« DKR across the blogs | Main | Kingdom Come: Plumbing the Shallows »

January 06, 2005

Comments

Rasselas

It occurs to me that this comment may be unfair, but whenever I looked at KC, I was reminded of what the artist says in The Unbearable Lightness of Being: "My enemy is kitsch, not communism!"

Nur al-Cubicle

Holy hero hagiography, Batman!

Lexie Hunt

Just as war and peace cannot be separated, perhaps Wonder Woman means more politically when we consider her in connection with Superman, as opposed to the alternative (maybe this is symbolized through a sexual connection?). Following the “hard-nosed” Wonder Woman and peaceful Superman logic, this could also relate to the Cold War, in that the Soviet Union and the United States had to have the most powerful weapons of war, they had to reach mutually assured destruction, in order to obtain stability.

Ok, maybe that last paragraph didn’t work out as well as I planned. Try this: Both WW and Superman are described as contradictions within themselves (as the Spectre tells Norman in Part II, Wonder woman is, “like superman, a paradox”). Superman, who “walked among the humans as well as above them”, comes out of retirement to find Metahumans carelessly and unethically killing civilians in attempt to wage war on one another. Furthermore, the tension growing between the metahumans and humans becomes an apparent sign of an even greater looming disaster – the Armageddon. The stretched analogical translation: Superman is conflicted internally.

The value system Superman holds, once embraced by everyone, is shared no longer. When Magog claimed Superman’s title as world leader, the wrong messages were instilled in the minds of the new generation. The conflicting values of Superman and this new breed, along with the clashing methods of today and tomorrow, now make it impossible for Superman to revert to his “old” ways to obtain peace.

Looking for “quick and fast totalitarian solutions”, Superman decides to build an incarceration center to reform his irresponsible successors and “teach them the meaning of truth and justice”. Since Magog’s careless nuclear accident blows up Kansas, Superman builds his prison in the middle of the obliterated state. He fails, however, to inform or even consult the UN. But that’s not his only oversight. Metahumans, he might have realized, are hard to contain behind bars – even with a top of the line surveillance system - and “those incarcerated” are not exactly “fully docile and eager to acclimate”. Superman must, therefore, use Wonder Woman, whose initials also stand for World War (Wow, lame comment), in order to force cooperation. But Wonder Woman has her own motives. After failing to change the world for the better, and failing to fulfill her gods-given mission as an ambassador and teacher of peace, Wonder Woman is stripped of both her royalty and heritage. She hopes that in her effort to restore peace, she might regain some dignity and respect.

Before continuing, please note that we have reached a dead end. As I was about to make some real headway on the whole “Wonder Woman” front, it came to my attention that I don’t actually have any intellectually unique comments or promising leads on the matter. The wonderfully useless comment about Wonder Woman’s initials is probably not even slightly amusing. So, because we agree the whole “gender politics” scene is really not my thing, I must sadly pass the Wonder Woman wand to someone else.

Moving on…

I jump to the end of the book. In the final pages of Kingdom Come, Norman tells Superman that he must deal with his own internal conflict before he can understand and help humanity. I will quote Norman at length and my reason will become obvious, I hope. He says on pg. 193:

“Listen to me, Clark. Of all the things you can do… all your powers… the greatest has always been your instinctive knowledge of right and wrong. It was a gift of your own humanity. You never had to question your choices in any situation… any crisis… you knew what to do. But the minute you made the Super more important than the man… the day you decided to turn your back on mankind… that completely cost you your instinct. That took your judgment away. Take it back.”

Even though superman has more power than anyone else on earth, he can not restore world-order on his own terms. He can not solve humanity’s problems by imposing his own rules, even if he tries to enforce their compliance. He does not hold enough power to “be the judge and the jury”. Superman did not have the power to stop the new breed from their belligerent habits, nor did he have the strength to contain them once they were incarcerated. And he certainly does not have the power to instill values on anyone by force. Because his infinite strength does not equate to infinite control, Superman must work with mankind, if he wants to achieve world order. And in order to do that, he must first earn their trust and respect. In other words, Superman must bring together the strength and force that makes him “super” and the values and morals that make him “man”. Only then will he succeed.

So, stretching this a little, we see - or we don’t see - a connection to present day balance-of-power politics. America clearly has enough military power to unilaterally fight whoever the hell it wants, whenever the hell it wants. This was apparent in the four-week war during the spring of 2003, when the Bush administration, without a second UN resolution, decided to take unilateral action in its “war against terror”. By using what Joseph Nye coined “hard power”, the US successfully removed Hussein from Iraq. But the Bush Administration’s decision to act unilaterally did not make recruiting support for Iraq’s reconstruction an easy feat, and it cost the US a pretty penny. It also failed to eliminate the threat of terrorism, and certainly made many infuriated countries cringe at the opportunity to support America’s “war against terror”. Just as Batman told Superman, when America acted according to its own rules, it told the rest of the world, “we don’t want to rule the world. We just want to straighten it out… our way… by ourselves”. And needless to say, with our seemingly infinite military power, in a war between the U.S. and the rest of the world, the winner would not be the U.S.

Perhaps the Bush Administration, before declaring that “might makes right”, should have listened to the wise words of Norman:

“If you want redemption, Clark… it lies in the very next decision you make. Make it as a man… and make it right.”

Lexie Hunt

I posted the blog I'm commenting on, but I'd like to say a few things before someone misunderstands my intent - of course this might have been more effective before the actual blog. But it also applies to any future blogs i decide to write. So here goes:

1. I am not against the Bush Administration or Republicans - my parents are republicans and I vote both ways.

3. I have not studied politics to any great extent. Therefore my political observations are fairly superficial. I know everything I wrote concerning politics can be argued against vehemently, and that's definitely fine with me.

2. I have also not studied comics to any great extent. In fact, I did not pick up a comic book prior to taking this course. This means that I am still learning the, and may I say, neverending, list of characters. I do not consider my views or opinions concerning any character to hold true in the "comic world". So again, If I get something wrong, please correct me, kindly :)

4. I am not a wonderful writer. And I am a horrible speller.

5. I also have no experience writing blogs -this is my first.

6. This is also my first comment...

I think that pretty much covers my butt in every way possible. Blog away...

generic viagra

Should I Read Batman: Year One or The Dark Knight Returns First?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Site Info

  • Join the conversation
    Please join in the conversation! This blog is primarily for students in the Comic Book Politics class - for now - but everyone else out there is very welcome to join in. Please do!
  • Thanks
    ... to Abu Aardvark for hosting this site
  • Contact
    comicbookpolitics@yahoo.com