For the last few months there have been two stories dominating much of America’s (and the world’s) attention – the race for the President of the United States and the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. With the release of the latter this week, and the primary elections hitting their midpoint before the two conventions in the summer, both topics are coming to a proverbial head.
This has led me to contemplate for a moment how the two news items are rather similar. The results of the Presidential primary elections and the ensuing general election are going to help shape the face of the United States for quite possibly the next decade and will have ramifications across the globe. Likewise, the performance of Batman v Superman in theaters this weekend and in the coming weeks, and the reaction of audiences and fans, will help to lay the groundwork for the DC Cinematic Universe – good or bad. Both the elections and the performance of “BvS” can have immensely positive or damaging results on the future depending on the actual outcomes.
Building off of this concept, here is a breakdown of what I believe are the most comparable Superman and Batman stories across various media that would parallel the five remaining U.S. Presidential candidates:
John Kasich = Superman/Batman (2003-2011)
At face value it doesn’t seem so bad (such as issues 1-25). But the more you look into Superman/Batman the more it goes off the rails and finishes up as a rather inconsistent mess that leaves you thinking it wasn’t as good as it could have been. To most of the electorate, Kasich comes off as relatable, the lone remaining “establishment” Republican candidate, and the only one from the GOP to not seem completely wrong for America (at least for Democrats and Independents). But when you ask people from Ohio what they think of him you learn that he’s not so great, which is the same response you’ll get from readers of those last couple years of Superman/Batman. Kasich starts off with the promise of the Loeb & McGuinness run, but peters out into the same shambling mess of the remaining candidates.
Ted Cruz = Batman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again (aka DK2)
There are few Batman stories that hold such high regard as Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. And then there is this critically panned sequel (which also featured Superman in a starring role) that was a total crap-fest. Like Ted Cruz’s face, the story and the artwork both become more and more difficult to look at the more you think about it. To the Tea Party conservatives among the American electorate, Cruz has everything they want in a candidate. But to a majority of his own party and most certainly a majority of American voters, Cruz’s political beliefs and plans for the country are just as horrendous as the thought of Superman and Wonder Woman boning so hard that they alter the Earth’s weather. DK2 was a visual and storytelling mess when it was published and continues to be a mess to this very day. Just like Dark Knight Strikes Again, it’s going to be hard to find people who will admit to liking Ted Cruz.
Bernie Sanders = World’s Finest (1999)
Sanders is the ideal candidate to young and progressive Democratic voters, and the 10-issue World’s Finest mini-series written by Karl Kessel with art by various contributors was overall a bright, positive spin on the first ten post-Crisis years of Batman and Superman’s relationship. Like Sanders’s campaign, World’s Finest isn’t critically acclaimed and appeals primarily to certain groups of readers, but it’s a decade-long compilation of greatest hits grounded in positivity, hope and promise. You’d expect that the more people you get to read it, the more people would start to like it. But there are so many other options out there with more hype that this one often gets drowned out by the cacophony.
Hillary Clinton = Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Speaking of the cacophony of hype, both the movie and the candidate have tons of potential and support from mainstream investors, but in the end is likely to be a crushing disappointment for everyone else. Neither are perfect, and we can expect that they’ll both be completely polarizing among audiences. In reality, both are drawing from the best and the worst of the last few years and will probably result in what we’re going to be left with in the immediate future, whether we like it or not. Clinton and “BvS” are both potential blockbusters with nothing really under the surface when you strip away all of the layers, and they will set the course for the future until another possible reboot is considered down the line.
Donald Trump = Batman V Superman XXX: An Axel Braun Porn Parody
The concept is rather vulgar to most people but will certainly appeal to a certain subset of our culture. The tans are all fake, the costumes are just for show and will look flashy but in the heat of the moment will inevitably be torn off revealing the naked truth. Lots of references to genitalia for sure. Both are really nothing more than spoofed versions of the original and are not actually intended to appeal to everyone. The bottom line is that no matter what, in the end you know everyone is getting screwed.
By November, we will have a better picture of the eventual fallout for the election and the box office success or failure of Batman v Superman and the R-rated home video release. The fallout of both will be much clearer and we’ll have a better idea of whether we’re going to be left with the World’s Finest, or if we’re going to suffer through a Frank Miller-esque dystopian future.
Get your kryptonite rings ready. We need to be ready for the worst case scenario.