So, I was reading Superman outings trying to understand what Kal-El means to all of us. It was somewhat true that I regarded Superman as a caricature, a character who was flawed because of his own perfection. It was true too, to an extent. In my childhood, Superman was the idealist upholder of morals that I used to look up to. However, as age has weighed down upon me I have come to reflect upon the fact that his morals above all, cost him his humanity.
I would go as far as to say that I understand Luthor’s rage. I understand that he cannot tolerate the policing of a person who above all is an alien. I understand the need for a human hero on Earth.
See, however, much we hate superman we cannot say that we do not need him. He is powered to the point that he becomes annoying but, he is also the saviour. In a world of superheroes who continuously keep struggling to uphold their own version of morals, he is as Godly as they come. He is someone who continues to be true to himself even in face of Armageddon.
This is the one thing about Superman that I admire the most. He is the Saviour, above all, he is a saviour of human kind. It might be questioned what gives him a right to be a saviour to a species that he does not even belong to? It is a strange question but, I believe it is fair, it is fair because above all, Superman has always been more open to criticism than most. He has faced the world with the same level of commitment again and again. What about him being from a different species? Well, that makes him impartial, that makes him above the vengeance and the staunch bravery that drives others. he is not driven by anger like Batman, he is not driven by duty like Green Lantern, he did not gain his powers from a certain unusual occurrence like Spiderman, he is driven above all by the need for justice.
If Superman were to be compared to the army, he would be the extraction team, the one that pulls people out of war instead of killing them. Batman would probably be NAVY Seals, an altogether more glorious position but, perhaps a tad bit less human.
The thing is we can relate to all the other men who cast themselves among Gods. We can relate to Batman, to Flash to all the other mighty beings because they simply are human. With Superman, because he is so unyielding, so great in his position, we cannot relate to him. However, that does not make him unnecessary. In fact, among all the other superheroes he might be the one we need the most.
There might come a day when we do not need a vengeance driven sociopath who delivers justice in his own terms, there might come a day we do not need a person with speeds that can travel through world, there might come a time we do not need a guardian of the galaxy but, we would always need a boy scout. Even if he does not serve as a guard.
We need the boy scout to remind us of who we need to be…