Superman Week, day three – The Foes
We continue with Superman Week. Yesterday we looked at Superman’s friends, and today we’re going to focus on a few of his foes. Once again I am joined by by Ibrahim Moustafa (Artist of High Crimes) with Jordan Gibson coloring.
And as there are allies that reflect him, so are there opposites that allow us to see Superman for what he is. Today we’re going to discuss four of them:
Metallo – A cyborg powered by kryptonite. I mean, come on, a man who is both more and less than a man with a heart made of the remains of Superman’s home world. Symbolic on so many levels, he can be a great character to pull out. Though I do want to use him to discuss kryptonite itself briefly. I have always loved the idea that one of Superman’s biggest weaknesses was his own past. The planet he escaped is what can kill him.
Dwelling in the past can hold you down and stop you from ever going forward.
To have Metallo who, being a cyborg, is an embodiment of the future, powered by Superman’s deadly past is just kooky in that wonderfully symbolic comic book way.
Parasite – A guy who can absorb the powers of others and use them for himself. Simple, really. Nothing deep or shocking about Parasite, and yet that is what makes him work for me. The idea that he is simply a brute force example of “What if a bad guy had Superman’s power” while also being a great case for having to out think not out punch problems makes me smile. Not the biggest or the best but a solid well to go back to on occasion.
Bizzaro – The warped, backwards, clone of Superman. Bizzaro is easy to use in silly fun stories and that’s fantastic. He’s not a bad guy so much as he is just… backwards. He talks backwards and thinks backwards and has Superman’s powers but not his heart. He’s tragic really, when you think about it. Bizzaro knows he isn’t Superman, and yet he also feels that he is. He shows us what Superman fears he is -ultimately ineffectual. Through his buffoonish behavior we see someone who tires, and yet his actions are forever the opposite of what he seems to want them to be. But he never stops trying, much like Superman.
Lex Luthor – The billionaire genius. Lex could be a great humanitarian except he is too consumed by his own petty nature. He’s what Superman exists to correct. Lex Luthor is what is wrong with humanity – the jealously, the greed, the ease that he will throw anyone, friend or foe, under a bus to get what he wants. Look at Luthor’s behavior and you see why Superman exists and what he stands for.
It is through our enemies as much as our friends that we shall be known. Superman’s explore the world from his past, to his future to his moral center, each one showing us why we need a Superman, and why we must each be that person in our own lives.
We all know a Luthor, a Parasite, a Metallo and a Bizzaro.
We may think of them as our rival, a weakening of willpower, our past haunting us and the specter of who we fear we are – but we all have them. And the way to defeat them is to be our own Superman.