Popular Culture Review Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 2017 - Page 123

In any case, Regalado has studied the source material, and the chapter, “From Strange Visitors to Men of Tomorrow,” highlights numerous instances in the pages of Superman comics in which the Kryptonian strongman wrestles with images of modernism (weapons manufacturers, tenements, bogus oil stocks). Captain America and Wonder Woman too, are spotlighted, the latter repeatedly neutralizing “violent situations in completely nonviolent ways.” But it’s the scholar’s appraisal of comics fandom and the new misanthropy of today’s corporate comics that really hits hard. When he concludes, “Run by relatively small companies and intimately tied to fan communities, superheroes were arguably more connected to their consumers for much of their publication histories,” readers will be left mulling an important issue: Are today’s mainstream comics, steeped in progressive values yet more violent and cynical than ever, truly more subversive than yesterday’s white-patriarchal products? The answer is rewardingly complex thanks to Bending Steel, and two other indispensable UMP releases (The Ten Cent War, The British Superhero). 118