As we all know, Superman isn’t the only metahuman (yeah, yeah he’s an alien, but you get the point) in the world. He’s also not the only hero with an idea about how best to protect humanity. In this adapted story (Action Comics #775 – “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & The American Way?”), Superman (George Newbern) meets The Elite (Coldcast, Menagerie, The Hat, lead by the punk rock looking, Manchester Black). Manchester is a mysterious and extremely powerful telepath and telekinetic that takes his team on a vigilante rampage to stop crime. Their form of vigilantism gains them worldwide fame and directly challenges Superman’s vision of what it means to be a hero and how heroes deal with villains.
Through a series of events, we get to see Superman not only challenged physically, but his very cause is brought down to it’s knees as he contemplates the very need for a “Superman”. Has the ideal of Superman become a thing of the past? Has the world moved on from truth, justice and the… I guess, the American way is a little too on the nose. However, Superman isn’t just fighting for the lives of the people, but their hearts as well.
One of the questions that was answered was what happens when Superman really, REALLY cuts lose. What happens when Superman decides to become what people think he should be and not what he’s trying to instill? What happens Superman decides to live by the fist instead of the heart? It’s a terrifying thought and I believed adequately showed why Superman is one of the most powerful beings in the DC universe and what it takes for him to keep all that power in check.
I slept on this story thinking it wasn’t going to be worth the effort, but… boy, I was wrong. The moral of this story: Be careful what you wish for. You may get it.