‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’

DC Comics
Crisis on Infinite Earths, 1985-1986

Crisis on Infinite Earths is a company-wide DC comics crossover that featured 60 superheroes and a number of Earths from parallel universes that had been part over the years of DC Comics shared fictional universe.

A History

Flash #123, 1961

The fictional concept of the DC multiverse begins with the adventures of the JSA and the JLA central to which was the Flash. During the 1940s, after the debut of Superman in Action Comics #1 (1938), several costumed heroes surfaced such as Batman, Green Lantern, Flash and Hawkman. This introduced the concept of a shared universe where the characters would come to associate and go on adventures in the same stories under the flag team the Justice Society of America or JSA. This established that these characters existed in the same world. During the 1950s, the JSA’s adventures would come to an end.

In 1956, Showcase #4 with the Flash would revive the concept of the superhero team. This new Flash named Barry Allen and not Jay Garrick would find success and would soon be given his own title. Three years later, characters such as Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), and Flash alongside Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter (introduced in 1955) would form the Justice League of America or JLA. 

In 1961, Flash #123 firmly established the fictional concept of the DC multiverse. It published a story titled “Flash Of Two Worlds” where Barry Allen, the Flash met the old Flash, Jay Garrick. 

The story explained that the two heroes existed on parallel Earths existing in the same space but vibrating at different frequencies.Many of the same events took place on both Earths, but some there were differences. On Jay’s Earth, super-heroes were active during World War II and he was now middle-aged. On Barry’s Earth, there had been not been a Justice Society. Instead, writer Gardner Fox was said to have “tuned in” on Jay’s Earth in his dreams. These dreams were used as a basis for comic book stories published on Barry’s Earth in which Jay Garrick was the Flash.
— “The DC Universe Chronology,” Mike’s Amazing World 

JLA and JSA first meet-up

Justice League of America (Vol. 1) #21, 1963

Flash #137 (1963) featured the meeting between the two Flashes (Barry Allen and Jay Garrick) and in addition with other members of the JSA. It was found out that there were two Green Lanterns (Hal Jordan and Alan Scott), two versions of the Atom (Ray Palmer and Al). Doctor Mid-Nite and Martian Manhunter had no counterparts.

Two months later, DC Comics published Justice League of America #21which featured the first ever meet-up between The JLA and JSA. The formal names of the JLA’s and JSA’s Earths were introduced: the JLA operated on Earth-1 and the JSA operated on Earth-2. The multiverse was born! 

The meet-up occurs as a result of Earth-2 villains the Fiddle, the Icicle, and the Wizard arriving on Earth-1 and disguising themselves as the Crime Champions, a team of Chronos, Doctor Alchemy, and Felix Faust, to confuse the JLA. JLA then contacts the JSA with the Crystal Ball of Merlin when they are defeated in battle and held prisoners in the villains’ Secret Sanctuary.

In Justice League of America #29 (1964), the JLA and the JSA are introduced to a third Earth: Earth-3. Here, the Earth-3 counterparts of the JLA are evil and formed the Crime Syndicate of America. Over the years, multiple Earths are introduced such as “Earth-A, Earth-X, Earth-S, Earth-C, Earth-4, Earth-Prime and more” (The DC Universe Chronology).

‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ (1985-1986)

Crisis on Infinite Earths #7, 1985-1986

In 1985, DC Comics published Crisis on Infinite Earths in an attempt to revamp the company and solve its problems with storylines and multiple characters created by the concept of parallel universes. It was a 12-issue storyline that was a crossover all over the DC Comics multiverse. It began as an anti-matter wave began to wipe out the Earth-3 universe. The anti-matter wave eventually destroyed the positive matter parallel Earths. Only Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-S, Earth-X, and Earth-4 survived to merge into a single Earth with a merged history, that is, a single timeline.

Multiverse Theory

Crisis on Infinite Earths, 1985-1986

The fictional concept of the DC multiverse is a theory that became popular during the 20th century as the theory of the multiverse. This theory posits that the Big Bang or multiple Big Bangs may be responsible for the creation of parallel universes with similar characteristics but differences. According to string theory, the multiverse is actually held together by strings that are the smallest units of dimension conceivable and it is possible to use string theory in order to prove the existence of a multiverse. In the branch of physics called cosmology, the theory of the multiverse appears at present as futile, useful only in science fiction, since it offers few applications in science and figures only as an interesting branch of research.

The fictional concept of the DC multiverse, however, rests on the notion of science-fiction, on establishing parallel Earths existing in the same space but vibrating at different frequencies.” In DC cosmology, it is an accident at the beginning of Time caused by a scientist’s experimentation on time travel on Oa despite the legends on Oa that warned that calamity would ensue if one decided to find out about the origin of the universe, that caused the creation of the positive matter universe and the anti-matter universe. The multiverse was born from a scientific accident on Oa at the beginning of Time that caused a bolt of lightning to create it as Krona, the scientist in question, showed a vision to Oan scientists of the origin of the universe.

From the birth of the multiverse, evil arose in the universe.

The fictional concept of the DC multiverse accounts for parallel Earths, the conflict between science and religion on Oa in particular, and the birth of evil in the universe.

The DC multiverse can be understood in the context of the DC Comics as a story, a collection of storylines that converge and that coalesce around the concept of parallel Earths in an attempt to form a shared history and a single timeline. The DC multiverse centers on a quantum mechanical adaptation of power relations between parallel universes for the power over the DC multiverse. 

“In order to sustain the theory of a mechanistic world, therefore, we always have to stipulate to what extent we are employing two fictions: the concept of motion (taken from our sense language) and the concept of the atom (=unity, deriving from our psychical ‘experience’): the mechanistic theory presupposes a sense prejudice and a psychological prejudice…
The mechanistic world is imagined only as sight and touch imagine a world (as ‘moved’)—so as to be calculable-—thus causal unities are invented, “things” (atoms) whose effect remains constant (—transference of the false concept of subject to the concept of the atom)…
If we eliminate these additions, no things remain but only dynamic quanta, in a relation of tension to all other dynamic quanta: their essence lies in their relation to all other quanta, in their ‘effect’ upon the same. The will to power is not a being, not a becoming, but a pathos –the most elemental fact from which a becoming and effecting first emerge…”
— from The Will to Power, s.635, Walter Kaufmann transl., Friedrich Nietzsche

At the quantum mechanical scale are the germ worlds that the monitors speak of in Final Crisis

‘The Orrery of Worlds’

Superman Beyond #1

A Synopsis

Crisis on Infinite Earths

Crisis on Infinite Earths begins with an anti-matter wave destroying Earth-3 and Alexander Luthor sending his new-born son to another Earth. Pariah, who announces the calamities, watches as another universe is erased. Flash goes into the past to warn the heroes but soon disappears. The Monitor sends for Harbinger to recruit the heroes of the positive matter universe in order to fight Anti-Monitor. He introduces himself as Monitor to the heroes and recruits them for a mission to protect the remaining Earths. Anti-Monitor sets his plan in motion and it is discovered that Alexander Luthor Jr is constituted of both positive matter and anti-matter. Harbinger kills the Monitor before he can have his machines begin protecting the other Earths. The cosmic essence of the Monitor is used to protect the remaining worlds from the anti-matter wave in the Monitor’s satellite. 

Only five Earths remain, and the remaining heroes regroup after the destruction of the Monitor’s satellite. Harbinger tells of the origin of the DC multiverse and Pariah tells of his curse upon discovering its origin: to watch every universe die without being able to change it. Alexander Luthor Jr uses his positive matter and anti-matter powers to open a portal to the anti-matter universe in order for the heroes to confront Anti-Monitor on Qward, the anti-matter counterpart of Oa, center of the DC positive matter multiverse. Supergirl perishes in the battle and a memorial celebrates her passing on Earth-1. Flash dies preventing the firing of the anti-matter cannon built to destroy the positive matter universe. At the beginning of Time, Anti-Monitor attempts to change the origin of the DC multiverse in order to create the anti-matter universe as the sole universe. The Spectre intervenes with the mystical energies of Earth’s mystical heroes and stalemates Anti-Monitor. The two disappear in a flash. The five Earths, Earth-1, Earth-2, Earth-S, Earth-X, and Earth-4 have merged into a single Earth. The Earth is plunged into the anti-matter universe by the surviving Anti-Monitor and shadow demons are invading it as heroes fight them. A final battle ensues in the anti-matter universe during which the Earth-2 Superman deals the remaining armored Anti-Monitor a lethal blow.

Earth-2 Superman punches Anti-Monitor

Crisis on Infinite Earths #12, 1985-1986

Earth-2 Superman scatters the Anti-Monitor’s remaining energies and in the end, they fall back into the star he was drawing energy from, only for the sun to implode.

Earth-2 Superman, Superboy, Lois Lane and Alexander Luthor Jr. retreat to a pocket idyllic dimension while Earth is merged into forming a shared history, a single timeline.

Conclusion

Crisis on Infinite Earths #12

Crisis on Infinite Earths resulted in the formation of a shared history, a single Earth, and a single timeline. It removed the problems that DC Comics was having with its continuity, its storylines, its characters due to the concept of parallel universes and the DC multiverse. It led to the formation of a new universe, the Post-Crisis continuity that revealed an affinity for drama, heroic deaths—Superman died in 1992, six years after Crisis on Infinite Earths—and the popularity of the term “crisis.” Since then, DC Comics has had many crises in an attempt to revamp its universe and establish a definitive origin of its characters: Zero Hour, Final Crisis, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis, Flashpoint, Convergence, and now Rebirth.

Sound off in the comments about which was the better fight:

Supergirl vs Anti-Monitor on Qward

Spectre vs the Anti-Monitor at the beginning of Time

Earth-2 Superman vs Anti-Monitor in the anti-matter universe

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Superman: For Tomorrow

Comic Book Reviews

In 2004, DC Comics published a highly ambitious storyline featuring some of the best artists and writers of the DC Comics company: Jim Lee and Brian Azzarello. The storyline featured a highly grim superhero, Superman, confronted with threats of varying nature – personal, political, scientific and messianic. In the comic book storyline, Superman is tried and put to trial for his attempt at realizing a utopia, a pocket dimension called Metropia designs for the purpose of creating a paradisiacal dimension should the project of Earth fail. Superman in this storyline titled For Tomorrow is as much a man of belief as he is a man of science and evidence.

The story begins in Superman #204, where The Man of Tomorrow encounters a priest suffering from a terminal stage of cancer called Father Leone. He confesses his sin to him:

“My sin? Was to save the world.”

Superman is viewed as a savior, a messiah. One who is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the world and actually change the world. Superman’s presence changes the world, history, human affairs, political events. He is God on Earth and his might shows that he cannot be opposed except by cosmic powers like alien invaders, elemental powers such as the Earth, Fire, Water and Wind elementals, or intergalactic forces like the Justice League. The main function of Superman in this narrative is to pose as a messiah, a savior who because of his failure is misunderstood and unable to relate to humanity and his humanity.

The Vanishing causes the disappearance of a million people over the world. Superman goes on a space mission to save Green Lantern Kyle Rayner from an alien invasion after having heard his voice on Earth millions of miles away only to return to find out that everywhere on Earth: “When every signal in every language is reporting exactly the same thing.”

The Vanishing was an unexplained phenomenon that robed Superman of his “rhythm”. His wife. He could no longer hear his wife’s heart beat. Lois Lane vanished in the event that caused the disappearance of a million people on Earth.

The rest of the comic book storyline is Superman’s visitations to Father Leone and of his confession of his role in the event: Superman created a pocket dimension called Metropia using advanced Kryptonian technology then made himself forget of its existence. Superman traced the weapon to a war zone in the Middle East as the epicenter of the Vanishing which triggered the event during his absence.

The problem that For Tomorrow raises is that of using advanced science in order to alter human politics and create a utopia. The presence of an alien, an immigrant from another planet that brings the promise of a better world is alluring. At the same time, it presents the problem of actually the comprehension of what such a promise is envisioned to be. Superman’s dream of a utopia in For Tomorrow is only proven to be a dream of resurrecting Krypton on Earth and of an attempt by an alien to adapt to a harsher climate of civilization where human life is inherently primitive.

“I have faith.”

Superman eventually travels to Metropia. In Superman #211, Superman faces the fearsome foe of Wonder Woman and reveals with her his decision to travel to The Vanishing to recover the people that disappeared. Wonder Woman retorts that he has no proof that he can save the people. Superman answers: “I have something stronger. I have faith.”

For Tomorrow presents a problematic characterization of Superman. Superman is a product of science, of the advanced Kryptonian physiology of the planet Krypton under the yellow sun. Here, Superman is presented as a man of faith who believes that he can actually save people against overwhelming odds – Wonder Woman, the Justice League, public opinion, The Vanishing, the loss of his wife – in an almost religious dedication to his cause. There are a lot of religious allusions, such as The Flash stating that the media is crucifying Superman over his intervention in a nation’s affairs in the Middle East as a result of his trace of the Vanishing to the weapon he created that caused it upon his absence from Earth to save Kyle Rayner Green Lantern – there, he meets a cybernetically enhanced mutant called Equus whom he confronts over the weapon; Superman frequently confesses his sins to a Catholic priest though, without absolution.

Superman is portrayed as broody, in a sense, as almost depressed and lacking in the joy of life as a result of the loss of his wife, whom he mourns. This is a symptom of a savior complex, of one carrying the burden of the world on his shoulders and of his attempt at making sense of his place in the world.

Should Superman have created a pocket dimension that would function as a utopia for Earth?

For Tomorrow is essentially an experiment for DC Comics in the needed revamping of the character of 70+ years of activity functioning in American pop culture. It takes a lot of creative risks such as having Superman question himself and engage in philosophical debates with a priest. It is certainly an attempt to cater to the religious population of America and of functioning as a slogan, a communication of Superman to the Christians on the figure of Superman as a true messiah who can answer Earth’s aspirations of For Tomorrow.

The storyline leaves some threads unanswered such as who apart from Superman is the actual villain of the story. It is definite that Superman function as antagonist to the story, or perhaps as its anti-hero in his attempt at being its messiah. There is in For Tomorrow, a mysterious organization that sets events in motion and that attempts to control the Earth by ridding the world of Superman, whether through the Middle East war, Equus, or the confrontation with the elementals, all the way into Metropia which it invades at the behest of General Zod.

For Tomorrow answers the question of God and of whether it is possible to live in a world without symbolic Evil. The battle between Superman and Zod in Superman #215 shows that Evil always finds a way. The problem is not so much the eternal battle between Good and Evil as it is the temptation to control. Control is the problem that totalitarian governments face in their attempts at creating a utopia and a genetically pure population of super powered individuals who work towards the benefit of the group in a Communistic utopia.

Such a temptation, is never acceptable!

Superman is not Ubermensch

DC Comics

In All Star Superman #3, Superman answers the unanswerable question. He answers the challenge of the Ultra-Sphinx to save Lois’ life in a state of quantum uncertainty, between life and death.

All Star Superman is featured as #1 on IGN’s list of 25 Best Superman Comics and Graphic Novels. It is particularly important for one of its quotes from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche: “I give you the Superman.”

All Star Superman is notable for its representation of Superman as the Übermensch, a direct rapprochement between the American concept of the fictional comic book superhero and the German Aryan philosophical prophecy. What makes All Star Superman compelling is the portrayal of Superman as completely fantasy. Science-fiction turns into fantasy and wish fulfillment, and Superman’s adventures and exploits seem completely unreal if not surreal. Superman goes on intergalactic adventures, travels through the Chronovore, domesticates a Sun-Eater, answers the unanswerable question, travels in space near the sun’s surface and defeats Solaris the solar computer from the 853rd century.

Throughout this 12-comic book issue series, Superman is portrayed as totally alien with a tripled strength, a heightened intellect with increased curiosity, and completely perfect physically and mentally. This is the myth that Superman is the Übermensch, denying his humanity in favor of his alien heritage and his incapacity to be biologically compatible with Lois Lane, his girlfriend. All Star Superman presents a convincing representation of the myth of the Übermensch since Superman appears as alien first instead of human first. This is to contribute to the perception that Superman is actually a creator of moral values who does not live by the rules of society, but who, by his superior physical might, actually creates his own values.

In the Ultimen episode, the Justice League Unlimited is confronted with the novel threat of the Ultimen. The Ultimen figure as the true incarnations of the Übermensch. Their sole concern is for the expression of unrivaled power and the acquisition of notoriety and popularity. The Ultimen present as the true Übermensch as they are presented as rock stars and not superheroes with commercial contracts, TV appearances and a popular following. The Ultimen in Justice League Unlimited are presented as individuals that have no moral formation. In reality, they are clones that have no real personality and who display no moral education, but who are left with no guidance outside of the supervision of Maxwell Lord and Amanda Waller.

In Justice League Unlimited, Superman remains a moral figure with the moniker “The Big Blue Boy Scout” or more of a police officer. He upholds the law, though he is willing to break it in order to protect his friends and Justice League Unlimited members from imprisonment, such as The Question being imprisoned at The Cadmus Project or from cloning such as Supergirl being cloned by The Cadmus Project as Galatea. He is not without a moral ethos and is always ready to uphold the law, though he does offer his friends second chances, such as the chance at redemption offered to Shayera during the Solomon Grundy episode. Superman believes in trust and in protecting the Justice League Unlimited’s credibility from his enemies and The Cadmus Project; this contrasts with All Star Superman where trust does not seem to figure, but only science and fantasy.

Superman in the Justice League Unlimited is foremost a politician, which agrees with the classic portrayals of Superman over the ages, whereas All Star Superman is foremost a scientist. Superman is concerned with politics and the safety of the American people from alien invasions. All Star Superman does protect the world from alien invasions, but he seems more intent on doing experiments in the Fortress of Solitude to combat Kryptonite exposure with the Kryptonite gun fired at him by Lois Lane and developing for her super powers as Super-Woman for a day.

He is presented as totally alien and completely removed from the American people as most of his adventures take place in space, in other dimensions or in the Fortress of Solitude, but not in Metropolis. Not enough.

In Justice League Unlimited, Superman has adventures on Earth and particularly in Metropolis. His threats are Earth-based and only “Destroyer” figures a threat that is an all-out alien invasion by Darkseid.

The Übermensch

In Nietzsche’s philosophical theory, the Übermensch is portrayed as a creator of moral values:

“I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?

All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment…

Behold, I teach you the overman. The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go.

Once the sin against God was the greatest sin; but God died, and these sinners died with him. To sin against the earth is now the most dreadful thing, and to esteem the entrails of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth…

What is the greatest experience you can have? It is the hour of the great contempt. The hour when your happiness, too, arouses your disgust, and even your reason and your virtue.

The hour when you say, ‘What matters my happiness? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment. But my happiness ought to justify existence itself.’

The hour when you say, ‘What matters my reason? Does it crave knowledge as the lion his food? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment.’

The hour when you say, ‘What matters my virtue? As yet it has not made me rage. How weary I am of my good and my evil! All that is poverty and filth and wretched contentment.’

“Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss…

What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under…

“I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.

Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.

‘What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?’ thus asks the last man, and blinks.

The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest.

‘We have invented happiness,’ say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves one’s neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth…

One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.

No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.

‘Formerly, all the world was mad,’ say the most refined, and they blink…

One has one’s little pleasure for the day and one’s little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health.

‘We have invented happiness,’ say the last men, and they blink.”

The philosophical assumption of the Übermensch is that the Übermensch is an evolutionary leap for mankind. It presents the Übermensch as completely other-worldly, an Overman who creates moral values and completely changes human society according to his own will. It is the eminent power of will-force over the environment, the manifestation of a will to power that seeks to dominate. Nietzsche seems to present the Übermensch as an evolutionary ineluctability, a development that marks the transition of Earth to a higher state of human evolution. He is presented as the goal for humanity. This is where Superman and the Übermensch coincide.

Superman is presented as the goal of human evolution in comic books. He is the first superhero and he is portrayed as “The Man of Tomorrow” who in his super powers portends a new age, a new time for humanity where man is master of the Earth, and develops actual super powers to dominate the Earth. The similarities end there however.

Superman is not the Übermensch. The reason being is that Superman was created in 1933 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jewish immigrants, a writer and artist who based their inspirations for the fictional character on America’s immigrant spirit and the welcome of the alien to a strange land, America. The inspiration of the Übermensch is primarily political, as it portrays the Übermensch as the fulfillment of the wishes of the Aryan race, whereas the inspiration of the Superman is scientific; it is based on comic book fantasy and the fulfillment of the desire to evolve the human race with scientific concepts.

In Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883), the Übermensch is presented as the goal of the Earth and a fruit of human evolution, and the motivation is primarily political to vehiculate the ideals of the Aryan race. In Action Comics #1 (1938), Superman is presented as the goal of the Earth and the fruit of an alien visitation to Earth, and the motivation is primarily scientific to promote the ideals of the American immigrant spirit through media, the press, and entertainment—the medium being the first superhero comic book published in America.

The Übermensch has played an important part in the subsequent world wars in Europe and America. It is a concept that has been used during the Second World War to promote the interests of the Aryan race in the national party of Nazism, creating the myth of a superior race of Aryans who rule the Earth with totalitarian power. This is a belief that should not be shared by anyone who believes in the principles of democracy. 

All Star Superman presents a particularly Übermensch representation of Superman by portraying Superman as an alien with no humanity who continues only on off-world adventures in other dimensions.

5 Cities That Are Easy On Your Knees

Travel

https://blog.thediscoverer.com/5-cities-that-are-easy-on-your-knees/

Both a city and a country, Singapore offers more bang for your buck than the average city break. Located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, this tiny island has a lot to offer. You can marvel at the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, be wowed by the electronic trees of Gardens by the Bay and navigate the maze of Chinatown. What makes Singapore easy to explore is that the city is fairly compact, with a huge number of attractions packed into a relatively small space. You won’t need to trek anywhere as its efficient, affordable and comfortable public transport system makes getting around a breeze. In fact, it has one of the most advanced train systems in the world. While your knees will be fine, you might need more than a long weekend to see all that Singapore has to offer.

Superman is not Ubermensch

DC Comics

In All Star Superman #3, Superman answers the unanswerable question. He answers the challenge of the Ultra-Sphinx to save Lois’ life in a state of quantum uncertainty, between life and death.

All Star Superman is featured as #1 on IGN’s list of 25 Best Superman Comics and Graphic Novels. It is particularly important for one of its quotes from German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche: “I give you the Superman.”

All Star Superman is notable for its representation of Superman as the Übermensch, a direct rapprochement between the American concept of the fictional comic book superhero and the German Aryan philosophical prophecy. What makes All Star Superman compelling is the portrayal of Superman as completely fantasy. Science-fiction turns into fantasy and wish fulfillment, and Superman’s adventures and exploits seem completely unreal if not surreal. Superman goes on intergalactic adventures, travels through the Chronovore, domesticates a Sun-Eater, answers the unanswerable question, travels in space near the sun’s surface and defeats Solaris the solar computer from the 853rd century.

Throughout this 12-comic book issue series, Superman is portrayed as totally alien with a tripled strength, a heightened intellect with increased curiosity, and completely perfect physically and mentally. This is the myth that Superman is the Übermensch, denying his humanity in favor of his alien heritage and his incapacity to be biologically compatible with Lois Lane, his girlfriend. All Star Superman presents a convincing representation of the myth of the Übermensch since Superman appears as alien first instead of human first. This is to contribute to the perception that Superman is actually a creator of moral values who does not live by the rules of society, but who, by his superior physical might, actually creates his own values.

In the Ultimen episode, the Justice League Unlimited is confronted with the novel threat of the Ultimen. The Ultimen figure as the true incarnations of the Übermensch. Their sole concern is for the expression of unrivaled power and the acquisition of notoriety and popularity. The Ultimen present as the true Übermensch as they are presented as rock stars and not superheroes with commercial contracts, TV appearances and a popular following. The Ultimen in Justice League Unlimited are presented as individuals that have no moral formation. In reality, they are clones that have no real personality and who display no moral education, but who are left with no guidance outside of the supervision of Maxwell Lord and Amanda Waller.

In Justice League Unlimited, Superman remains a moral figure with the moniker “The Big Blue Boy Scout” or more of a police officer. He upholds the law, though he is willing to break it in order to protect his friends and Justice League Unlimited members from imprisonment, such as The Question being imprisoned at The Cadmus Project or from cloning such as Supergirl being cloned by The Cadmus Project as Galatea. He is not without a moral ethos and is always ready to uphold the law, though he does offer his friends second chances, such as the chance at redemption offered to Shayera during the Solomon Grundy episode. Superman believes in trust and in protecting the Justice League Unlimited’s credibility from his enemies and The Cadmus Project; this contrasts with All Star Superman where trust does not seem to figure, but only science and fantasy.

Superman in the Justice League Unlimited is foremost a politician, which agrees with the classic portrayals of Superman over the ages, whereas All Star Superman is foremost a scientist. Superman is concerned with politics and the safety of the American people from alien invasions. All Star Superman does protect the world from alien invasions, but he seems more intent on doing experiments in the Fortress of Solitude to combat Kryptonite exposure with the Kryptonite gun fired at him by Lois Lane and developing for her super powers as Super-Woman for a day.

He is presented as totally alien and completely removed from the American people as most of his adventures take place in space, in other dimensions or in the Fortress of Solitude, but not in Metropolis. Not enough.

In Justice League Unlimited, Superman has adventures on Earth and particularly in Metropolis. His threats are Earth-based and only “Destroyer” figures a threat that is an all-out alien invasion by Darkseid.

The Übermensch

In Nietzsche’s philosophical theory, the Übermensch is portrayed as a creator of moral values:

“I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?

All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment…

Behold, I teach you the overman. The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go.

Once the sin against God was the greatest sin; but God died, and these sinners died with him. To sin against the earth is now the most dreadful thing, and to esteem the entrails of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth…

What is the greatest experience you can have? It is the hour of the great contempt. The hour when your happiness, too, arouses your disgust, and even your reason and your virtue.

The hour when you say, ‘What matters my happiness? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment. But my happiness ought to justify existence itself.’

The hour when you say, ‘What matters my reason? Does it crave knowledge as the lion his food? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment.’

The hour when you say, ‘What matters my virtue? As yet it has not made me rage. How weary I am of my good and my evil! All that is poverty and filth and wretched contentment.’

“Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss…

What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under…

“I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.

Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.

‘What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?’ thus asks the last man, and blinks.

The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest.

‘We have invented happiness,’ say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves one’s neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth…

One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.

No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.

‘Formerly, all the world was mad,’ say the most refined, and they blink…

One has one’s little pleasure for the day and one’s little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health.

‘We have invented happiness,’ say the last men, and they blink.”

The philosophical assumption of the Übermensch is that the Übermensch is an evolutionary leap for mankind. It presents the Übermensch as completely other-worldly, an Overman who creates moral values and completely changes human society according to his own will. It is the eminent power of will-force over the environment, the manifestation of a will to power that seeks to dominate. Nietzsche seems to present the Übermensch as an evolutionary ineluctability, a development that marks the transition of Earth to a higher state of human evolution. He is presented as the goal for humanity. This is where Superman and the Übermensch coincide.

Superman is presented as the goal of human evolution in comic books. He is the first superhero and he is portrayed as “The Man of Tomorrow” who in his super powers portends a new age, a new time for humanity where man is master of the Earth, and develops actual super powers to dominate the Earth. The similarities end there however.

Superman is not the Übermensch. The reason being is that Superman was created in 1933 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two Jewish immigrants, a writer and artist who based their inspirations for the fictional character on America’s immigrant spirit and the welcome of the alien to a strange land, America. The inspiration of the Übermensch is primarily political, as it portrays the Übermensch as the fulfillment of the wishes of the Aryan race, whereas the inspiration of the Superman is scientific; it is based on comic book fantasy and the fulfillment of the desire to evolve the human race with scientific concepts.

In Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883), the Übermensch is presented as the goal of the Earth and a fruit of human evolution, and the motivation is primarily political to vehiculate the ideals of the Aryan race. In Action Comics #1 (1938), Superman is presented as the goal of the Earth and the fruit of an alien visitation to Earth, and the motivation is primarily scientific to promote the ideals of the American immigrant spirit through media, the press, and entertainment—the medium being the first superhero comic book published in America.

The Übermensch has played an important part in the subsequent world wars in Europe and America. It is a concept that has been used during the Second World War to promote the interests of the Aryan race in the national party of Nazism, creating the myth of a superior race of Aryans who rule the Earth with totalitarian power. This is a belief that should not be shared by anyone who believes in the principles of democracy. 

All Star Superman presents a particularly Übermensch representation of Superman by portraying Superman as an alien with no humanity who continues only on off-world adventures in other dimensions.