well, obviously, the response should be, "If I'm needed, I'll be there. Right now, I'm not needed." Instead, here's what he has to say...
Superman: To be a hero--and I'm not saying I am one...
Linkara: YOU ARE. You can't pretend that you're not a hero when you decide to step in and use your power to stop drug dealers and convince someone not to commit suicide!
Superman: To be a hero is to live your life in a small cell whose bars are the principles and rules that define what you will and won't accept. Injustice. Cruelty. Murder.
Linkara: What kind of quasi-philosophical bullcrap is that? A hero is someone who either risks their own life or inconveniences themself [sic] to help or aid others. The details determine more if they truly are a hero, but I think that definition works as a general rule.
Superman: On the night they threw Henry Thoreau in jail for civil disobedience, a friend came to see him, saying, "Henry, what're you doing in here?" Thoreau said, "No, the question is, what are you doing out there?"
Linkara: Henry Thoreau was in jail for one night for not paying his taxes. His aunt bailed him out the next day, and afterwards, he wasn't "living his life in a small cell, where the bars are the principles and rules that determine what you will and won't accept." He lived in relative comfort until his death from bronchitis!
Linkara (v/o): And even then, Thoreau didn't go to jail for some vague notion of "not accepting injustice, cruelty and murder." He did it because he opposed slavery and the Mexican-American War.
Superman: If I am lucky enough, privileged enough to live in that cell, to serve in that box with the word hero written on it-- then I say to you, from somewhere deep inside that box-- what are you doing out there?
Linkara: WHAT BOX?!? You're not bravely taking a stand against something you're morally opposed to, YOU'RE WALKING ACROSS AMERICA!!
Linkara (v/o): The guy with the dog is absolutely right: you should be going off and fighting against giant robots or alien conquerors! You are walking across the country and preaching to us about how much better what you're doing is than that! So, on the last page, when the guy is going...
Man with dog: What's that mean?
Linkara (v/o): ...I'm in agreement with him! What the hell are you doing?! What the hell does Henry Thoreau have to do with anything?! Oh, and now he's leaving Philadelphia. Well, this was obviously so necessary to take place here when the extent of his actions was, walk through neighborhoods, save a woman, and eat at a generic diner!
Linkara: (holding up comic) This comic sucks! It wants to pretend that it's asking deep, thoughtful questions about life, the universe and everything, but it's just pretentious gibberish featuring dumb characters and a Superman who has no real reason to do what he's doing – he's just doing it! JMS is a far better writer than this crap. Go watch Babylon 5 and then (points to camera) read this, and you'll wonder what the hell happened in between! (throws down comic, gets up and leaves) God, this one was bad!
(End credits roll)
The run was obviously very important to JMS, which is why he left both Superman and Wonder Woman before the plotlines he had started were over so he could work on the original graphic novel Superman: Earth One.
And no, I haven't read it and I know people say it's good, but frankly I've seen Superman's origins or early days told at least six times now. Even if you didn't like New Krypton, at least it was telling a story that hadn't been told before.
Superman's reign of terror in Philadelphia became legendary – stories told of drug dealers who moved to previously clean neighborhoods, suicide rates increasing, heart attacks, and cars with mysteriously-cut fuel lines.