Fireworks! Barbecues! Orgies of rampant consumerism! Independence Day is the quintessential American holiday, and what better way to celebrate it than by remembering some of the most patriotic moments starring the quintessential American hero, Superman?
Superman has always embodied the values that America stands for, and as those values have changed over the decades, Superman has changed with them. And if we, as a country, have, shall we say, failed to live up to our own ideals in recent times, it's only natural that Superman would reflect those failings. We're not going to go so far as to say that, if the iconic Superman #17 cover were published today, Supes might be shaking hands with Hitler and an extremely racist caricature of Emperor Hirohito, rather than hoisting them up by their shirt collars and glaring at them sternly, but...
Well, okay, we guess we did just say it. It's with that in mind that we've compiled our list of the Top Five Most Patriotic Superman moments:
#5 - Superman Shows Americans Why Communism Can Never Work
Superman: Red Son is an alternate universe Superman story where Superman crash lands in the Russia instead of the United States. He grows up to become leader of the Communist Party and rule the Soviet Union, which is, of course, about as anti-American as you can get. But wait! If you look at it from the right perspective, Superman was providing a public service. We all know that communism can never work, which is why we must be constantly vigilant, as good Americans, against the forces that would destroy us from within, like universal health care and a livable minimum wage. So when Superman began to abuse his power, turning Soviet dissidents into mindless drones (a very American technique), we need a true American hero to save the day. That hero is big business icon, job creator, and ultimate 1%er, Lex Luthor. Realizing that Luthor was right all along, Superman dons his Clark Kent disguise for the first time and accepts capitalism and the free market as the natural way of the universe. It brings a tear to our eye, thinking about how patriotic even Soviet Superman turned out to be.
#4 - Superman Makes a Porno With Big Barda
What could be more American than having your body exploited for the sex industry? The United States is the largest producer of pornographic videos in the entire world. The porn industry reportedly makes more profit - over $13 billion dollars worth - than Hollywood. So when Superman decided to get together with Big Barda - who was married to Mister Miracle, at the time - and make a sex video, it was truly one of the most patriotic moments in the character's history. And so what if both Superman and Barda were performing under duress, since both were hypnotized by the villain Sleez? The exploitation of actresses in the porn industry today isn't much nicer than that, and that doesn't stop hundreds of millions of Americans from jerking off to it every day. 'Murica!
#3 - Superman Kills Zod and the Phantom Zone Criminals
In Superman #22 by John Byrne, Superman is faced with a difficult decision. Zod, Quex-Ul, and Faora, criminals from the Phantom Zone who are responsible for destroying an entire pocket Universe, are depowered and at his mercy. Superman could put them in prison, try them for their crimes, and make sure that justice is served... or he could open a cannister of green Kryptonite and kill them on the spot. We'll give you one guess as to which option Superman chose. Yeah, he appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner. But Superman was simply ahead of his time. Today, it's completely legal for the United States government to kill anyone, even an American citizen, anywhere on the planet with a drone strike if they represent a vaguely defined "imminent threat" to America. Superman did what needed to be done to protect America. Do you have a problem with that? Maybe he should come for you next!
#2 - Superman Kills Zod... AGAIN
In 2013's blockbuster Man of Steel movie, we're treated to a reboot of the Superman cinematic Universe, which means Superman gets to face off against evil Kryptonian warlord Zod for the first time again. Following a battle that destroys Metropolis and must have racked up a huge death toll, taking America's policies on collateral damage from drone strikes and bombings to a whole new level, Superman is "forced" to snap Zod's neck to prevent the villain from killing more people with his heat vision. Of course, Superman might have first tried to cover Zod's eyes with his own indestructible skin and maybe flown him into outer space to subdue him or something, but fuck it, that would require to much work. The important thing is that a terrorist was stopped, and there's nothing more important than that, even if it means throwing away all of the ideals that supposedly make America great. Snap a supervillain's neck? No problem. Hold prisoners indefinitely in Guantanamo with no trial? Piece of cake! Put the entire world under NSA surveillance? You betcha! All in the name of national security! We wouldn't want to let the terrorists win.
But hey, while we know this isn't the first time Superman has murdered this crew, it's actually not even the first time he's done it in the movies! Superman killed Zod and his cronies back in Superman II by tossing them down a bottomless pit. This time, even Lois Lane got in on the action:
Killing Zod. It's as American as apple pie.
#1 - Superman Renounces His U.S. Citizenship
In Action Comics #900, Superman had finally had enough of having his actions interpreted as "instruments of U.S. policy," and he renounced his U.S. citizenship. The comic was controversial, getting a lot of patriotic Americans like Chuck Dixon's star spangled panties in a bunch, but the problem is they just weren't looking at things the right way. Just because Superman renounced his citizenship doesn't mean he stopped engaging in all the big-brother interference in the affairs of the world. He just stopped officially identifying those actions as sanctioned by the United States. That's something the United States does every day, when it engages in off-the-books covert operations, meddles in the affairs of foreign countries, and oppresses the world with economic policies enacted by the corporations and financial institutions that control the U.S. government. Superman is just following in the tradition of all the great American leaders before him, trying to keep America's conscience clean while he takes care of the dirty work of global domination, and for that, we salute you, Superman. You are a true American hero.
Happy July 4th, everyone! Here's some runners up that didn't make the list:
Super-Genocide of indigenous peoples
We hope you enjoyed our Top Five Patriotic Superman Moments. As you're drinking Bud Light and gulping down weiners today, please take a moment to post your angry, jingoistic responses in the comments section below.
Now, let's remember the good old days.