Justice

New Superman Issue Sums Up the Struggles Against Police Brutality

August 4th 2015

By:
Kyle Jaeger

DC Entertainment has undergone some major changes as part of its summer revamp, and one of the most compelling characters to come out of the latest series is a comic book superhero we all thought we knew: Superman.

Superman

Not only does the Man of Steel nearly lose his powers, but he also loses his anonymity when Lois Lane reveals his identity, leaving Clark Kent especially vulnerable. In "Action Comics" #41-42, created by Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder, Superman is barred from the Fortress of Solitude—the only place on Earth that connected him to his alien homeworld—and now he must combat an unexpected force, the Metropolis police.

Superman

The story puts the superhero at the center of growing conflict between the police and the people of Metropolis, many of whom are supportive of Superman. But others feel that he has wreaked havoc on the city by drawing supervillains to their territory. Police attempt to arrest him, and the situation quickly escalates.

Some have noted the parallels between this comic story and the social unrest that has emerged in cities across the country, where police have been pitted against civilians in protest. The illustrations that these comics contain reflect images from Ferguson and Baltimore, as Business Insider wrote. "Like in those cities, the smallest miscalculation can lead to utter chaos."

As Superman battles a monster, a group of Metropolis residents host a block party that gets interrupted by police in full riot gear. (Look familiar?)

Superman

Superman

One party goer becomes "unruly" and the commanding officer of the city police force orders his officers to march on the group. But Clark Kent, wearing jeans and a Superman t-shirt, shows up to restore order and civility to the event. He puts himself between the group and the police, using what superhuman strength his has left to send a message to law enforcement.

Superman

That message is one of that resonates, captured in this illustration. It was created by artist Aaron Kuder and colorist Tomeu Morey, who appeared to draw inspiration for the work from images of protest that have been regularly depicted in newspapers and on social media.

Superman

Though one of America's most iconic superheroes—the very embodiment of justice in the comic world—made an effort to stop the excessive force of the Metropolis police, they march on nonetheless, tossing tear gas throughout the streets and even injuring one officer who attempts to reason with a superior and dissents from the violence. The scene is captured on camera by photographer Jimmy Olsen, but it captured most poignantly in this one final illustration.

Superman

Superman has reached his breaking point, as even the most judicious and selfless citizens sometime can. It took unjustified police brutality to bring Superman to this point, making this comic all the more socially relevant.

"Krrraaakk." A powerful blow to authority, echoing throughout Metropolis. It was the comic punch heard around the country, a testament to progressive politics of comic books.

h/t Business Insider