The latest issue of Action Comics finds Superman battling a foe on the streets of Metropolis, but this time he isn’t taking on his rival Lex Luther. Instead, he’s battling the police, which has some people outraged.
“There’s some fans that are alienated, a portion of the older fans,” said Dimitrios Fragiskatos, the manager of Midtown Comics in New York City. “[But] younger fans seem to be embracing it.”
The new issue comes from the minds of Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder, who have imagined a much darker story for arguably the world’s most iconic superhero. The comic has been making waves for its controversial theme as the parallels to the riots in Ferguson and St. Louis are impossible to ignore.
In the issue, Clark Kent’s secret identity has been revealed, he has been stripped of most of his powers and he’s ditched his tights. Instead, Kent wears just a T-shirt and jeans, along with tatters of his Superman cape over his fists.
The downtrodden hero returns to a town that is fearful of him. Although a group of his supporters decide to celebrate his return, the police department soon arrives to break up the party. One of his supporters gets unruly, the police get angry, and before long, a full blown riot breaks out. The comic ends with Superman punching a police officer in the face.
Patrick Colligan, president of the NJ State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, told FOX411 the comic is disgraceful.
Still, seeing a police officer portrayed as a villain didn’t come as a shock to Colligan.
“We are once again painted with the very broad stroke nobody wants to be painted with,” he said.
But Fragiskatos said the move is actually in line with the Superman fans know.
“[He is] standing up for the little guy, which is what he’s always stood up for, [but] the law usually is on the side of civilians,” he said.
Fragiskatos added that this issue is far from the first time Superman was inspired by a real-life situation.
“[Some of] the earliest stories involve [Superman] fighting corrupt landlords and businesses and that was to give depression era people something [to relate to],” he said. “When you look back it’s not surprising that he became popular when there was no real world hero to look up to.”
Fragriskatos defended the creative team’s decision, saying they are not doing anything many other comic book authors have done.
“I think for (Pak and Kuder), having read their works prior, it never seems like a gimmick. It’s very much them wanting to tell a fresh new story. After 5,000 issues, it’s hard to keep [stories] fresh,” Fragiskatos said.
Colligan, however, argued comic books should go back to the basics.
“Comic books are taking on social issues lately and maybe they should get back to taking on superheroes and making people laugh,” he said.
Representatives for writers Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder did not return a request for comment.
By Brian Henry