Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Playing Favorites excerpts, pt 34

Every Tuesday I post excerpts from best selling at not selling super blog, Playing Favorites.   

Luthor thinks he’s doing humanity a favor--like a sloppier Adrian Veidt--but in reality he’s in it for himself. In fact, he pictures himself as a leader of humanity--asserting his ownership of it--but how much does he ever even get out of the US? I’d be interested in comparing Lex and Clark Kent (the conservative business man versus liberal reporter angle is obvious and I’m skipping it); world-owning homebody versus world-traveling learner. 

Batman’s motivation is more difficult to pin down. Yes, he’s fighting crime. Yes, his parents were killed in front of him. Yes, he would like a world where no child will ever have to watch his parents die in front of him. However, I’m not sure what Batman’s end goal is. I’m sure he has one; he’s The Goddamn Batman. He’s not The Punisher; venturing out into the night simply to act out against the evils that men do, content to know that he will not eliminate crime or improve the world, only that he has punished wrongdoing, and punished it again and will go on punishing it until there is no longer a Punisher. Then…nothing.  

Batman isn’t just a walking, flesh and blood spirit of violence, he can’t possibly seek to end all crime; he’s not a fascist. In fact, it’s rare (in my experience) that he’ll take on anything but violent crimes, drugs, and people who make deathtraps to kill/copy Batman. Granted, Lex is pretty myopic about what comes after his goals. “All-Star Superman” Lex wanted to rule the world his way, perhaps to make sure no one bought into that “lovey-dovey crap.”

In fact--and I’m not surprised by this--Henry Bendix of “Stormwatch” evokes Lex better than some Lexes. Bald, certainly, and smart, too, but really it’s the fact that when it comes down to it—and wow, Bendix also fought a Superman analog. Just wow—they’re both afraid of being in a better world. Afraid of watching the tainted, yet familiar, world pass from under them. Afraid of a system of mutual respect and equality where they can’t have people who question their obvious greatness shot in the head while eating dinner with their families. Afraid of being vulnerable because of that one chance in a million that when they open up that they’ll fall victim to someone like themselves.
No relevant pic. Please accept a Batmans instead.
In fact, Lex’s fascination for Lois makes sense because there’s no one more honest and more integral than Lois Lane. She’s a fighter like he is, whether his origin is as a self-made man from the worst streets of Metropolis or stole-it-from-daddy man from small-town Smallville, but she doesn’t compromise. She is a rare equal, but the problem is that Lex himself isn’t loyal or honest (I'll give you a moment to collect yourself after dropping that bomb). Being close to Lois would destroy him because he’s terrible and she would reveal that to the world (or demand he change, and really, who likes being nagged?). So instead--and I could not make this up--he built a robot Lois who acts pretty much like Lois, except that she takes his villainous bullshit in stride.

I’m not kidding. You can go to a store, pick it up and read it. This is a comic that came out in the year 2010 and it is awesome.

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