Robot 6

Is Superman still renouncing his citizenship?

The Internet may have exploded when Superman announced his intention to renounce his U.S. citizenship last month in Action Comics #900, but there was no similar hullabaloo two weeks ago when he kissed and made up in Superman #711.

What should we make of this apparent reversal in attitude? Is Superman #711 even meant as a commentary on Action #900? Doubtful. The issue of citizenship isn’t even brought up. Most likely it’s a case of left and right hands not talking to each other.

One of the most frustrating things about keeping up with corporate characters across multiple series is these inconsistencies. Usually it’s just something like, “Hey, why is Batman teaming up with Wonder Woman in this story? They just had a huge, unresolved fight over in Detective Comics.” But when it involves a story that received national attention from the general news media, it’s especially jarring.

As a reader, how do you resolve these situations in your mind? Do you even feel it’s an issue? Do you think Superman is still going to renounce his citizenship? Do you believe he ever really was?

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19 Comments

I think it was just a stupid story from David Goyer trying too hard, with no real significance in the DC Universe.

The two aren’t mutually exclusive. He’s renouncing his citizenship (as Superman, not as Clark Kent) so his actions globally don’t reflect on the country or the government. However, he still holds American values and believes in the American ideal.

Mark Kardwell

May 26, 2011 at 12:24 pm

Come the revolution, Superman will be the first comic book up against the wall. Lackey. Imperialist running dog. Lickspittle.

Personally wish fans wouldn’t be so ungawdly hung up on all this. It limits storytelling potential, and hampers creativity when people get caught up in every dotted T and crossed I.

As a regular Superman reader, I don’t necessarily disagree with the dilemma Goyer posited. Superman’s status as a weapon of mass destruction and the international fallout has been explored before, including during Rucka’s run circa 2005. It is definitely the elephant in the room, and only Elseworlds series like Red Son have really explored the political ramifications. Given how we want to think how Superman sh/could operate in the world of the DCU, its hard to imagine without the UN going silver age and bestowing Superman with Super-citizenship so he can act as a responder in crisis situations.

But without fleshing out the story to full explore the ramifications, I kind of agree with @Paul above.

I’d point to yesterday’s release of Action #901 that wasn’t shy about asking Superman to stand up for the good ‘ol USA/ Earth when it comes to how I think DC will approach the topic. But, yes, it stinks that this made its way onto Fox News Saturday morning coffee hour.

As far as this particular story, I reconcile it just by thinking that he can still proclaim himself as a citizen of the world, but still be proud of American ideals and what the country should stand for.

But in other cases, like your aforementioned Batman/Wonder Woman example, I just chalk it up to timing. Even though the issues may have come out in the same month or even week, they’re probably not taking place at the same time. Think about it… a six issue story arc may take place over the course of just a few days of story time, even though it’s been six months for us, the reader. Meanwhile, another comic may be moving through time in a brisker, or even slower pace. So the Batman/WW feud may have happened last issue in the one title, but the other title may be behind by days/weeks/months in that story’s timeline.

Simply put, I don’t expect timelines to jive between different comic series’ on a month to month basis. At least that’s how I reconcile it. And even if that rationale doesn’t work out precisely for whatever reason, I don’t sweat it. Really, it’s not that huge a deal. The momentary confusion or even annoyance will be forgotten.
-r-

Logan's Midnight Runner

May 26, 2011 at 12:50 pm

What does it matter now, DC back peddled on the story and said they won’t follow it up.

IMHO the citizenship story was never meant to go anywhere, it was a one-off comment in a side story inside an landmark comic. If DC ever intended to follow up on this, it would have happened during a huge story arc, in a full-page spread and would have been marketed to death. No this was just a case of an otherwise irrelevant sotry catching the public’s eye because it featured Superman.

Superman cannot renounce his US citizenship. He is an illegal alien from another planet. He was not born in the US and his parent were aliens and he never naturalized. The only legal ground he would have to stay here would be to seek asylum.

To further muddy the waters, in Action #901 (out this week), President Obama tells Superman that “your country needs you.”

On the upside, at least now we know who the President of the United States is in the DC Universe. :-)

I have to agree with Jeff on this. Superman is the ultimate illegal, no? As for reconciling storylines, if you buy all of a characters line you understand I think that all the stories do not take place at the same time. Which is why it annoys me to no end how Marvel and DC try to arrange all their continuity, as if such a thing is possible, to mesh together. I understand when you’re doing something like Fear Itself or Flashpoint but now a days they do it with everything. They’re trying to sell the whole line not just one Hulk issue. Which is counter intuitive to actually selling anything. You have to buy all the appearances of Captain America in all these books … why can’t they be set in different times and be different stories? And no you really don’t have to buy all of Captain America’s or Superman’s appearances but when one issue of a book makes such a big deal about something that happened in another book rather than just to foot note it or recap it quickly and get it out of the way or even not mention it, the whole thing becomes cumbersome.

I just accept that all stories take place in their own time. There’s also so many different creators I pick and choose what continuity I like. If I don’t agree with something on Superman or Wonder Woman I just don’t buy the book wait a few years, someone else comes in and changes everything. Simple. I don’t try to reconcile all continuity I take what I like and move on because honestly it will change in a week or a month or a year. *shrugs* I don’t like a lot of what goes on in most comics now a days which is why I’m reading Disney books and Teen Titans and back issues or Red Robin whatever catches my fancy.

Comics would benefit a lot more from being more disposable and cheaper entertainment that wasn’t so bogged down on all these silly little issues, like Superman’s citizenship and just be done in one stories with maybe an overriding storyline but as many people point out. Nowadays books are written for trade formats, not the casual reader. And I wouldn’t mind if the UN gave Superman a special citizen of the world kind of commendation or something … but I’m sure people would find issue with that. It’s like Spiderman and his organic web shooters … this too shall pass.

He’s a damned illegal alien and never deserved citizenship in the first place! Ma and Pa Kent (i guess just Ma) should be tried and hung for harboring an illegal, with lord knows how many weird diseases.

by the way, im being facetious.

SUPERMAN IS NOT AN ILLEGAL ALIEN

In the United States if you are found under the age of 5 then you get to be a US citizen under the Foundling Statute.

People often forget or ignore the fact that the United States actually has one of the most incredibly open and inviting immigration policies in the world.

Furthermore, Clark Kent was BORN in Kansas from the artificial womb in which he was transported to Earth.

We all know that these alternate view points expressed by the same character are a product of different writers, so why is their any question as to how they can be reconciled? Continuity is a thin illusion. There is no continuity other than what aspects of a character or story a particular writer might be inclined to include in their work.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

May 26, 2011 at 8:02 pm

One of the most frustrating things about keeping up with corporate characters across multiple series is these inconsistencies.

Most likely it’s a case of left and right hands not talking to each other.

I think it’s more likely that the ‘big name’ creators of the short stories at the back were given a free hand to do what they want – two of the stories had the same last line after all.

I find it more odd that actual comic readers would consider a back-up story written by a non-regular creator to have any significance in the ongoing continuity at all.

This weeks Superman #901 is the more likely candidate for a response to the story in #900 – Obama calls to Superman directly, in a sequence drawn by an artist who isn’t mentioned in the solicitations for the issue.

Given the timing, I don’t think the Superman #711 story can be a reaction to the Action #900 one. More likely, it’s just a case of different writers on different projects.

It doesn’t necessarily bother me; the character has been around a long time and has survived multiple incarnations. It is a little coincidental to have these so close together, even though, as a previous poster said, they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive points of view.

Foundling Statute–Cool. I’m an immigration lawyer and never heard of it, maybe because 8 USC 1401(f) has almost never been used. Not sure it helps Mr. Kent–it applies to persons of unknown parentage–not fair to Kal-El’s father Jor-El and mother Lara–who have not been shown to be born outside the US before 21, which also does not apply. If we use his old date of birth he can be recognized as a lawful permanent resident under the provisions of 8 USC 1259 based on an admission to the US prior to 1972 (although he technically was never admitted to the US, but made an entry without inspection). I think his best bet is asylum, based on persecution from General Zod.

I’m sorry, but there is no way that last page or so wasn’t meant to smooth things over from the 900 debacle. Even though people were up in arms about something so incredibly dumb (the story itself was weak, but I honestly couldn’t care less if Superman renounced his citzenship. It actually makes quite a bit of sense when you think about it. His argument was a sound one, and it’s not as if Clark was renouncing his citzenship as well), the fact is that people got all pissy over something so ultimately trivial. Anyway, considering the complete change in tone for those final patriotic panels, I’d say it was a last minute addition. Seriously, it was the campiest writing for Superman that I’ve seen in years. Superman is my hero, but I’m surprised they didn’t cap off his big ol’ love letter to Uncle Sam with an “aw shucks”.

“This weeks Superman #901 is the more likely candidate for a response to the story in #900 – Obama calls to Superman directly, in a sequence drawn by an artist who isn’t mentioned in the solicitations for the issue.”

Yeah, that looks more like the last-second back-peddling that DC Comics has become infamous for lately.

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