Reign of the Supermen #172: Alpha-One

Source: The Mighty #1-12 (2009-2010)
Type: AnalogThe most unbelievable thing about Superman is not that he comes from another world, or that he has amazing powers. No, the most unbelievable thing about Superman is that all that power has not corrupted him. So it is perhaps not surprising that Analog projects would create more sinister Supermen to explore what many writers no doubt see as an eventuality.

The Mighty in fact came out around the same time as Irredeemable, and tells a similar story. The Mighty is probably doomed to obscurity, being a non-DCU DC book not as heavily marketed (or marketable) as Irredeemable, but I like it better, and I like it better in part because it is finite. Its 12 issues tell the story of Cole, the cop newly assigned to Alpha-One, the world's only superhero. Cole is part of a long line of policemen who act as liaisons Alpha-One, and in investigating the murder of his predecessor, finds disturbing clues that lead to Alpha-One himself.

Initially, Alpha-One, though he has the full range of Superman's powers, has an origin more like Captain Atom's. Atomic test, super-soldier, etc. Cole will later find out that his childhood hero is actually from another, much more advanced, planet. His world had many problems, and as a senator, he tried to propose plans to fix them, but with little success. I guess ethnic cleansing wasn't to everyone's tastes. He fled, came to Earth 230 years ago, and bided his time until he could reveal himself and use his powers to help people. Well, help people in order to manipulate them and eventually, recreate his world according to his ideals, eugenics program and all.

I won't go into much detail because I think reading it in trade is well worth it. It's by Peter Tomasi (so of course there's outrageous violence) and Keith Champagne, with art by Peter Snejbjerg and later, Chris Samnee. Cool art deco covers. And plenty of creepy superhero stuff. The people of the DCU probably don't spend their time worrying about Superman listening to their conversations from orbit. And I don't think the civilians in The Mighty do either. This is the story about what happens when one man does. Jimmy Olsen doesn't know how good he's got it!


ShadowWing Tronix said...

Am I wrong to prefer less cynical stories where power DOESN'T corrupt the Superman analog? (See Love & Capes for an example.)

Siskoid said...

Not at all.

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

I'll have to buy the trade, Siskoid. Just another comment from another reader learning something worthwhile from your Reigns.

kingbeauregard said...

Seconding Wayne: I did not know of this story, but I like Tomasi and I have faith that he can write a good "fallen Superman" story. When next I get paid I fully expect to buy the trade.

My favorite "fallen Superman" story is still "Squadron Supreme", because our Superman doesn't fall at all, and in fact almost none of the heroes do. They simply take their heroic vision to its logical conclusion, and even though they never turn society into a (well-meaning) fascist state, they back down in the end because they realize that they are still creating a society that could be turned to evil with the wrong people in charge. Idealistic and realistic to the end, "Squadron Supreme" is.


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