Superman: Heroes Confronts the Fatal Flaw of Zack Snyder's Man of Steelby Renaldo Matadeen
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Superman: Heroes #1, by Brian Michael Bendis, Greg Rucka, Matt Fraction, Kevin Maguire, Steve Lieber, Mike Perkins, Scott Godlewski, Mike Norton, Gabe Eltaeb, Paul Mounts, Andy Troy, Nathan Fairbairn, Troy Peteri, Simon Bowland and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
A major topic of contention in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel will always be the conversation Jonathan Kent had with a young Clark in the film's first act after he saved his classmates from a school bus crash. Clark pushed the vehicle back to safety but risked exposing his identity in the process. Many fans found how violent the entire story was on a whole difficult to get on board with, but it's how Jonathan advised Clark to stay in the shadows to keep his secret that initially set this dislikable tone for some.
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Jonathan basically told his son that sometimes he'd have to let people die and not be a hero so they wouldn't find out his secret, even if it meant letting his own family die. It was all about protecting Clark from the governments of the world because he was an alien refugee. While understandable, this idea ultimately goes against every principle Superman stands for. Luckily, Superman: Heroes #1 confronts this fatal flaw in Snyder's movie, framing a similar conversation in a much more inspirational and altruistic light.
In Superman: Heroes #1, a young Clark comes home frustrated from school and speaks with his dad. Jonathan is upset because he doesn't want to see Clark mad, whether it's over Lana or due to bullies, and they converse about his teenage angst. Clark feels like nothing's going his way and a lot of it is due to him hiding who he is and faking this identity as a human. But Jonathan encourages him to make the right decision when the day comes, whether it's saving mankind or outing himself.
His father doesn't give him Snyder's brand of dark advice and while they're not on a truck as in the film, the clothes, the barn setting and the intimacy clearly emulates Man of Steel. Jonathan tempers his wisdom and lets Clark know there'll be good times and bad ones, he just needs to know how to adapt. More so, he places faith and trust in his son, unlike Kevin Costner on the big screen who kept treating Clark like a boy, even when he became a man.
In Man of Steel, Jonathan should have trusted Clark to make the right decision. Here, the comic finds Jonathan telling Clark to think with his heart too. He wants the boy not to remain hidden, but to think of tomorrow by being careful and mindful. He still wants Clark to do the right thing and there's no way he'd ever let his son believe selfishly leaving people to die was just. It's a picture-perfect snapshot of the relationship they've had in comics and cartoons for decades and really scrubs away the sour taste Snyder left by having such a macabre exchange.
Costner's Jonathan felt morose, cold and cynical while this one is hopeful and filled with careful promise. The advice comic Jonathan gives rubs off on his son and Clark would use this as a catalyst to reveal his identity as Superman because ultimately, he knows what he wants for the future of the planet. As readers can see, Jonathan influenced Superman to becomes DC's brightest beacon of light.
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