Posted by: Brian Hibbs on February 7, 2005
Here, at least, is my epiphany about Superman.
I didn’t really understand #213. It sounded like Superman saying HE had caused “The Vanishing” because he was upset about earth ending like Krypton. Or something? That’s what I thought I read, at least. Doesn’t make any sense, but there you go.
And there’s a page where they’re discussing Kal being sent off to earth in his rocketship and a paragrpah before or later they’re talking about the Phantom Zone, and it hit me:
Jor-El is an idiot.
Now as I recall my continuity (And my memory is fluid, so maybe I have this wrong), but didn’t Jor-El “invent” the Phantom Zone? Well the projector, I guess. At the least, he’s well aware of it, if not having some access of some kind as a significant Kryptonian scientist.
So he KNOWS the planet it about to explode. And what does he do? Try to save his entire family, thier friends, random people on the Kryptonian equivilant of the internet by escaping into the Phantom Zone? Oh, nooooooo. He builds an experimental interplanetary spaceship, that may or may not even make it, and ONLY makes it large enough for his helpless infant son.
I mean, I never really bought “this is just an experimental version, and I ran out of time” — it’s not even big enough for a single adult!
Anyway, you let that slide because, y’know it’s a resonant story of the parents sending thier child from certain death to become a great hero… that’s biblical, man. Literally, even.
But once the silver age introduced the Phantom Zone, doesn’t that render that sacrifice horrifically futile and moronic? If I had a choice between putting Ben in a rocketship alone or slipping into an alternate dimenion, no matter how unpleasent, but where the whole family could be there for him, well, I’ll take Door #2 any day.
I don’t know how I went nearly 40 years without realizing that? Probably because no writer had ever put “phantom zone” and “rocketship” on the same page before.
Superman #213 was AWFUL.
I also didn’t do the PICKs in the last post, because I thought I’d be coming back for a full post today, but I lost any chance of working yesterday because Ben’s nap schedule got messed up, so today I’m desperately trying to play catch up…
My PICK OF THE WEEK is probably SUPREME POWER #15. It’s weird how I can utterly love this comic, while utterly hating AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.
For PICK OF THE WEAK, I already telegraphed SWAMP THING #12, but I have to say, X-MEN FANTASTIC FOUR #3 came dangerously close to being worse.
Back within the hour with this week’s shipping list….