And these problems, I expected, wouldn't be entirely super-villain oriented. In walking on Earth, Superman would be encountering the recession, corporate greed, pollution, maybe the effects of global warming, who knows? It'd be a return of the Social Justice Superman from the Golden Age. The guy who kept landlords from raising their rents and evicting goodhearted people. The guy who puts the heat on corrupt senators. This guy (click to enlarge and read):
|"You can announce that henceforth my mine will be the safest in the country"|
Later on, Superman brings them a guy who's sick and obviously dying, and they use their technology to heal him. And then Superman has an idea, and this happens (click to enlarge and read):
|"It is expected that as many people as were fired during the automobile shutdowns will be rehired to handle the wave of equipment slated to be produced by these factories."|
Now, this is definitely over-simplifying real-world issues. I got to the point where the aliens set up a medical research firm and gave everyone jobs, and I thought "Oh, come on!" But then I realized something:
That's exactly how something like this would have been handled in the Golden Age. Find a problem, find a solution, and Outta Here! (I mean, look at how that Golden Age mine-safety story was wrapped up. In one panel!)
And while that isn't necessarily satisfying to today's readers (it wasn't initially satisfying to me), I think it's an interesting choice for JMS to make, particularly because it goes against the grain. And I have to consider -- do I really want five issues with pages devoted to the aliens putting this company together? There's something to be said for getting it done and capping it off with a happy (though facile) ending.
When this storyline started, my biggest hope for it was that it would give us done-in-one stories of the "Social Justice" Superman of the Golden Age. And in this issue, that's exactly what we got.
So now that I've seen it, I've got to decide... is that really what I wanted?
I'm not sure. It's still not entirely satisfying to me, but I have to admit it's something of a catharsis to see someone essentially punch unemployment in the face.