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JUSTICE LEAGUE: A NEW CAMELOT?

September 7, 2012

Why the Power Couple?  Or as Present Day Booster Gold put it so succinctly for the entire DC Comics fandom in Justice League International Annual #1 (also co-written by Geoff Johns) just before he disappeared:  “WHAT THE HELL?”

Yes, I realize DC Comics couldn’t have the Power Couple if Clark and Lois were together, it would ruin all the iconic characters.  And this may be only a diversion to show how Superman and Wonder Woman just don’t work as a romantic couple.  Especially with Diana’s not understanding why Clark has a human identity, a very important component to the character and his history.  But there’s another aspect in Justice League that people don’t seem to be examining.

Steve Trevor.  Brought back to mainstream comics after a quarter of a century absence as Diana’s love interest.  Johns established not only Steve Trevor but how he and Diana felt about each other.  It was apparent to the members of the Justice League how she responded to this modern day warrior, especially when she thought he was dead.  She was going to kill the villain, Graves.  (Remember, Superman doesn’t kill.  Big difference in mindsets.)

Steve Trevor heading  ARGUS has been keeping the Justice League away from the political red tape and interference as well as cleaning up the collateral damage the team has done FOR FIVE YEARS.  Surely Trevor has some kind of relationship with the rest of the Justice League or they at least have feelings about the work he has done for them?  He is their advocate to the world.  Do they consider him a friend?  A good man?

Or don’t the heroes in the lofty Watchtower deign to communicate with ‘the little people’ who bust their ass for them?

Superman is a people person.  He saves them all.  He keeps them from harm.    But could he have saved Steve Trevor from further humiliation?

Trevor was dumped by Diana a second time (‘for his own safety’) and then fired from his job because he was ‘not far away enough’.  The man had been publicly humiliated time and time again the first time she dumped him.  The press asking him if she was having a relationship with Superman or Batman?   And now she removes him from his job which protected her and the reputation of all the Justice League members.

Steve Trevor saved the lives of  the Justice League from Graves and this is the thanks he gets?  Superman takes up with Diana because they’re both lonely?  Was he just waiting for an opportunity?  This loneliness appeared despite the fact that Clark has been a reporter at the Daily Star and then Daily Planet during this time.  Communing with humanity.  Knowing Lois Lane for five years.

Would Superman do that to a ‘friend’ when he obviously knew that Diana had feelings for Trevor?  Not my Superman.

And what does this make Diana look like?  She again broke up with the man she escaped Paradise Island with and came to man’s world for.   And then while he’s in a hospital bed, she fires him.   Only to hook up with Superman that same evening because there’s no one like them.   Never knew Diana was flighty.

Johns has to walk with cat-like tread here or he’s going to lose fanbases and the legends/franchises that people love.

The characters in the Justice League aren’t exactly like they are represented in their own books.  Wonder Woman’s book is horror based as she deals with human friends and gods.  Trevor isn’t in it.  She is now the daughter of Zeus, which makes her supernatural since her father is a diety.  Clark has problems with that.

In his books, Superman/Clark and Lois Lane’s relationship has been put on hold probably for the stunt we’re beginning to see now, a year after the reboot.    DC gave her a boyfriend which we have seen twice in a year.  He’s a foreign correspondent so it’s not a day to day relationship like she would have with Clark for five years until she was promoted.  Mustn’t have Clark and Lois in the same vicinity until Diana gets her hands on him – is this DC’s line of thinking?   This tact has proven to be detrimental to Superman’s books, especially since DC rebooted the entire universe to get rid of the Kent marriage (to save the character’s reputation from divorce, etc.)

Why bring Steve Trevor back and make him a star of Justice League?  I’m reminded of something Grant Morrison put in Action #12.  (see panel above) The Justice League is looking out from the Watchtower and Clark says, “It’s like a new Camelot.”   DC Comics at a writers’ retreat in October, 2010 worked from the premise of how to put Superman in a love triangle.  He was married to Lois Lane at the time and had been for 15 years.  The love triangle is not Lois/Clark/Diana.  It is Steve Trevor/Diana/Clark.  Steve is the guy who has built this round table of heroes with the belief that might doesn’t make right – but being right makes might.   He is King Arthur, an honorable hero – and will return with the Justice League of America in 2013, whose members will be workhorses for justice instead of rock stars with a paparazzi and TMZ following.

We have seen through a dissipating Booster Gold’s eyes that the kiss of loneliness was wrong and was done out of weakness.   It was not right.  Neither ‘hero’ was being true to their hearts or themselves.   This will destroy the Justice League and the future.   Just as Camelot was destroyed.  How many lives will be considered collateral damage from it?  Will Clark take on that guilt trip?

I take heart in the fact that Steve Trevor is back and Johns is making him THE HERO of the story.  Forget the flash and promotional propaganda of the stunt.  In the story, Steve Trevor is THE MAN.  A human who takes on phenomenal risk but will see his reward.  A safer world.  If he did it for love, then that makes him an even more engaging and romantic figure.

Was the five year period of the Justice League their ‘one brief shining moment’ before all hell broke loose?  ‘King Arthur’ seems defeated and appears to be cuckolded by ‘Lancelot’ with the whole world watching.  How can a mere human survive such an onslaught?  By doing the right thing and following his heart.  Inspiration for heroes and humans alike.

Lois is still in Clark’s narrative in Action and Superman.  As of Action #12, Grant Morrison has been turning up the emotional heat on their story.  Scott Lobdell, new writer on Superman, had Clark in Superman #0 thinking of Lois, missing her, and loving being amongst humanity.  He has stated that he sees Clark and Lois as besties and that sometimes it takes a long time for a relationship to develop.   There’s hope here, which is all a Superman fan needs.

Justice League can do what it wants.  There’s no stopping it.  But in the meantime, Clark in his books may be developing the triangle for two which fans have loved for nearly 75 years.   Lois Lane is not an interchangeable character with some other female character, no matter how iconic the other woman may be.  Lois accepts Clark both as the farm boy turned journalist and the alien with super powers.  Their love story is about acceptance, building a life despite the odds and building a better world.  They give us hope.

This Spring will mark the 75th anniversary of the publishing of Superman’s story.  Action #1, 1938.  Let’s hope DC Comics shows that event the respect and due diligence it deserves.  Also in the not so distant future is the Man of Steel movie in June, 2013 which depicts a Superman and Lois Lane kiss.

The stunt may prove to show how Clark and Diana agree to be friends, but not loves.  Clark and Lois are not likely to date within Justice League – it’s not that kind of book.  Action and Superman may give us that aspect of their lives.   Superman fans would love to see how their couple gets together in the current modern world.

Unlike King Arthur, Steve Trevor will rise again in early 2013 with Justice League of America.  Johns says that its personnel were hand-picked by Trevor.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the Trinity War which we have been getting hints of since last May.  Hopefully this all will be done and dusted by Spring of next year.  And then DC will move onto something else and leave our Superman to his Lois.  As it should be.

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