Superman: Wanted

Here is a halfbaked idea for a superhero/Superman movie:

Imagine a true do-gooder of a superhero.  Because I understand Superman to be just this sort of superhero, let’s run with him.  Should I learn that he falls short of a true do-gooder, well, imagine in his place one who is.  The sort of superhero that the entire population of his universe, save for the baddies, love.  The cops never try to arrest him and the powers-that-be never label him a “lawless vigilante” because he adds absolute goodness with no takeaways.  Oh, and he comes from another planet.  That’s important.

Okay, got this guy (or gal) in your mind… be it Superman or just ReallynicedogooderMan?  Great.

So he’s doing his thing… superheroing around… being loved… and then a bunch of other aliens from his home planet arrive.  And they inform us that, despite his actions on our planet, is wanted for genocide on his home plant.  Their evidence is undeniable.  This guy is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people on his home planet.  They’re not “humans”, but they are fully sentient, moral beings of the same race of his, which is indistinguishable from our own save for their super powers.  He came to our planet to avoid persecution and, en route, reformed himself and did what he did here genuinely.

But the aliens want him back.  They want to try him for war crimes.  They want us to extradite him.  And they hope we can do this peacefully.  But… we refuse.  Superman has been a boon to our world.  We knew nothing of his past crimes and seems fully reformed.  Plus… we need him.  He keeps baddies at bay.  But this is not a decision easily arrived at.  It is controversial and draws much ire, particularly from areas of the world that have seen firsthand the damage of genocide.

So the aliens, similarly superpowered but of low numbers, decide to take him back.  By force.  And we have to go to war with them.  To save our Superman.  Who is also guilty of genocide.  But this also leads us to war with our fellow Earthlings, those of which want to send him back.

I’m not sure how it’d end.  Or even how it should end.  I’m not sure which part of the populace I’d side with… Superman or those who want to send him back for trial.

But I do know I’d probably watch this movie.

So… someone get on it.


One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.


  1. Leave whether or not he actually did do this up in the air. Heck, make him somewhat evasive/defensive about it. “What, you think I could kill 500,000 people? You too? Isn’t what I’ve done here proof enough for you without you taking the word of some stranger who just shows up on your doorstep with a colorful story?”

    That sort of thing.

    • Interesting angle. But I think making it known that he is guilty makes for a more complicated moral problem. Because there will be a lot of people who will think, “What the fuck do I care about a bunch of aliens on a planet a gazillion light years away?”

      Making it unclear gives everyone the opportunity to say, “Well, where’s the evidence?” Then it becomes a legal thriller. Which might work.

      I guess the original story becomes a bit analogous to certain realities we face now. “We don’t care what he did in the war zone… he’s a goddamn hero!” That sort of thing.

      It works either way… just a different tale.

      So… you’ll write it?

        • Presumably the aliens can mind meld. Or something. That’s a thing, right? Mind melding?

        • There’s the rub. If they have the technology for interstellar travel, they almost certainly have the technology to fabricate the evidence. We have the technology to fabricate the evidence, and we haven’t even figured out interplanetary travel.

          There’s literally nothing they can show us that we can trust.

          • This is a fair point, though it does take us down a road of accusing the aliens of fabricating evidence, which itself my cause an intergalactic incident.

      • It doesn’t fit the “universally beloved” part of your description remotely, and the decision is made by a small number of the person’s friends rather than by the world at large, but the Dark Phoenix Saga covers a bit of what you’re talking about.

    • I imagine it as a Choose Your Own Adventure sort of things:

      Option 1: We side with Superman, and he defeats the aliens with a little help from us.

      Option 2: We believe the aliens, and suddenly Superman shows us who he really is, a genocidal maniac who only kept us safe because he thought that when the cops showed up we’d tell them we hadn’t seen him in forever, and that he’s totally not hiding in the closet underneath all of our winter jackets.

      • The aliens are similarly powered to Superman; he won’t defeat them singlehandedly.

        • Spoiler for the new Superman movie:

          Lbh boivbhfyl unira’g frra gur arj Fhcrezna zbivr.

          • I haven’t seen any Superman movies… or shows… or anythings.

            Is he even super by super standards from other super aliens from planet super?

            I hate Superman.

          • Has someone proposed kidnapping Kazzy and locking him in a room, eyelids held open A Clockwork Orange-style, while we make him watch, listen to, or otherwise take in every piece of pop culture produced prior to 2003, or whenever it is he was born?

            I can rent the van.

          • Dude…

            I can sing the “Fresh Prince” theme song. I remember Gizmo duck. I can give detailed play-by-plays of major sporting events from the 90’s. It’s not pop culture or things before Y2K (I remember Y2K!!!) I struggle with…

            It’s nerd culture. Despite having a number of nerdy and geeky friends, most of it just never resonated with me. We can blame the multiple concussions I’ve suffered.

  2. So now we get to discuss how Javert was right?

    A person changes who he is, goes someplace new, does everything he can to bust his behind to be a good person… but Javert was right, he’s got Superman’s number, and Tough Cheese.

    Even though we don’t have an extradition treaty with Krypton?

    • Krypton doesn’t exist anymore. Destroyed. Maybe Superman had a hand in destroying it, and the whole “last son of Krypton” thing was bullshit he made up, to garner sympathy and thus gain love and acceptance.

      So what’s the point of exacting punishment on the exposed-as-guilty Superman? The last Kryptonians (maybe led by Zod, or perhaps by a Kryptonian we’ll name Ja-Vert) are there, and they have to confront whether they are simply revenging their lost families or pursuing actual justice.

      • Well, it might not work perfectly with Superman… which is why it might require ReallyDoGooderMan or whatever… someone who does have a still-existing home planet seeking justice.

        Though it could be revealed Superman is either A) responsible for Krypton’s destruction or B) lied about it.

        • “Seeking justice”

          So “justice” entails Superman sitting in a room with the lights on until he dies of old age?

          Or, better yet, we don’t know what punishment entails with them. We just know that Superman wants to avoid it.

      • So what’s the point of exacting punishment on the exposed-as-guilty Superman?

        The best superhero stories aren’t really about superheroes.

        In the 1970’s (I know *YOU* know this, I’m just including it in case Kazzy reads it), relations between the US and Canada were strained because Canada would not send “draft dodgers” back down to the US despite the extradition treaty. The argument went something to the effect of “we don’t have to extradite people who haven’t broken a crime”. This impasse was broken by Jimmy Carter’s (pretty much unconditional) pardoning of (pretty much) all draft dodgers.

        We’re stuck there saying “what’s the point of exacting punishment on Superman?”

        Because justice, apparently, demands it.

        Maybe we could have a scene where the President gives Superman a full pardon for crimes committed elsewhere.

        Would that pardon matter when it came to “justice”? (I assume that the answer is a gigglesnort… but maybe it’s not.)

        • And then you have the President struggling with the implications of pardoning someone for genocide.


        • Thinking about this a little more, it would have to be a character other than Superman. Superman holds the ideal of justice very highly. To prevent a war, and because of his sense of justice, he would freely surrender.

          Then we get the scene where they put the space handcuffs on, but later on we realize he could have escaped them at any time, when he breaks free to rescue his jailers when their spaceship is hit by an asteroid.

          • What if we subvert Superman’s “goodness” by making him still do good things, but for the wrong (selfish) reasons?

            Instead of being dedicated to “Truth, justice” etc., he helps humans because his father, high priest of Krypton’s religion, told him saving the lives of lesser beings would get him into super-heaven; but he really doesn’t like, or care, about humans at all.

            He does what he does out of obligation to his conception of old Kryptonian gods, not empathy or idealism.

            Side question: is Superman immortal, or near enough to it? Obviously he aged to adulthood in relatively human terms, will he keep aging into equivalent human senescence and death or not? This could impact whether “super-heaven” (or “super-hell”) are relevant concepts to him.

            Is this crossing the MD “no religion” line?

          • We could pretty easily do a Captain Ersatz.

            Bust open the thesaurus and…

            10, A-1, ace, bad*, beyond compare, boss*, capital, champion, chief, choicest, cool*, culminating, finest, first, first-class, first-rate, foremost, greatest, highest, incomparable, inimitable, leading, matchless, nonpareil, number 1, optimum, out-of-sight, outstanding, paramount, peerless, perfect, preeminent, premium, prime, primo, principal, sans pareil, second to none, super, superlative, supreme, terrific, tops, tough, transcendent, unequaled, unparalleled, unrivaled, unsurpassed

            * = informal/non-formal usage

            So we can have Nonpareilman.

          • Under the yellow sun, it seems he is nearly immortal. I think that if he was kept away from the yellow sun long enough, he would be more prone to aging. It is hard to keep up with all the retconning over the years, so I could be mistaken.

            This post also reminds me of Mark Waid’s Irredeemable, which has a different premise. In this one, the Superman character snaps and becomes a super villain, slaughtering the people of earth. His “justice league” has to figure out how to stop him.

          • I want to see Nonpareilman fight RonPopeilMan.

            “But wait, there’s more!”

          • I picture Nonpareilman covered with little white sprinkles, and it makes me laugh.

  3. So there’s actually a superman story that’s basically this.

    Only the “superman” in the story is Lex Luthor. He escapes justice on earth to flee to some other planet, where he’s their superhero. Rescues them from all sorts of calamities, defeats villains, and so forth.

    Then Superman shows up and drags him back to earth prison. The best part? It’s strongly implied that Luthor was the one that tipped superman off. That this new planet was facing some ecological disaster that even Luthor couldn’t solve. He lured superman halfway across the galaxy to make an arrest because he know Superman would fix things before returning home with luthor in chains.

      • My research suggests the story I’m thinking of is in superman #164. The planet, eventually named Lexor, is a reoccurring trope during the silver age luthor stories.

  4. A decent justice system would be one that would give the genocidal hero a fair trial, and consider his actions since then when trying to determine sentencing. However, it is probably unlikely that those sent to punish the hero would be fair minded.

    It also depends on what one considers to be the purpose of punishment, whether it is for retribution or reformation. It seems that this hero is truly reformed, and that he has done service to make up for those actions. Would that be enough to justify a lighter sentence?

  5. Kazzy, I hate to rain on your parade so early in the morning, but if I was the commander of the alien fleet the movie would be very short. What I would do is send the alien seal team six to get the man. If that did not work I would pick up a couple thousand large asteroids and park behind the moon and tell everyone on earth that if you didn’t give up your hero and our bad guy I would start throwing rocks at you. I can’t help but wonder why so many people think a race with the ability to travel between stars needs to invade earth to win a war.
    But, having said all that, I did think of drones and seal team six and I think that is what you wanted. What would England have done if they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that Gandhi had murdered the queen before going to India?

    • Hmmm… SuperMan and a planet of SuperMen and SuperWomen might not work then. Perhaps we need a less-powerful-but-still-super-powered alien race.

      When I imagined this admittedly half-baked idea, I did so with the alien race wanted to resolve things diplomatically, if at all possible. They would like to avoid a covert operation.

      I didn’t think of direct parallels with drones and whatnot, but it’d raise an interesting conversation. How would we feel if SuperMan was simply gone one day, taken by his home planet for trial? We’d be miffed, I’d venture to guess.

  6. Don’t have anything to add. This is the only way I can read the replies.

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