In case you haven’t heard, Superman: Year One by the legendary Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. has done something sure to peeve the SJWs among us: put the Man of Steel in the uniform of the US military.
An alternate reality tale similar to Mark Millar’s superb Superman: Red Son (which imagines the Kryptonian infant landing in Soviet Russia), Miller has Clark Kent joining the Navy SEALs, saying it’s a “natural progression” in his development: “His father tells him if you’re going to protect the world, you need to get to know it. It seemed natural, a kid from Kansas who joins the military. It’s fun, seeing him lifting weights in boot camp that feel like air to him.”
This version of Superman, or more aptly Clark Kent, is not mild-mannered, at all. He is straining at the restrictions of his passive Kent upbringing. Miller describes him as being every kid in high school. The kid who sits quietly, secretly wanting to show people what he could really do, if only given the chance.
A childhood of being instructed to hold back and hide his abilities from others seems to chafe this Clark Kent. His rebellious streak also causes more than a little trouble during his military training. He spends more time cleaning toilets and garbage cans with his toothbrush than he does sleeping at Great Lakes. …
Kent, as reimagined by Miller, is a young man who is champing at the bit to use his superior strength and powers. This Kent wants to kick ass and take names. He is frustrated and wants others to acknowledge his superior abilities and strengths. He is also not above exposing his powers to win the favors of several love interests.
From high school to boot camp, this Clark Kent is a barely contained showoff. He wins the football game by dragging several players across the field. He has a perfect sharp-shooter score in basic training and holds the lead position in his SEAL training class.
As could be expected, this scheme didn’t sit too well with the SJW/progressive set.
Comicbook.com’s Chase Magnett was cheesed at all the “two-parent families” and how every kid in the story has a “clear set of friends.” He also doesn’t like how Miller “reduces women to objects” and yammered about how the tale “reinforces the masculine role of protector and leader.”
Adi Tantimedh of Bleeding Cool wasn’t much better:
Since 2001, Miller’s politics have veered uncomfortably rightwards and that has tainted his reputation and coloured his work. The Dark Knight Returns had a lot of fascist imagery and ideas, but his works after 9/11 have dived into the deep end of those waters. …
Miller’s fascination with fascism is front and center in the story. Clark learns that the way to deal with violent people is to reason with them, then use more violence against them. Miller’s recurring theme of the strong man protecting the helpless weak as a messianic shepherd is as strong here as ever. Might makes right, and Miller believes in benevolent might.
Tantimedh also makes use of the term “sociopath” (or a form of it) no less than five times in his review.
Magnett’s and Tantimedh’s complaints were echoed on social media:
Frank Miller is one of the most boring writers. His brand of masculinity and what he does to characters is the worst.
— With two Ds. (@dinosaurtiddies) June 20, 2019
It’s very…Frank. I love his stuff, but I’m not sure how well his gender politics play in 2019.
— Eric Palicki 🚫👼 (@ericpalicki) June 20, 2019
Superman Year One is unsurprisingly pretty bad. The baby narrative is freaking insane. It’s filled with bad stereotypes with some of its female characters. Some of the dialogue makes no sense. Frank clearly hasn’t talked to any teenagers in over 25 years. Because pic.twitter.com/LmAizmGr2j
— Aidan – Nerd King 101 (@NerdKing102) June 20, 2019
And then, of course, there’s the military aspect:
With him turning Superman into a Navy Seal, i rather pickup anything from marvel since they started using ‘Conan The Barbarian’
— 🥩JJM🥩 (@jonnyjonman) June 20, 2019
The only thing more bizarre than Clark deciding to become a Navy Seal is his motivation behind it. “I’m drawn to the sea.” Does Frank think he’s writing Aquaman?
— Stuporman: Year One (@Notintheface1) June 20, 2019
Overall, however, the reviews of Year One have been fairly mixed … with some praising Miller’s return to cogent writing while others apparently can’t purge The Dark Knight Strikes Again and Holy Terror from their memories.