David Harsanyi at The Blaze suggests Supes really just wants to get out of paying criminally high taxes to a certain merciless Democratic president. "Perhaps Superman is one of those fat cat trust fund babies — his father was a Kryptonian scientist, after all — his real kryptonite the confiscatory taxation policy supported by the Obama Administration?"
Don Surber at the Charleston Daily Mail shakes his head at what he sees as naked opportunism: "The heirs of the Superman franchise hope to peddle more of their ware by adopting anti-Americanism." Surber adds that "the eternal adolescents who draw and write these things take way too serious a cartoon of a man who can somehow fly through the air and withstand atomic bombs," and shows how seriously he's not taking it by fuming, "Truth, justice and the American way are complicated? Only to small minds."
Jonathan Last at The Weekly Standard has no problem taking it seriously—he sees Superman's latest move as nothing less than a plunge into nihilism. Last writes, "the only truly interesting aspect of Superman’s character is his complete devotion to America" because it "establishes all of his moral limits." As a man without a country, "what, exactly, will he believe in?" (Last also writes that Superman renounces his citizenship because he "becomes disgusted with the U.S. government," which, as far as we can tell, isn't what's happening here.)
As several writers point out, Superman—the character and the property—already has, at best, a complicated relationship with America. "Joe Shuster, the man who first drew Superman, was Canadian," writes Aaron Goldtsein at The American Spectator. "David Goyer, who wrote the story, is also the screenwriter of the upcoming Superman movie directed by Zach Snyder and starring a British person as Superman," notes Paul Constant at The Stranger. And oh, yeah: Superman was always "very literally... an alien immigrant," as Laura Hudson points out at Comics Alliance.
Besides, as Steven Taylor observes at Outside the Beltway, "these things (like the death of Captain America) have a way of being impermanent." And also: "these things (like the death of Captain America) are done to generate PR and sell comics. Mission accomplished."
So maybe it's not worth worrying about. Indeed, Scott Thill at Wired offers a blessedly non-hysterical reading:
In an age rife with immigration paranoia, it's refreshing to see an alien refugee tell the United States that it's as important to him as any other country on Earth -- which in turn is as important to Superman as any other planet in the multiverse.
The genius of Superman is that he belongs to everyone, for the dual purposes of peace and protection. He's above ephemeral geopolitics and nationalist concerns, a universal agent unlike any other found in pop culture.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.