Zone 6: The Inadequacy of Superman

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60988-10943-93983-1-superman-red-sonMark Millar‘s “Superman: Red Son” is an alternate universe tale that presents to its readers what the Superman-verse would be like if he was landed in Soviet Russia instead of the United States. Thus, we are introduced to a world where Batman’s parents are murdered for their political views and transforms Bruce Wayne into a freedom fighter, who leads a coup against Superman, to overcome Superman`s Orwellian “Big Brother” approach to saving the world. What Mark Millar effectively delivers is essentially a narrative about the cold war and an insight into the minds of our superheroes, and how they relate to the world around them.

 In Millar’s universe, Superman grows up in a farm in Soviet Russia, and falls in love with Lana, who, after having been witnessed by Superman lining up for food with her children, inspires him to accept the responsibility of leading the country in solid dictatorship.

Superman’s rise to fame is what spurs the Cold War to shift from nuclear weapons to the building of super humans. What comes out as a result is a horrifying league of super mutants – creatures that lack the motivation and back story that creates super heroes. Thus, the mutants created in defense of the United States becomes the physical manifestations of the fear and apprehension so dominant during the Cold War, an effective tool in demonstrating the effects the Cold War had on its people.

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Waiting for Godot by cloistering

Waiting for Godot by cloistering

On most days, I stare at her pictures, wondering what it’s like to be her.

I try to emulate the happiness that burst out of her chest when she walked down the streets of London, waiting for Godot, searching for that pint she would gladly sip at the corners of her lips while smiling erratically, nodding enthusiastically to every Pinter reference blasted across her way, in dashes and ellipses.

I try to encapsulate the curiosity that filled the girth of her mind as she scanned pages upon pages of dust-covered literature, as she traced with her fingertips,

the cupids and the monks decorating this goliardic poetry — and I wonder, with intensity, how many times she’s read The Divine Comedy, with her legs curled under her, her blonde hair forming an illusionary halo that floats in perpetuity, for she loves to chase the sun when she reads.

Chase – may not be a good verb for someone so sedentary, as she was so pedantically described. But I like to see her as vibrant, as a one-woman wonder made of superheroes all DC-like, the strength of Supergirl with the graciousness of Selina Kyle, combined with the sarcastic humour of Amaya, topped with girl-next-door realism and you’ve got the perfect woman. Although that could just be the wishful thinking in me.

On most days, I sit back and think about what it’s like to be loved and adored as much as she was, that a wordplay on her name became the one signifying, all-encompassing, all-encapsulating word to describe the entire life of one person: marzipan (don’t think I didn’t catch that). I wonder if she will ever know about my existence, who pines for her life, who longs for the normalcy and intelligence she emanates.

Although I guess, as most of her admirers will go, we will always remain unnoticed, and prefer to be unknown.