There are spoilers for comics published today and last week. below.
So, yes. Fathers and sons. Suddenly that seems to be what my superhero comic books are all about. But then, haven’t they always?
Last week in Action Comics, through a time travel device we saw Clark’s final moments with Jonathan Kent, his adoptive father, who never saw Clark grow into Superman, though he was his inspiration. Except we were then given the chance for the older Superman to meet his father before he died, to share a moment together and let his father know that everything worked out for the best. It was rather moving.
The same week, I read Nova #1 in which we see a teenager bullied at school (though fighting back) with a disappointment of a drunken wastrel father full of stories of being an intergalactic superhero that he just can’t believe. But this father doesn’t die, he continues to live, and disappoint.
Then today, in Guardians Of The Galaxy, we have the unknown son of the warrior ruler of the Spartax, abandoned on Earth (and please can we have one little This! Is Spartax! moment sometime?) and a son who never knew his father, and who loses his mother as a result of who his father is, now growing up into father’s role.
Also more bullying, also more fighting back, both the new Nova and the new Starlord end up in the hospital. But with Nova, Starlord and Iron Man, there are going to be lots of daddy issues in Guardians Of The Galaxy. Also issue 0.1 is pretty strong on the benefits of personal gun ownership in the Marvel universe, because you never know when your home security will be compromised by outsiders.
And today we have Batman Inc #8. In which it is specifically designed that this time, no matter how hard he tries, how fast he runs, how much he stretches, Batman Doesn’t Win. And whatever comes next, he’s failed.
So much classic storytelling has looked at that father/son relationship, from the rebellious to the abandoned to the betrayal. There was a time when everything was about cuckoos, characters raised in homes, lands, species that were not their own and Superman is a part of that, though it soon became clear how important the Kents were to his upbringing. But the superhero comic has classically looked to the father of the son. However the protagonist is usually the son, the son fights to live to their father’s memory, outdo their father, make their father proud. That’s been Batman’s story, until today. Because while fighting in the memory of his parents, Batman has now lost his own son.
There have been plenty of other strong father/son superhero comics of late, with Invincible, Savage Dragon, Ultimate Spider-Man and Fantastic Four sticking out. But suddenly there seem to be a concentration right now of superhero writers wanting to write about the relationship, with superheroics as an allegory for influence and legacy, the desire to provide it and the likelihood that you just won’t, no matter how hard you try.
Basically we’re all getting old.
Also, I’ve got two daughters. And I think there’s a host of different stories associated with that.
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London. And a special thanks to eCourier this morning.