WARNING: This article contains spoiler for the DC Nation #0 story "Office Space" by Brian Michael Bendis and José Luis García López, in stores now.
To many old school Superman fans, the depiction of Big Blue in director Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice left something to be desired. Sure, Henry Cavill looked like the superhero had literally been cut out of a comic book, but his personality was far different from the version we'd read for the better part of a century. In the DC Extended Universe, Superman was a much darker hero, a product of the socially-aware world he inhabited. It was a more "realistic" approach to the character to be sure, but it's not exactly what longtime fans of the character wanted to see.
The problem wasn't just that Superman was a brooding character, it was that the circumstances surrounding him created a world in which this take made a certain cynical sense. In the movie universe, the Kryptonian was viewed as a menace to the world instead of the beacon of hope he was always meant to be. It's an interesting point of view to be sure, but one that goes against everything Superman stands for. And considering Brian Michael Bendis' comments regarding the character he's come to DC to write, it's not a surprise this is a point of view he and José Luis García López completely refute right off the bat in their DC Nation #0 story.
After offering readers a taste of things to come in a short story featured in Action Comics #1000, Bendis officially begins his Superm-writing tenure this week. This story doesn't start with the Man of Steel performing a superheroic deed, or with the introduction of a new threat emanating from the far reaches of space. No, it begins inside the Daily Planet, with Perry White addressing his journalists -- and here, it's appears that Bendis has a few choice words to say about the recent depiction of the character on the big screen.
"No one talk to me about Superman!" the editor shouts, "Unless it's based on truth. Anyone remember truth?" Yes, truth, the first part in Big Blue's mantra of Truth, Justice and the American Way. Perry goes on to say that he isn't interested in editorials and random letters regarding fear-mongering on the subject of Superman. "I don't want to print what he could do, I want to report what he actually does," he concludes.
This goes against the very idea of the hero in Batman v Superman, a film that went to great lengths to show the shift in power that the arrival of the god-like being represented. In Snyder's film, every news station reported on the Kryptonian's potential actions, while the public's view of the hero was that of a menace, a ticking time bomb that could annihilate all life on the planet, or declare himself supreme ruler. It's a point of view that even Bruce Wayne shared for a good portion of the film, and what ultimately led to the fight between the two superheroes.
What Bendis demonstrates with Perry White's dialogue is that, when it comes to Superman, people should focus and judge his character based on the actions he performs, and not what he might potentially, and quite frankly never, do. The scene tells us that Superman has done nothing but try to help, and this has only led to him being scolded and reprimanded, just in like in Batman v Superman. Now, it's time for this cynical point of view to come to an end.
Superman has never once given the people reason to doubt him, and he doesn't deserve to be treated with such hostility. He shouldn't be shouted at -- he should receive a warm welcome. He may be an alien come to Earth, but whether on the screen or the comic book page, he only wishes to help. And it's about time we let him do that once again.