Stories of Superman as a bad guy—like, really evil—has become quite a popular approach to the character among comic writers in recent years. It's not surprising given that every writer wants to try something new and noteworthy, a difficult task when dealing with an iconic character who's 83 years old. But the great Grant Morrison, who is critically-acclaimed for his contemporary Superman stories, calls bullshit on evil Superman.
"It's something I've come to terms with and pared down to it coming down to the patriarchal structures that have been oppressing us and Superman can easily be made to be representative of that. This dad-like figure looking out for us can be made authoritarian but I think that's a mistake," Morrison tells CBR. "I think the idea that Superman would react to the death of Lois Lane by becoming a tyrant is ridiculous; my mum and dad died and I didn't become a tyrant. If I can handle it, Superman can handle it."
In Morrison's forthcoming Superman and the Authority #1, Superman is no great American hero but his darker side is much more thoughtful.
"He doesn't want to break us but he's gotten to the point where he thinks maybe he should break us, maybe we need this," Morrison says. "It's slightly scarier than Superman as an authoritarian dad with heat vision eyes, it's more of an alien perspective saying, 'I've had enough of you. You've been messing up too long and are really going to hurt yourselves if I don't do something.'"
image: crop of "Superman and the Authority" #1 cover art drawn by Mikel Janin and colored by Jordie Bellaire, via CBR