After the shock and horror of the Newtown massacre dulled in me a little bit, I found myself thinking of Superman. Yale Stewart did this touching piece which he then sold the original inks on eBay for the benefit of a Newtown relief org for children. And I really wished, not for the first time, that the world really had a Superman.
Then I remembered this scene in Birthright. Superman stops a school shooting before anyone is killed and delivers the teen shooters to the cops. Then he finds the man who sold the shooters their guns and Superman pays him a visit.
This is a thing I especially like about Birthright. Superman gets angry. A lot of people think of Superman as the light to Batman’s dark, which is true in one sense. But I always think that is pretty simplistic. Kal-El has great capacity for light, for happiness, and hope, and for believing the best about humanity. But in this book, he is also capable of great righteous anger and the pursuit of revenge - not in an out of control way, he would never put anyone deliberately in danger, but in a very cathartic way. It’s a bit like the Biblical story of Jesus overturning the money changers’ tables in the temple.
Superheroes resonate because they do the things we are incapable of doing. Sometimes that means flying and being bulletproof. And sometimes that means taking sweet, perfect revenge on a shit stain of a person whose total lack of empathy endangered the lives of children.