Another One Where I Complain About Hope

I’ve mentioned this one before, but I gotta write something, so I might as well get back to complaining about how I don’t like Superman being about “Hope”. And to get more specific, I’m gonna talk about a story from the “Future State” event a year or so back.

I don’t have the energy to explain what “Future State” was, but the story I am particularly gonna talk about is about a future when Superman is missing and a young woman goes on a pilgrimage to Smallville and meets up at a meeting with a bunch of people who had been saved by Superman over the years. They share their stories about how Superman saved them and feel bad because they assume he’s dead.

Some kid says Superman is about hope, PDR complains.

The main character is not happy with these survivors. She thinks it’s shameful that they’ve given up hope that Superman is still out there. PDR is not happy with these survivors because they got saved by Superman and it seems like all they took from it was that Superman sure is great and we need him to be around forever. Unlike main character (whose name I have not committed to memory), I don’t care if these people think Superman is dead.

I have to be clear, these Future State issues do point out that Superman’s supposed “giving us hope” was accomplished via doing good acts. The main character says she was helped by a story he wrote as Clark Kent and she says of Superman: “If his powers had never come, he still would’ve been what he was. He’s just have saved people in different ways.” She’s clearly saying that Clark’s actions are the good thing here. But she also says “We didn’t call him Superman because of what he can do! We called him Superman because of who he is!” and that’s where the argument fails for me.

I agree that it isn’t what Superman can do (his powers) that makes him special. But I do think it’s what he actually DOES do that makes him Superman. I don’t like the idea that Clark is just inherently a good person and he is a symbol of whatever whatever good stuff. If any one of those people at the meeting said “Superman saved me, which made me realize I should be helping other people, so that’s why I became a teacher or doctor or whatever” then I’d respect them. I don’t care if they’re full of hope. They could be utterly hopeless and working to do good and I’d respect the hell out of them. That would be keeping Superman’s spirit alive whether he is alive or not.

I don’t know, I feel like I’m repeating myself and not making my point any clearer. I don’t know that it can get any clearer. This story was by the guy who is still writing the main Superman book and he has continued to weave “Hope” into his stories. The run has been popular on the Internet circles I travel in, so I feel bad that I mostly only comment on the flaws I see in it. But just remember this isn’t just a flaw I see in this run of comics, it’s a flaw I see in the entire public perception of the character! That’s… better… right?

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