The Important Issues: Superman's American Citizenship

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 29 2011 1:47 PM

The Important Issues: Superman's American Citizenship

My friend Joshua Elder pointed this out first, I think, but Doug Wolk explains it all . That new issue of Action Comics wherein Superman renounces his American citizenship? Actually not a big deal.

Superman, it turns out, has recently visited Tehran, where he joined a demonstration and stood, silently, for a day, in solidarity with the protestors. The government of Iran has decided that Superman's acting on behalf of the U.S., and that his presence was an act of war; Superman responds by saying "I intend to speak before the United Nations tomorrow and inform them that I am renouncing my U.S. citizenship. I'm tired of having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy... I've been thinking too small. I realize that now."

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This is a bit out of my wheelhouse, because I've only ever succeeded in accidentally placing political messages in Ed Brubaker's Captain America comics . But this reads like a naive plot, not an anti-American one. It's arguably less controversial than the 2006 decision to joke about the "... and the American way" part of Superman's slogan in Superman Returns . There is no anti-American animus in Superman/Clark Kent's decision.
 
But there is a whiff of what anti-sharia bloggers like to call "Dhimmitude." Why doesn't Superman, confronted with this problem, wrap a steel rail around Iran's political and religious leaders and ship them to the Hague?

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.