Friday, April 06, 2007

Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 1 (Part One)

I just finished reading the first story in Showcase Presents Superman Volume 1 and, wow, that's some messed up shit.

The cover is to Action Comics #241 and has Superman carrying this giant key to a place called "Fort Superman"--which you know because it's written in the ground right in front of the giant door--claiming that he's the only one who can lift it, but someone has managed to break into his hang-out and he's kind of freaked out. Who can do such a thing? My first thought was that it was 100 men since that's how many men it would take to lift the key according to Supes.

The issue opens with a splash page of Superman sitting in a chair, using his heat vision to write in "MY DIARY." Apparently, Superman is a teenage girl. Like a teenage girl, he taunts any readers by being all "I'm going to do some top secret stuff, so I'm going to write it down--BUT I'M DOING IT IN THE LANGUAGE OF KRYPTON, SO TAKE THAT, MOM!" I'm mostly disturbed by the fact that he doesn't just have a diary, he has a giant diary.

The actual story begins with Clark, Lois and Jimmy out walking around and Lois sees a pearl necklace she wants and Jimmy sees a car he wants and Clark just keeps thinking "Maybe you guys will get those sooner than you think."

So, then he goes off and finds some pearls and goes to his Fortress of Solitude where he has rooms devoted to his friends complete with lifesize statues of them. Seriously, it is really fucking freaky. I'm mostly disturbed by the fact that Jimmy is posed with his hands in his pockets and winking.

In these rooms, Superman is building stuff for his friends. For Lois, that necklace. For Jimmy, that car. For Batman, a computer. BUT the catch is that they don't get any of this stuff until he dies. Wow, Superman is kind of a dick, isn't he? He can do all this, but then says they can't have any of it until he dies, which is god knows when AND it's trapped in his Fortress, which apparently only he can gain access to. What a cocktease.

He also has a room devoted to Clark Kent as well, because he wants to protect his secret identity even after he dies. The fuck?

Anyway, he does his thing and comes back the next day and inside, there's a note telling him that someone's been there and nah-nah-nah-NAH! he'll never guess who. Superman gets all worried and begins suspecting the animals he has caged up in some backroom and then starts having nightmares as more taunting notes show up. He gets so worried that passengers on a cruise ship heckle him for not carrying their damaged boat back to shore smoothly enough.

Finally, he discovers that the person who's been fucking with him is Batman, except Superman accidentally causes a cave in while carrying around some Kryptonite. Batman pops out and Superman is all "I trusted you and you've killed me, asshole!" So, Batman taunts the dying Superman by telling him step-by-step how he's been fucking with Superman.

And then Superman stands up, breaks them free because he was just faking. Take THAT, "World's Greatest Detective"!

When Superman asks why Batman was such an asshole, Batman reveals that it's because it's the anniversary of Superman arriving on Earth and Batman wanted to give him a puzzle to solve. And then they have a giant cake with candles featuring Superman and Clark Kent's heads set on fire.

What I learned from this story is that Batman and Superman NEVER liked each other, but hung out together because they felt they should. Batman is a detective, so he lords it over Superman and Superman has super-strength, which he then lords over Batman with the threat of death. They're both petty and jealous and like to fuck with each other's heads.

Oh, and there's a classic panel of Batman out shopping for a present for Superman. The guy is an insanely wealthy guy with a butler, but he still dresses up and GOES TO THE FUCKING MALL. There's a comic I want to read. "Batman Goes To The Mall." Every month, Batman goes shopping and we follow him from store to store. In the first issue, mall security hassles him. Brilliant. Put Grant Morrison on it, he loves these insanely retarded ideas from the Silver Age. But, then again, he did a lot of drugs, so we can't really blame him for thinking this stuff is good.