Warning! Spoilers ahead for Superman: Action Comics #1034
In the latest issue of DC Comics’ Superman: Action Comics, the Man of Steel breaks one of his biggest rules as Earth’s strongest protector. As it stands in the DC Universe, Atlantis and the United States are prepared to go to war with one another over a powerful and dangerous artifact that came from Mongul’s Warworld, despite Superman’s desires to foster diplomacy. However, when the battle lines start being drawn between the Atlanteans and the US Navy, Superman takes it upon himself to stand in the way, joined by his cousin Supergirl and his son Jon. The Man of Steel, it seems, might have gone too far, intervening more than he usually does.
In previous issues of Action Comics from Phillip Kennedy Johnson and a variety of all-star artists, the Genesis Fragment has been creating all kinds of political unrest ever since it arrived on Earth from Warworld. Having little knowledge of its potential dangers, Atlantis claimed it for itself when it first landed in the ocean. However, their experiments on the artifact led to the creation of massive kaiju monsters, who were barely stopped by Superman and Aquaman before they could arrive on American soil. In response, the United States has been demanding that Atlantis turn over the Genesis Fragment to their custody due to the fragment landing in US waters. Naturally, this is a claim Atlantis ignores, threatening war in response. It’s also something that Aquaman is compelled to support as he is no longer the underwater kingdom’s ruler.
Now, Superman: Action Comics #1034 from Johnson and artist Christian Duce sees the Man of Steel standing in the way of the Atlanteans and the US Navy who are both prepared to open fire on one another. While Superman tried to open diplomatic channels, his appeals fell on deaf ears as shots were fired all the same. While Kal-El and his family managed to block the first few rounds, Superman quickly became fed up with the violence, creating a blockade between the two forces with his super-breath and diving down to take the fragment from Atlantis’ possession as he decided he would keep it out of both nations’ hands. While it’s certainly a bold move that gives neither side reason to kill one another now, Superman has just broken his rule of political non-interference. This was a pretty big violation that could have some significant consequences going forward.
While the Kryptonians flew off with the fragment, Supergirl voiced her concern with what fallout her cousin’s actions will cause, saying it was a mistake on his part. She insists they should have done something that wouldn’t have directly created animosity between two large nations and the Kryptonian family. While Superman’s actions weren’t necessarily bad (removing such a powerful and mysterious artifact capable of great destruction from the equation does seem smart), literally putting himself in the middle of two rival nations is bound to create the problems Supergirl fears, and it’s already created a rift between the Kal-El and Aquaman.
Even after all his years striving to keep the world safe, Superman still sees himself as a guest and alien refugee on Earth, hence his longstanding rule of non-interference when it comes to politics. In his mind, it’s not his place to lead or create seismic shifts in the political landscape despite his power, choosing instead to inspire and guide through his actions outside of the geo-policical arena. As such, his decision to get so involved in this new issue is as surprising as it is concerning, despite Superman having the best intentions in taking the fragment off the board as he wanted to prevent bloodshed on both sides.