DC Entertainment

Superman has always spoken to the idealized, "traditional" American experience. In a recent storyline, though, the Man of Steel deals with a much darker part of modern-day America: police brutality.

In 2011, DC pushed the “soft” reboot button on every single one of its titles. The stories focusing on Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman were paused, reimagined, and reintroduced with a new set of series that began at #1.

Advertisement

DC called it the New 52 (referring to the 52 titles that it would be publishing). It changed everything. The move was meant to streamline DC’s mainstream universe and give readers a chance to get back into the comics without needing to be entirely caught up on decades’ worth of complicated backstory.

DC's newly rebooted Justice League.
DC Entertainment

Batgirl regained the ability to walk and a more violent, openly gay version of Batman is now fighting crime alongside secret agent Nightwing. The ramifications of the New 52 are still developing throughout DC, but the impact it’s had on the company’s most iconic hero is perhaps the most intense.

Advertisement

In this new universe, Lois Lane revealed Superman’s secret identity and the bulk of his powers are diminished to the point where he’s your “average” superhumanly strong hero. Though the post-52 Superman is a far cry from his former self, the Metropolis police remember him as being an unstoppable force responsible for attracting every kind of villain to their city. Even though Superman’s saved them countless times, they blame him for everything.

=
DC Entertainment

Though he's virtually powerless, Superman stands in defense of a crowd of humans who have mixed feelings about the role he's played in the destruction of Metropolis. Some love him, others fear him.

Advertisement

DC Entertainment
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 25: Protesters and police clash in front of LAPD Headquarters as people react to the grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who had shot dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, in the early morning hours of November 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Police officer Darren Wilson shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, sparking large ongoing protests. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Getty Images
DC Entertainment

Advertisement

The parallels between the Metropolis PD's reaction to Superman's refusal to abandon a group of peaceful protestors and the reactions of the police forces in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, and other cities are striking.

DC Entertainment
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 25: Protesters and police clash in front of LAPD Headquarters as people react to the grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who had shot dead an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, in the early morning hours of November 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Police officer Darren Wilson shot 18-year-old Michael Brown on August 9, sparking large ongoing protests. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Advertisement

The police, fearful and misunderstanding, react without thinking, lashing out against the crowd.

DC Entertainment
FERGUSON, MO - NOVEMBER 25: Police stand guard near City Hall during protests on November 25, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. Over 2,000 Missouri national guardsmen are being deployed a day after demonstrators caused extensive damage in Ferguson and surrounding areas following a St. Louis County grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown. (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Advertisement

As the canister of gas meant to suppress the crowd goes flying into the air, people snap pictures and brace themselves for contact. In the real world, protestors have been gassed, arrested, and pushed back. Unlike in the real world, though, the protestors of Metropolis have Superman by their side, standing up against police brutality.

DC Entertainment
DC Entertainment