Humankind's Manifesto

In All Star Superman #10 Superman creates an alternate Earth, Earth-Q, to see what humankind does without a Superman. On Earth-Q someone gives a speech that I think is a great manifesto for humankind.

Let us not yield sovereignty even to them, the highest of the angelic hierarchies! Become instead like them in all their glory and dignity. Imitation is man’s nature and if he but wills it, so shall he surpass even imagination’s greatest paragons.

The issue is mostly Superman narrating his last will and testament before he dies. I think Grant Morrison is at the top of his game with this one. As single issues go, even though this is part of a bigger arc, this is up there with “Coyote Gospel” from his run on Animal Man. While the god in “Coyote Gospel” is capricious and demands the coyote’s eternal torment before he will free everyone else from eternal suffering, Superman is the god in this issue and he is much more benevolent. But he’s haunted by the question of whether what is good about people will outlive our darker nature without him around to stop the evil.

Watching Superman stop a suicide, take children with cancer to Egypt, and in general confront society’s ills big and small gets me every time I read it. I feel small in the sense that I could never do what Superman does. But I also feel awed to be part of the human race that made Superman what he is.

I guess this is how other people feel reading Chicken Soup for the Soul or self-help books. Like them I want to share this book with everyone I meet. I want to implore them with “This is so good.” Just like when I was in high school and every new band I loved I thought everyone else would love the same way I did. Unlike high school I realize people like different things than me.

Since Morrison is about to kill off Batman I imagine he’s had a lot of time to contemplate good and evil in people. The shout out to Nietzsche in this issue has me hoping for a Beyond Good and Evil reference in Batman.

Last modified on 2008-03-28