Dan Jurgens, a popular comic book artist and writer and one of the men responsible for resurrecting Superman in the 90’s with “The Death of Superman” story arc (which was literally my first comic book) recently spoke with Comicosity about why he feels Man of Steel handled the moment of Superman killing General Zod better than it has been handled in the comics and goes into a bit more detail why it needed to happen the way that it did.
He also talks about his current run(s) he is doing for DC, other projects, who he likes to work with more and desired characters he’d like to do.
Jump to 54 minutes if you want to just hear his opinion on the Man of Steel ending
“It was hugely controversial and I think if the Internet had existed at that time, it would have been that times three,” Jurgens told Comicosity. “I always thought that if Superman was going to be put in that position, that it had to be a more immediate threat. It didn’t bother me so much, Superman killing the Kryptonians, as it was him being just a stone-cold executioner. If you think of that cover — there’s a green cover and I think it was Superman itself where he’s actually wearing the hood like an executioner would wear. That was, to me, the problem. If you wanted to have Superman kill the Kryptonians, I think it had to be a situation where innocent life was in immediate peril and the only way to stop them from taking innocent life was to kill them. At that point, Superman makes the same decision, but he’s much more Superman as part of that. And the funny thing is, everybody gets twisted in knots over of that scene in the movie — yet that’s what Superman did. When Superman kills Zod in the movie, it’s because there are human beings there who are in immediate danger. The problem with the comic book was, I always thought, not that Superman did it as it was the way he did it, because he was judge, jury and executioner right there. And it was a police officer walking right up to an individual who had dropped his gun, dropped his knife, said ‘I surrender,’ waved the white flag…and still [blowing] his head off. That’s basically what it was.”
He also goes into why he never retconned the story regardless of how it was handled.
“I think that would have been unfair to the readers,” Jurgens argued. “And frankly it would have been unfair to John and to the character himself. It’s important to remember, at that time, Superman was experiencing a new height in popularity, more people were reading the book, more people were on board with it, and there were people who liked that story. It wouldn’t have been for me to go retcon it. I wouldn’t have felt right doing that. I wouldn’t have written it the way it was done, but that doesn’t mean I thought it was something that should be done away with.”
He then talks about the Exile story arc, where Superman, feeling grief for his execution of Zod and the two other Kryptonians flees as he begins to feel like he is a threat to humanity and goes on a road to redemption and eventually making the decision to never kill again, a story that Zack Snyder and David S Goyer have said their intentions are as well.
Seemingly agreeing with Carlin’s assessment, he said that “the story became the device that was used for him to say ‘I will never kill again.’ So I think you take that story and then turned it into a greater asset for the character, and again it was making lemonade out of the lemons and I think it’s a story that still serves the character well for what he ended up becoming.”
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