Today we got word that the latest edition of the Superman comic series is set in Portland. Comic books are usually Casey Jarman's beat, but he's busy so you're stuck with me.
SPOILER ALERT: I will reveal what happens, so if you actually care, stop reading now and go do your homework.
Please bear in mind that I have never read Superman comics before, and my entire knowledge of the general canon is based on episodes of Lois & Clark when I was eight.
We open up in Newberg, Oregon, where Superboy and… Supergirl, I guess? have apparently located Superman hanging out with children in a park. For some reason, Superboy doesn't have to wear spandex, and is dressed instead like some '90s frat brah, which doesn't strike me as very practical for crime fighting. Perhaps they are Chuck Norris Action Jeans.
Superman tells them he is having an existential crisis. "Must there be a Superman?" he muses, noting that he has been suffering from depression. He proves this point by stripping off his super suit and changing into brown slacks and an olive green shirt.
Now, I wonder where a self-pitying young man could go after giving up his stressful career in a big city to "discover" himself and wallow in angst?
He slips on some thick-framed square glasses, which is just as well, because in the next frame he's in… Portland!
A Tikitotmoniki totem places us in Jamison Square.
Superman is using his laptop in a Starbucks-esque coffeeshop (called Sundollar Coffee. This is a fantasy universe, you see) like a godamn hipster. In the foreground, a crazed child is begging for pastries, just like in the real Portland.
A pony-tailed barista overhears him saying he's writing a story. Nooo Superman, do not tell someone in the service industry you are a journalist. He will either start showing you his folio or asking you to write about his band. Silly.
Instead, a chubby Superman/Clarke Kent fanboy approaches him and tells him article he's writing—creatively titled article "Must There Be a Superman?"—is a piece of shit (hey, I think I recognize that guy from the WW comments!). I'm pretty sure there are some serious ethical issues with writing an op-ed about your secret superhero alter-ego. Fanboy explains he used to be a writer before getting into politics. God, even in children's comic books Portland's media is being pillaged by the political PR outfits.
They step outside, where children are frolicking in the remarkably deep Jamison fountain (fantasy universe!). A child who is breaking the law by riding on the footpath tells them Superman is "the best" for saving a city from giant robots. Superman says that kids are easily impressed. He now appears to be wearing a far more appropriate brown shirt and messenger bag.
They continue to walk through the Pearl, where some middle class liberal woman in a sensible suit jacket and short hair says she admires Superman for teaching people to accept "aliens" like himself. He says not everyone agrees with her.
They continue to walk, and must be somewhere around NW 5th and Couch, because they meet a fat man with a goatee who says "dude". He, too, loves Superman, but Superman thinks other people "resent" him because he is super and they are not. God, narcissistic much? "I'm too special! Everyone hates me! I will have to settle for being a journalist in Portland! Wah." He'll fit right in.
Then they meet a vaguely Asian looking family with creepy perma-smiles. Fantasy univ—oh, they explain they're visiting from California. Where Superman saved their cat—EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE FOREIGN...and probably stoned. "That's the American way," says mom through gritted porcelain veneers.
Just then, some hep young people are watching the news—on their iPad, natch—and Superman hears through his super hearing that Lois Lane (who he is married to now, apparently; it's nice to see all that unresolved sexual tension from Lois & Clark was addressed, at least) is being held captive in Seattle by a "superpowered woman." On the screen, the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz has a woman in a rear choke.
Superman immediately ditches Portland for Seattle. Fantasy universe!
READ IT: Superman #713 is available now for $2.99 at comic book stores.