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Superman Unchained #3 (The Machine Spoilers)

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Punchy

Staff Writer

Postby Punchy » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:24 pm

Scott Snyder and Jim Lee’s take on Superman continues to develop nicely, as this third issue contains a healthy dose of action, along with some interesting plot developments and take on Superman’s morality that I’m sure will provoke some discussion.

Superman is deep underground, and faced with the US Government’s ‘other Superman’, who we learn is called Wraith, which is a pretty clichéd name, but I did like the reasoning for it here. Wraith is an acronym for ‘William Rudolph’s Ace In The Hole’, Rudolph being the Army general who first utilised him back in 1938. In this issue, we find out a lot more about Wraith’s back-story, and also about the branch of government both he and General Lane are working for, ‘The Machine’, who are some kind of shadowy operation that has secretly policed the world for the last century or so. It’s pretty fascinating to see this secret side of the DC Universe, and to see what other real world events Wraith got involved with. Wraith looks like being an interesting character, he’s not really a villain, because he’s been working for the US Government to save the world, and he clearly likes and respects Superman. But that last page, where he says he’s going to have to kill him is very telling, he’s not a free agent like Superman, he follows orders. And if the fight he and Supes have in this issue, he’s a credible threat.

That fight was very well-done, Jim Lee’s art really shone here, I’m not the biggest fan of his stuff, but nobody does big, superhero action like he does, you feel every punch, and of course, there’s lots of rubble.

The part of this issue that will probably cause the most interest is when General Lane takes Superman to task and calls him a coward and a murderer. Lane says that because Superman isn’t proactive and doesn’t get involved in invading other countries and taking out evil dictators and things like that, he’s culpable for all of those deaths. That by keeping things simple and just stopping disasters as they come along, he’s not really helping the world like Wraith and The Machine are. This is an interesting take on the character, and one that makes sense coming from a soldier, but I don’t really buy it, not least because I feel superhero comics are best staying away from solving real world issues, to have Superman just fly in and save the DCU Sudan is disrespectful to the real Sudan. It’s interesting, and I’d be interested to hear what everyone else thinks, especially in the wake of Man Of Steel.

Snyder also keeps us up to date with his various subplots, including a gloriously insane escape from Lex Luthor, and the threat of ‘The Ascension’ and Lois Lane’s plane crashing. I really enjoyed these scenes with Lois, as she managed to mostly save the day herself, not with Superman’s help. But what’s the deal with that weird dude who rescued her from the lake? There’s a lot going on in this story and it’s going to be interesting to see how Snyder ties The Ascension, Wraith and now this dude into one another.

It’s just so refreshing to have a good Superman book on the shelves, those few months in between the end of Morrison’s run and this book’s launch were bleak times man. Throw in an epilogue that sets up Jimmy Olsen for an important role, and I’m a happy bunny.
User avatar

ElijahSnowFan

cheese

Postby ElijahSnowFan » Thu Aug 22, 2013 4:20 pm

I read this, and while it's early...Snyder's take on Superman is just...bear with me, here.

Snyder's telling a story, one story. And this thread hasn't blown up with the Gen. Lane dialogue.

But I'm trying to see the end game, and I'm left with this question: Does Snyder simply want to create the reason for the enmity between Lane and Superman, or are he and Jim Lee really saying something metaphysical about what Superman doesn't do, as opposed to what he does do?

I ask because Jim Lee was outspoken, once upon a time, about how he viewed Mister Majestic as what Superman would really be like. But how does that square? If Superman was more aggressive, then he'd look like the Superman from the "Injustice" game -- and would eventually be a despot.

It's just an interesting way to look at Superman -- I mean, "Red Son" was basically all about why Superman would be viewed as a threat to the American way.
User avatar

Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:13 pm

I guess Morrison's Superman's been moved to E-2 (or worse) as well?

Image
User avatar

ElijahSnowFan

cheese

Postby ElijahSnowFan » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:42 pm

Hell, what's more bizarre is that Johns just had Superman and Wonder Woman in Kahndaq in Justice League, uninvited, what...six months ago, maybe less?

I get it: Different books, different creators, so on and so forth. Continuity's overrated, so on and so forth.

But right there, you have three different versions of Superman's personality, by three high-powered creators, all saying different things -- one has Superman not intervening, one has Superman arguing to intervene, and one has Superman intervening.

Wouldn't it be helpful if DC just had an internal Superman bio that said, "Superman is...(Insert Position)," so they could at least remain even a little consistent?
User avatar

Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:46 pm

ElijahSnowFan wrote:Hell, what's more bizarre is that Johns just had Superman and Wonder Woman in Kahndaq in Justice League, uninvited, what...six months ago, maybe less?

I get it: Different books, different creators, so on and so forth. Continuity's overrated, so on and so forth.

But right there, you have three different versions of Superman's personality, by three high-powered creators, all saying different things -- one has Superman not intervening, one has Superman arguing to intervene, and one has Superman intervening.

Wouldn't it be helpful if DC just had an internal Superman bio that said, "Superman is...(Insert Position)," so they could at least remain even a little consistent?


DC is run by a "Crash TV" philosophy. Consistency shouldn't be expected.
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IvCNuB4

Staff Writer

Postby IvCNuB4 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:05 am

That panel Nac posted is from like 5 years ago (DC time) when the League first formed and Superman was still young and starting to figure things out. In that scene he was actually starting to act more level-headed than his very first appearances in "Action Comics" when he was brash. Isn't that the same as he's portrayed now in Johns' "League" ? Thinking they should use their powers to help on a global-scale ? When he and Wonder Woman went to save those hostages in Kahndaq it was a rescue mission although granted they disregarded sanctions to do it.

In "Superman Unchained" #2 Superman went to Mumbai to save everyone in that falling building. In this issue General Lane is goading Superman because he isn't taking it upon himself to take down every dictator out there. Interfering in or attempting to change another country's political structure or leadership is arguably a different set of circumstances than something more altruistic as let's say bringing food to that country's starving people.
User avatar

alaska1125

dINGO

Postby alaska1125 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:30 pm

IvCNuB4 wrote:That panel Nac posted is from like 5 years ago (DC time) when the League first formed and Superman was still young and starting to figure things out.


Ok. This is where I had to stop. DC actually brought this on voluntarily with the whole "Action Comics shows the early years" business. They had the right idea with Man of Steel...a nice limited series that set up everything just enough to get up and running.
I'll admit that I personally hate this version of Superman. It's not just the unnecessary de-aging and, in my opinion, the god-awful revamp of the uniform. Like ESF, I can't quite figure out if I'm looking at the same character from one book to the next. It's pretty wildly across the board. JL Superman seems separate from Action Superman who seems separate from Superman...er...Superman. Hell, the guy that showed up in Swamp Thing #1 seemed almost like the pre-NuDC version. Come on, folks. Pick one and run with it. I just don't recognize these various characters as Superman. It sucks, frankly.
User avatar

syxxpakk

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby syxxpakk » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:31 pm

Yeah, everything lines up really.
User avatar

Juan Cena

DANG!

Postby Juan Cena » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:32 pm

IvCNuB4 wrote:That panel Nac posted is from like 5 years ago (DC time) when the League first formed and Superman was still young and starting to figure things out. In that scene he was actually starting to act more level-headed than his very first appearances in "Action Comics" when he was brash. Isn't that the same as he's portrayed now in Johns' "League" ? Thinking they should use their powers to help on a global-scale ? When he and Wonder Woman went to save those hostages in Kahndaq it was a rescue mission although granted they disregarded sanctions to do it.

In "Superman Unchained" #2 Superman went to Mumbai to save everyone in that falling building. In this issue General Lane is goading Superman because he isn't taking it upon himself to take down every dictator out there. Interfering in or attempting to change another country's political structure or leadership is arguably a different set of circumstances than something more altruistic as let's say bringing food to that country's starving people.


Of course that brings of the question of what Supes is going to do with all these dictators he's supposed to be bringing down.
User avatar

alaska1125

dINGO

Postby alaska1125 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 12:36 pm

syxxpakk wrote:Yeah, everything lines up really.

Except reading comics shouldn't be a mathematical equation...
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syxxpakk

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby syxxpakk » Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:16 pm

alaska1125 wrote:Except reading comics shouldn't be a mathematical equation...


Good thing it's not in this case :smt102
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alaska1125

dINGO

Postby alaska1125 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 1:42 pm

syxxpakk wrote:
Good thing it's not in this case :smt102


Ah. Well, I guess I haven't mastered the algorithm yet.

Edit: Y'know, I was going to leave it at that, but I can't. I disagree completely. It really doesn't line up, personality wise. Frankly, it's a wonky timeline to begin with, but multi-personality Superman makes no sense. I am glad that you're apparently reconciling them, but I either can't or won't (likely, I'll admit).
User avatar

syxxpakk

Wrasslin' Fan

Postby syxxpakk » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:07 pm

I think that's the case then.

I mean, if you can point out the parts where's contradicted himself, I'm game. It's probably easier to explain than you think, though. Admittedly I've read every book with Superman in it of the New 52.
User avatar

alaska1125

dINGO

Postby alaska1125 » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:26 pm

syxxpakk wrote:I think that's the case then.

I mean, if you can point out the parts where's contradicted himself, I'm game. It's probably easier to explain than you think, though. Admittedly I've read every book with Superman in it of the New 52.


I still say pretty inconsistent. Eh, probably me. I just really don't like this version. I do have Adventures of Superman to give me the Superman fix I need. Odd that they publish the iconic version digitally (see also Legends of the Dark Knight).

MikeinLA

Rorshach Test Subject

Postby MikeinLA » Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:03 pm

I don't like stories where Superman or other extremely powerful heroes are called out for "not doing enough", especially when real world events are involved, because it sets up a straw man. For the sake of the story, there has to be conflict. Ergo, the hero can't solve all the problems everywhere.

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