The New Superman Can’t Fly

DC Comics' revamp of the beloved superhero screws up the characteristics we love most about the Man of Steel

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s—no, it can’t be—Superman. Not anymore. And I’m pissed.

At 73, DC Comics’ Man of Steel is undergoing an Extreme Makeover, action-hero edition. With comic-book sales plummeting, DC is updating its entire line of superstars, beginning with the biggest. The new Superman hits stores tomorrow, and diehard fans will barely recognize the cut Kryptonian in tights.

Set “a few years back,” according to DC Comics, this Superman/Clark Kent is the very definition of revisionist history.

He’ll be butcher, brusquer and beached. Yes, beached, at least in the beginning. (Fortunately, he can still leap tall buildings in a single bound.) Superman not fly? Are you serious? Unless the dude has changed his sexual identity, why bother with the flowing cape?

The new Superman/Clark Kent lives alone and has never married. That will be news to Lois Lane, who wed him in 1996. Worse, Lois is dating somebody else at the Daily Planet, where she has a new job title.

Unlike the old Superman, who would rather eat Kryptonite than get angry, the new version will have a temper. Moreover, he’ll sometimes do battle with the police (!!!) and elected officials of Metropolis.

Our new hero won’t look the same, either. His body is Super-sized. (Is Jimmy Olsen selling steroids now?) His four-pack is a six-pack, and his quads pop off the page. Even his face is more chiseled. And his product-laden hair has spikes.

Costume-wise, say goodbye to the red trunks Superman’s been wearing since Lou Gehrig played for the Yankees. Ditto for the red boots and form-fitting turquoise costume. His new outfit is a foreboding suit of armor, in dark blue and maroon.

You get the picture. Superman 2.0, high-tech and fearsome.

I liked the former Man of Steel. What made the old comic book—and ‘50s TV show and movies—so endearing was the very campiness that’s been deemed expendable.

The old Clark Kent changed into his Superman duds in a phone booth. Try finding a phone booth today. What will he do—undress in a cell phone?

The old Superman was a veritable Boy Scout, who respected authority and never broke the rules. Now he’s a badass with a mad fashion sense.

When George Reeves, who played Superman on TV in the ‘50s, killed himself with a speeding bullet in 1959, I said it was a lie. How could Superman die? It was impossible!

I was seven years old, and I believed.

I still do, and there’s the rub. So long, Superman.