Warning: SPOILERS for Action Comics #1006
The idea of a violent, intimidating Superman may be deemed "too dark" by some comic book fans, but the Man of Steel's most iconic destruction of property has just been returned to current DC Comics canon.
We're not talking a movie version of Superman, but the very first image of the superhero that the world ever saw. Because when Action Comics #1 first debuted on newsstands in 1938, the version of "Superman" that it boasted on its cover wasn't saving a kitten from a tree. He was holding a car over his head, and smashing in its front end to the horror of those around him. And thanks to the newest issue of Action Comics, the car, and the scene are confirmed to be back in canon.
Since it's a moment that the movies have already adapted - with Zack Snyder's Easter Egg the most faithful thus far - it only seems right for the comics to pay tribute, as well. (Alex Ross' homage to Action Comics #1 can be seen above, so feel free to join the waitlist.)
- This Page: Superman's Car Smash is Back in Canon
- Next Page: Will The New Canon Match Snyder's Superman?
Superman's Famous Car Smash is Canon (Again)
We'll hand it to Brian Michael Bendis, Ryan Sook, and the rest of the Action Comics team, because this tribute is just the latest in a growing list of homages and hidden bits of fan service in the series so far. It's a fitting time to remember Superman's past, what with Action Comics #1000 still fresh in fans' memory. But this incredible callback to Action Comics #1 (which ends the issue on its final page) is every bit as satisfying as it is ominous. Mainly because of who has the vehicle in their possession - clearly not a fan of the Man of Steel.
The identity of the comic's new supervillain is a mystery for now, even if her dedication to knowing her enemy is made perfectly clear. When the issue concludes with a peek into the operations of those working against Superman, the latest incarnation of the evil organization dubbed Leviathan, readers get more than they bargained for. Whatever this mystery woman has in store next, it begins by purchasing the Daily Planet whole cloth. Although it's her other purchase that is the real surprise: the same green sedan that Superman smashed in his first comic book appearance, kept in pristine condition.
The Story Behind Superman's Car Smash
The cover of Action Comics #1 has been parodied or homaged so frequently, it's hard to remember it is a bit of a strange scene. Superman is known for preventing destruction, not causing it (at least in the comics), and the terrified faces of those fleeing isn't what modern readers would expect from Superman's adoring public. Some will assume that's a product of Superman's early days, when both he and Batman physically punished criminals, and that is partly true.
But if fans these days prefer their Superman to be a guardian angel, and not an intimidating vigilante, then it's worth asking how the comics will depict this classic scene in the new canon. Because where the movies are concerned, Bryan Singer and Zack Snyder paid tribute in completely opposite ways...