Superman vs. the Elite (2012)


Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

This should really be called Superman vs. The Authority. Because that’s what it is (The Authority have been reimagined as a smaller group called The Elite, but the parallels are, of course, glaring). So if you ever wondered how that would go down, this is how. Spoilers: he beats them.

Me, personally, I never wondered how that would play out, because these characters exist in vastly different comic book realities. And the fact that I kinda really loved the first couple of volumes of The Authority made me actively feel as though I didn’t want to see this confrontation. Let me just enjoy Superman and The Authority individually, please, and for different reasons.

And there’s an additional irony, of course, in the notion that The Authority, itself, is meant to be a sort of deconstructed version of The Justice League. But I won’t go there.

There were, to be sure, bits that I liked in this narrative. It isn’t an unworthy plot idea to want to explore how Superman’s version of truth, justice, and the American way fit into a post-9-11 worldview (I don’t believe that 9-11 actually happened in the DC universe, so this is just a meta commentary embodied in the comic book world by villains being more difficult to define and solutions existing in more of a grey area). At the same time, the structure of the story is a bit heavy-handed.

If nothing else, it’s just a bit difficult to reconcile the fact that members of the Elite go from worshipping Superman to wanting to kill him within a matter of days, and then, apparently, half the world basically going along with it just because Superman’s not cool anymore. I think the creators just tried to cram too many ideas into too short and lightweight a story.

Oh, also, –BEGIN SPOILERS– Superman lobotomizes a guy with his heat vision at the end. No joke. –END SPOILERS–

With all of that said, it was entertaining. But I wouldn’t recommend it over All Star Superman, which contained a lot more of what I consider to be the quintessence of the character.

By the way, animated version of The Authority, please!