Thursday, January 13, 2011

Off to a bad start

So, I'm reading "Superman" #707, the first issue scripted by Chris Roberson, and I have all these tentatively hopeful expectations for a better experience than the previous few installments of "Grounded." Then, I get to this panel:
I'm sorry, Lois, when did you start dressing like a Planeteer?

Now, I understand that it's difficult to pin down fictional comic book locations. I've had a devil of a time with it myself, and I'm quite glad that the Atlas of the DC Universe has taken up the difficult task of citing semi-canonical locales for our superheroes' homes. It's not perfect, as I've discovered, mainly because writers and editors don't seem concerned with giving these cities stable locations--or even stable states. While Metropolis is listed in Delaware by the Atlas--which, frankly, makes the most sense to me, given various details about Metropolis's geography and placement relative to Gotham and Washington, DC--"Countdown to Infinite Crisis" set it in New York (which is absurd). The Atlas places Smallville just south of Wichita, very close to the southern border of Kansas, but the "JLA: Our Worlds At War" special implies that Smallville is within 150 km (about 93 miles) of Topeka.

In neither case, however, is Smallville "just across the state line" from Des Moines, IA. There are two reasons for this:
  1. Des Moines, IA, is just south of the center of the state of Iowa.
  2. The state of Iowa does not share a border with Kansas.
It was almost forgivable that J. Michael Straczynski didn't do the research to figure out what side of Philadelphia he was setting the story in the first issue, or that he didn't realize that ordering a "Philadelphia Cheese Steak Sandwich" in Philly is like going to a hot dog vendor on Michigan Ave. and asking for a "bread-wrapped frankfurter sausage, adorned in the custom of Chicago, Illinois." But holy Hell, has the man never seen a map of the United States? With two writers, an associate editor, and the Superman titles' editor working on this story where Superman is visiting real places in the real United States, you'd think someone would have the sense to open a goddamn map. It's not like they're hard to find. Perhaps someone could send DC Comics a gas store roadside atlas. Or at least one of those handy U.S. placemats.

On the other hand, I'm glad to see someone finally calling Superman out on his incredibly out-of-character behavior of late. And while I may be the only person in the audience for this, I did like that the main plot/action was lifted directly from a scene in "Superman III."

1 comment :

LurkerWithout said...

See, back in the 40s Zatarra MOVED Iowa and you're the first person to notice it in regards to the DCU...

Now where's my No Prize?