Superman Renounces U.S. Citizenship?
A controversial move was made in the world of comics this week with Superman, of all people, threatening to give up his American citizenship.
The Los Angeles Times reported that in the latest issue of Action Comics, Clark Kent's alter ego decides he's had enough, after the Secret Service reprimands the superhero for appearing at a non-violent protest against the Iranian government.
"I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship," the Man of Steel says. "I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy."
He also indicates that his famous motto is too narrow: "'Truth, justice and the American way' -- it's not enough anymore," he explains. "The world is too small, too connected."
It's often assumed Superman is American, having been raised by adoptive parents in Kansas. But he was born on the fictional planet Krypton, so his citizenship could technically have always been up for grabs. Still, many are unhappy with the mere threat. A Weekly Standard blogger called this latest development the dumbest thing DC Comics could do: "What does 'citizen of the Universe' even mean?"
"Will Superman now adhere to the Tamaran code of honor?" writer Jonathan Last lamented, "Will he follow the Atlantean system of monarchy? Does he believe in liberté, égalité, fraternité, or sharia? Does he believe in British interventionism, or Swiss neutrality? You see where I'm going with this: If Superman doesn't believe in America, then he doesn't believe in anything."
On the other hand, Last argued that there shouldn't be too much cause for concern because the move is likely temporary (he points out that Captain America once renounced his country, too).
Indeed, DC Comics co-publishers Jim Lee and Dan Didio already issued a statement to the New York Post, reinforcing Superman's inherent identification with America:
"Superman is a visitor from a distant planet who has long embraced American values. As a character and an icon, he embodies the best of the American Way."
The statement also said, "In a short story in ACTION COMICS 900, Superman announces his intention to put a global focus on his never-ending battle, but he remains, as always, committed to his adopted home and his roots as a Kansas farm boy from Smallville."
(Meanwhile, American director Zack Snyder just chose Brit actor Henry Cavill to take over from 2006 'Superman Returns' star Brandon Routh, for an upcoming reboot film.)
Is this recent disgruntled side of Superman temporary or permanent? Is he making an idle threat, or seriously turning on America? For now, in the comics world, it's a cliffhanger.