With C2E2 about to kick off, it's time for Comics Twitter to get warmed up for the weekend's events. What better way to do that than by having a blowout slapfight over everyone's favorite never-ending argument: whether or not Superman should kill! Of course, everyone knows that Man of Steel was a horrendous piece of crap that will only be topped by the steaming pile of turds that is next week's Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but for some reason, there are people out there who justify Snyderman's neck-snapping, murderous ways. One of those people is Forbes writer Mark Hughes, who, apparently following one or more previous Twitter feuds with Dan Slott, Mark Waid, and the like, decided to put his argument into the form of a long as shit article. In the piece, titled "Why Superman Can Kill: In Defense of Man of Steel," Hughes presents his thesis:
When Superman snapped Zod's neck in the climax of Man of Steel, a lot of people objected. "Superman doesn't kill!" they shouted. What they should have shouted, however, is "Superman shouldn't kill!" or "My preferred version of Superman doesn't kill!" Because claiming Superman doesn't kill is not true at all, and isn't even up for debate. You may not like it, and he may avoid killing much more often than he kills, but the fact is Superman has repeatedly and consistently killed in the comics, from his very first stories right through most decades, and he's still killing nowadays.
I've debated this issue many times, including most recently withThe Amazing Spider-Man comic book writer Dan Slott (for the record, it's one of my favorite Spider-Man runs of the last 30 years), who frequently brings up the issue on social media. He asserts nobody who understands Superman would write a story in which Superman kills, and any such story is an invalid interpretation of Superman. Slott and others insist Superman should never kill under any circumstances, and that despite some exceptions the overwhelming majority of Superman's history proves he has a strict code against taking any life. It is further claimed there is never a no-win situation for Superman, and no story should be written putting him in a situation without an alternate to killing.
This absolutist position doesn't just assert a preference for Superman refusing to kill, and doesn't just argue it's the best portrayal and the most consistent with the majority of stories — it insists stories violating this specific preference are invalid. That's where I take exception, since it turns into nothing more than another fan preference stated as the only objectively right way to portray a character, imagining anyone disagreeing simply doesn't properly understand the character.
Throughout the three page magnum opus, Hughes goes on to list a number of comic book writers who have written stories in which Superman kills, explores the psychology behind Superman's aversion to killing, and then argues that Superman had no choice but to kill Zod in Man of Steel. And yes, that's what we got from skimming the fucking thing, because there's no way in hell we're reading three long ass Forbes web pages about it. Sorry, man. It's nothing personal.
Anyway, that's where the fun started, because when you talk about Superman killing on the internet, it doesn't take long before necks start proverbially snapping... downward to look at their smartphones and tweet:
And though the storify ends here, our story isn't over by a longshot. You.. yes, you... can continue the fight in the comments below! Should Superman kill? Does Man of Steel suck? Will we ever definitively answer these questions? There's only way to find out. LET'S GET READY TO RUMBLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEE!
Fanboy Rampage was a blog by Graeme McMillan dedicated to the funniest, most ludicrous and most inappropriate comic book back-and-forths online. McMillan has moved on now, becoming a proper journalist, but he gave permission to Bleeding Cool to revive his great creation. The Outhouse steals it occasionally to annoy them. Pip pip.