Sunday, May 14, 2006

A John Byrne Mother's Day

In John Byrne's 1986 reboot opus The Man of Steel #6, Superman hallucinates that he is on Krypton, the planet of his birth. During the hallucination caused by an info download to his super-brain, he sees his parents and a random stranger in a hallway and is summarily rejected by all of them out of hand. Since in the Byrne reboot of the Superman mythos Jor-El was the nice one, this says something about Superman's psyche.

Overcoming her xenophobia Lara takes a moment to return, thinking that somehow the barbaric stranger in their midst is her arranged-marriage husband Jor-El. Since Lara has never seen Jor without his body-condom it is a simple mistake, one which she clarifies in a few moments by treating the visitor like a lab specimen. Swiftly, Lara concludes Superman's features are a combination of her and Jor-El's genes and that Superman is indeed her son.

Before Superman can learn in his dream if his mother accepts him, Lara transforms into his childhood sweetheart Lana Lang, a woman he once casually discarded like one would throw away an old soda can used as a makeshift spitoon.

John, John, John. Oh, my gosh...John.

If this was intentional, then Byrne is brilliant. If this theme was an accidental byproduct of the script then I truly hope that no one can ever actually create a machine to read minds. But if they do, I hope he never gets hooked up t0 one. And it better not have a publicly viewable 56" Thought Screen monitor. And if it does it better be turned off at all times.

In this one issue John Byrne displayed all the unresolved Mommy-issues that a God can have. He showed us the true motivations of why Superman is a hero. It sure isn't 'truth and justice' that drives him. While Batman is out in Gotham punishing all criminals for the death of his folks, Superman is trying to get the parental approval of the entire universe by being a good boy. I figure that Bats will succeed in his mission long before Superman will.

Of course, even John Byrne multi-layered nuances can't hold a candle to the icky creepiness of the Silver Age House of El.

Happy Mother's Day!

1 comment:

  1. The Silver Age house of El was straight out of Faulkner -- the father-son-mother-cousin dynamic of surpressed desires was beyond creepy -- at least no one was ever made to "squeel like a Kryptonian Thought Beast"...


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