Must There Be a Superman?
In Only Son
J. Smith IV
March 23, 2016 at 2:17 p.m.
I have yet to see Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice but, I’m just as conflicted as anyone; perhaps even more than others. Is the ubermensch that we are presented with in Superman v. Batman: Dawn of Justice trailers the kind of hero that the DC Universe deserves?
I trek with the idea of Bruce Wayne as a heroic everyman and Aquaman is a king, but my problem with Superman is that he has no sovereignty: no legitimate authority to rule, to command, to direct or govern. So, who died and made Superman king? Who has established Superman as “a god among us?”
Answer: Friedrich Nietzsche
Through his narrative work Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzsche gave rise to the notion of ubermensch (translated “overman”) or, the “superman.” Zarathustra explains:
“…an overman is someone who can establish his own values as the world in which others live their lives, often unaware that they are not pregiven. This means an overman can affect and influence the lives of others. In other words, an overman has his own values, independent of others, which affects and dominates other’s lives that may not have predetermined values but only herd instinct.”
As any avid reader ofthe Injustice: Gods Among Us graphic novel will attest, Superman thrusts, clutches and rips the Joker’s bloody organ out of the clown’s chest: far beyond any notion of good and evil. What’s more, Superman doesn’t repent of Joker’s murder for Superman has transcended "good and evil”, just as Nietzsche felt that the overman was destined to do.
The death of Lois, by way of the Joker’s maniacal scheming, also provokes Superman to superimpose order upon the entire planet, enforcing peace under threat of grave consequences by Superman. People actually fear Superman!
In the graphic novel, individuals, heroes, villains and nations who stand opposed to Superman’s intolerance for any further violence on planet earth are met with extreme retribution by the most powerful being in the Digest Comics Universe! Because of his new found method, Superman divides members of the Justice League: chief among them, Bruce Wayne. Thus spoke Batman, against his former friend and JLA ally!
I like(d) Superman...
…back in 1979 when director Richard Donner convinced me that a man could, indeed, fly but, the question remains open to discussion.
What right or by what authority does Superman establish himself to dominate or enforce global peace? Like the DC Chess Collection pieces within my private collection, is Superman established as “king” or god by virtue of his incomparable power to other heroes?
Is Cavill's Superman in D.o.J. the Nietzschean ubermensch's "will to power" in effect?
Postscript: background artwork in photos by Mary Lalonde at Mary's Treasures & Floral Boutique