I'm OK With Superman Renouncing His US Citizenship

Superman's not my favorite character. I still respect his ability and his ideals though. From a fan perspective, Batman has always appealed to me more, if for nothing else his ability to hang with the big boys despite being a human being. There are a lot of people out there though who love Superman. Love everything he stands for. In Action Comics #900, Superman decides to renounce his citizenship in America. No big deal right?

Well considering you're reading this post you can imagine it is a big deal. Especially when idiots like Jonathan Last (way to ruin the namesake) at The Weekly Standard fires off a grossly misinformed and tragically obtuse few words about the action.

I shouldn't call Last an idiot. I'll just caveat that by saying that the statement is not intended to be an actual fact and that should clear me. Some context regarding the situation and his column would be great no?

Writer David Goyer has Superman stating the following in Action Comics #900:

"I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy. The world's too small. Too connected."

It turns out that he doesn't actually renounce his citizenship. Why should he? In 1974 he was granted citizenship in every member country of the United Nations. He can pick and choose where he wants to live and has the power to do so. But Last (and many other complainers) are missing some very key points here.

Superman's originally from Krypton. The self-described defender of "Truth, Justice and the American Way" couldn't even be President of the US based on our Constitution. Despite this he has still toiled away for 900 issues fighting to save the Earth while contributing to the American economy as a taxpayer employed at the Daily Planet in Metropolis. You know, the city that's near...um...oh wait that's right. IT'S FICTIONAL! A city BASED on American cities.

I don't know if Last is aware or not but Superman is a character created by artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel. Shuster was born in Toronto, Ontario to a Jewish family. His father was an immigrant from Rotterdam, South Holland, and his mother came from Kiev in Ukraine.

Let me double check something there. OK. Nowhere there do I see American. He didn't move to America until he was 10 when his family moved to Cleveland. Superman was born on Krypton and sent to Smallville when he was a baby. I wonder if Shuster's contribution to Superman was akin to his own immigration to a midwestern, American city? Superman was never inherently "American" in the sense of the word.

His arrival in Kansas could have easily been England. Japan. Australia. Antarctica. The point isn't where he lives or what nationality claims him but his ideals. His morals. Superman seeks to fight injustice and make sure everyone gets a fair shake. I don't know if Last has noticed but America isn't really the most ideal country these days. Greed runs rampant on Wall Street. The middle class is being thrown into the massive chasm widening between the lower and upper class.

I also don't get comparing Superman to Dr. Manhattan. Sure, they're both ripped and can pretty much do whatever they want. Dr. Manhattan was a human before he became the blue man while Superman was never human. Manhattan knows how it was before and after and knows he's above everyone else. Superman never knew the before. He knows he's stronger than everyone else on Earth, but he tries to hard to not exploit that. There's a reason Clark Kent is a "mild mannered" reporter; Superman is so desperately trying to fit in as a human,

Superman isn't "turning his back on America" as Last wrote. He's looking at the broader picture where America isn't the center of the universe. The America Superman was created in was vastly different than the America he inhabits now. He was created as a social activist looking out for the little guy. Would Superman be pleased with the wealthy getting the same tax breaks as the middle class? Would Superman be pleased with the spectre of Social Security and Medicare being wiped out?

Probably not. Superman wants to use his strength to help those not as strong. There's a reason that Superman's primary nemesis is Lex Luthor, a ruthless, international tycoon with a penchant for crushing business rivals. The recent financial crisis showed us there were countless CEOs just like Lex, only without the intergalactic technology. Darkseid is another villain in Superman's canon, a twist of Lex as an intergalactic megalomaniac seeking to enslave the universe.

It's perfectly acceptable for Superman to renounce his US citizenship if that's how he really feels. Well, considering the character is FICTIONAL he only feels whatever the writer at the time wants him to feel. I appreciate DC taking a bold stance and contextualizing him to the modern world, refusing to let his morals and established character sacrifice anything to appease people.

The fact that people like Last abhor his desire to become a citizen of the universe as opposed to just America is indicative of the pettiness and shortsightedness that is wrecking the country. I just wish we as Americans could give him something to be prouder of when he says he's a US citizen. It's comics though and, as Last even admits himself, nothing's permanent. Chances are Supes will renounce and then accept his citizenship again down the road.

If you don't like Superman renouncing his US citizenship that's fine. Don't read Action Comics #900. But when you twist that into him turning his back on America because then others can claim his as their own, well, that's why you fail. America doesn't need Superman to claim as our own. We have a Captain for that. Superman doesn't embrace American ideals. He embraces ideals that are the backbone of modern society.

Oh and one more thing. Calling us "nerd press" isn't going to win over any readers.