The following comprises spoilers for Action Comics #1046, on sale now from DC Comics.
Superman’s Warworld mission has grow to be about extra than simply liberating the planet and unseating its tyrannical dictator, Mongul. The whole “Warworld Saga” has grow to be concerning the everlasting struggle of fine versus evil, with Superman and Mongul representing the epitome of every of those beliefs. There’s no query that the Man of Steel is pure of coronary heart, nonetheless, the best way that Action Comics highlighted that proved that the hero’s darkest second has been erased from continuity.
On his quest to retrieve the omnipotent Fire of Olgrun, Superman got here nose to nose with the Fire’s ethereal guardian in Action Comics #1046 (by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Fico Ossio, Lee Loughridge and Dave Sharpe). She was stunned to take a look at the Man of Steel, seeing his whole life and accomplishments, and discover that he had made it up to now with out killing a single individual. Although this looks as if an apparent remark, because it’s Superman in spite of everything, it really reveals that the Man of Steel’s most harrowing second is not a part of continuity.
The second in Man of Steel when Superman killed Zod was controversial. What most individuals do not know is that the hero was in the same scenario within the comics – however it was even worse than the function movie. In 1988, Superman traveled to a pocket dimension that contained a world not dissimilar to the DC Universe. In that world, a model of Lex Luthor launched General Zod and his allies Quex-Ul and Zaora. They proceeded to commit genocide, laying waste to that Earth. They had deliberate to do the identical to Superman’s personal Earth and would cease at nothing till that they had finished simply that.
In the ultimate difficulty of the arc, Superman #22 (by John Byrne, Petra Scotese and John Costanza), Superman determined that there was just one approach to cease them and took it upon himself to be their choose, jury, and executioner. He stripped them of their powers utilizing Gold Kryptonite. Then, he, personally, uncovered them to Green Kryptonite. Although they begged for his or her lives, the Man of Steel would not cease and continued on till the Kryptonite lastly ended their lives. This was a reasonably harrowing and impactful second. Superman has had a no-kill rule for the reason that very starting just for it to be damaged on the character’s fiftieth anniversary.
It wasn’t one thing that got here and went both. His execution of the three Kryptonian criminals had a significant impact on him within the comics that proceeded it. He had a nervous breakdown not lengthy after and, for a short while, turned the hero Gangbuster. He then went right into a self-imposed exile, venturing out into area to find whether or not or not he was worthy of even being Superman anymore. Oddly sufficient, this ended together with his first post-Crisis encounter with Mongul, through which he freed Warworld and deposed the tyrant, simply as he plans to do in Action Comics immediately.
Although it could have been an alternate actuality model of Zod, it was nonetheless homicide. As properly as that, it had a profound impact on the character, and the results of that act continued on properly after Superman #22. Even nonetheless, the truth that it affected the Man of Steel to the purpose of a psychotic break says lots. It was wildly out of character again then, and it nonetheless feels that method even now. Although each Henry Cavill and Christopher Reeve’s Supermen killed (or appeared to kill) Zod, each had been put in positions the place that they had little alternative. The Superman from the might have merely stopped with the Gold Kryptonite, leaving them powerless. Those results are everlasting. He did not must execute them.
The acknowledgment by this new all-seeing character that Superman has by no means killed removes this stain from his historical past. Although it was an attention-grabbing interval, seeing the Man of Steel cope with killing others, it took one thing away from the character. Superman ought to have the ability to discover a higher method, and killing these Kryptonians was completely something however. Now, nonetheless, he is been restored to that time he was at earlier than. He is the hero that everybody thought he was, even when it did take a significant retcon. It’s attention-grabbing, as Infinite Frontier, DC’s newest reboot, restored all of DC’s misplaced historical past. In idea, that might imply the execution of Zod, Quex-Ul and Zaora. The indisputable fact that it clearly does not, as said right here, reveals how vital it’s that the character isn’t a killer. Not simply on this story, however as an entire.