Monday, March 2, 2009
Adventures of Superman #596 (11/2001)
With the entire planet rebuilding from the war, the Man of Steel royally slacked off, and was telepathically contacted...
"Kal...? Kal...Are you getting this?"
"Go ahead, J'Onn."
"The other League members are all accounted for. Even Batman... While Plastic Man and I are in the Monitor Womb, coordinating worldwide cleanup and reconstruction. You haven't checked in yet."
Plastic Man interjected, "I've checked the list! He hasn't even blown out a fire! The freakin' Atom neutralized alien airborne bacteria in Mongolia! And our resident Man of Steel is what... catching the latest wave of reality programming?!" This was particularly funny, because Clark had actually been sitting on the couch, flipping between news stations.
"Superman... we've got Flash and Green Lantern turning the earthbound wreckage of a Tamaranian slidership into a Canadian landfill. They've been working around the clock to help preserve a sense of normalcy to the world. We're all pushing ourselves to the limit. But some League members are beginning to wonder...where are you? We're all well aware of what you've experienced during this conflict. What you went through. If there's something you're not telling us--"
"Look J'Onn...can we talk in private..."
"Very well...It's just you and I now on a singular telepathy wave."
"I'm...not sure what to tell you, J'Onn. The fallout from this war has been far more than I ever could've predicted... We all share the grief of Aquaman's disappearance. But now... my father is also missing. I've done a general search, under the guise of 'observing the reconstruction'. In fact, I haven't been paying that much attention. Maybe I should be..."
Again, Plastic Man jumped in to alert Manhunter, "Hold on to your Chocos... We've got trouble in Antarctica." Once Manhunter commented, "We're tapped out, personnel-wise..." Superman broke up his busy day of watching other people rebuild Earth and investigated.
After a brief skirmish with the Weather Wizard, Superman passed by a construction site, and saved a worker who nearly plunged to his death. President Luthor was present, and noted, "Quite impressive. But before we give you a medal for your actions, consider this...Instead of having to perform a daring rescue at the last possible moment, you could've prevented this from the very beginning! With your immeasurable power, there's no reason why you shouldn't be involved in the rebuilding process! Instead, you've been sitting on the sidelines, passively observing as the rest of us toil and struggle to put the world back together! You could've done repairs in less than a day...and thus, these dangerous working environments wouldn't need to exist!"
Superman acknowledged the truth in that, but excused himself with, "Humanity has to rebuild itself. If I do it for them, it means nothing." Luthor skewered the Subjective Logic of Steel under these extraordinary conditions (alien invasions and all,) but the man Superman had just rescued came to his verbal defense. "I don't need anyone livin' my life for me," a sentiment not expressed while being saved by a flying man, and I'm sure in no way motivated by a sense of gratitude.
This issue had the misfortune of shipping in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy, making Superman’s attitude all the more abhorrent. This was written by Joe Casey, and offered a rare look at the late Mike Wieringo’s take on J’Onn J’Onzz.