Monday, September 10, 2007
Superman #179 (April, 2002)
After a visit to Dr. Foster’s office, Superman foiled an armed robbery in Harlem. His efforts were ridiculed by local militant black hero Muhammad X. This “X” verbally ran the Man of Steel out of town with his guilt trip rhetoric. Kal-El looked first to his wife in Metropolis, then Natasha Irons and Star-Spangled Kid, and finally J’Onn J’Onzz in the Watchtower for solace and feedback.
“I recognized some of the names. Black Lightning, Mr. Terrific…”
J’Onn consoled, “It’s hard to keep track sometimes…Look, Clark, it’s only natural that someone Natasha’s age would respond to someone she sees as more like herself.”
“Then you agree with Muhammad X.”
“But Natasha, a black girl, looks up to black super-heroes—and the Star-Spangled Kid, a white girl, looks up to…well…me.”
“As she should. Not because you’re white, but because of your deeds and legacy. Heroes, by definition, are heroes.”
“J’Onn. Why don’t we have more black members in the J.L.A.?”
“Speaking as a green man, I don’t think it has anything to do with color. We’ve had plenty of members from all parts of the world…and the universe. We’ve offered membership to Black Lightning a half-dozen times. Some have other goals, other lives. Some heroes don’t want to work in groups—but I’d like to think that someone—anyone—who was qualified, he, she or it would be nominated. This man’s words bother you so much, not because you don’t care—but because you do care so deeply about doing the right thing.” Writer Jeph Loeb seemed to like having J'Onn around as a sounding board for Superman, and his appearance in this issue was drawn by frequent Manhunter artist Ariel Olivetti.