Reviews for The Metropolitan Man
jdboss2 chapter 1 . 7/8
This is the best Superman story I have ever read
bauers374 chapter 5 . 7/13/2023
huh Sal Maroni?

I assume that's a batman reference
bauers374 chapter 2 . 7/9/2023
I love how you have Lex pointing out in universe how X-ray vision doesn't work like an X-ray
Guest chapter 13 . 6/18/2023
This is such a compelling story. I love the complexity of the characters and their motivations. This story deserves a longer review, but I've stayed up too late reading, and my brain isn't working properly. Just wanted to say how much I loved it though.
Guest chapter 13 . 2/19/2023
Typewriter21 chapter 1 . 1/16/2023
DAUMN 0 . 0
Dasgun chapter 1 . 11/25/2022
deadparrot chapter 13 . 11/2/2022
Absolutely fantastic read
Peter Foote chapter 1 . 11/2/2022
I found your story through one of the Reddit threads which introduced me to your story and this site.

As a 62 year old comic book fan, starting to read comics at 4 or 5 when DC comics were 12 and 80 page giants were 20-25, I’ve been a long fan of Superman and have read and watched a great deal of the literature including the novel from the 30’s or 40’s.

I have to say that I found your work intricate, well constructed and fascinating both in what it says about our world and our basest fears.

I’ll start with Lois. While I tremendously admire Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of Superman, particularly his onscreen transformation from Clark to Kal-el based entirely on his acting and characterization skill rather than special effects, I found Margot Kidder’s Lois was flawed in being too much the air headed victim, a perils of Pauline figure, from the days of Superman’s origin.

Your characterization of Lois, despite being set in 1934, is of a brilliant, tough, modern woman, fighting within societal limits, to achieve the most she can be. A thinking feeling, human and thereby flawed character which enhances the value of your work greatly.

Lex’s development is extraordinarily well developed, his motivations clear, and the fear that drives him powerfully used to achieve his ends. Yet, the work becomes a tragedy of lost possibilities because he allows himself to be driven to destroy what he cannot control and so fears.

Clark/Superman is also brilliantly flawed. He is also driven primarily by his fears, and by the emotional toll that being not quite godlike enough to save everyone, not even himself and as human as any spaceship created near human could be.

So rather than being an entertaining piece of fan fiction, which it is, your work in The Metropolitan Man, elevates itself to a treatise on the damage caused by those who fear, those who have an urge to dominate and control, those who wish to strip everyone else of their choices, their free will and their autonomy.

I can’t think how well timed this work was given that it’s release preceded the 2016 election by two years.

You also had some truly innovative thinking in the development of this world in the DC multiverse, we’re it to be added to cannon, The description of the Planet Krypton was. Fascinating and would look so compelling on screen.

Clark’s need to lie about so much is fascinating. Yet again it illustrates the power of lies to tear apart relationships, and admitting the truth to heal them if too late.

Thanks for a thumping great read!
Peter James Foote
Peter Foote chapter 8 . 11/2/2022
And not to be taken as gospel…

And is not to be…
Peter Foote chapter 8 . 11/2/2022
TypoThere much to the science of Superman…”

Should probably be “There’s much to….”
Marksbay chapter 13 . 10/24/2022
Guest chapter 6 . 9/17/2022
This is good work.
You need a period after ‘mathematician’.
itioministralis chapter 8 . 8/28/2022
This story is great honestly, and it got me thinking. Especially the author's note after chapter 8. There's a psychological thought experiment called the Trolley Problem, you might've heard of it. A runaway trolley is going to kill five people that are tied to the tracks. You can do nothing and let it kill those 5 or divert it to another track where just 1 person is tied up. Most people would probably say it's better to kill just 1 person, but will actually do nothing if this experiment were real. They'd think up a hundred and one justification to their inaction (it's not my problem, i'm not a god to choose that kind of thing, i'm not responsible), but they will kill 5 people all the same. When it comes to moral principles, I'm a firm believer that one should only take a look at the end result, not the process, or justification or conviction. It doesn't matter what you believe in. If you kill 5 people instead of 1, you're objectively morally wrong. How does this tie with the conscientious objectors? How does this tie with the moral dilemma of a tolerant society and the intolerant? A truly tolerant society will never be tolerant towards the intolerant. A true pacifist would kill for his beliefs. Might sound a bit counterintuitive, eh? Not taking action in face of adversity, whether it be because of beliefs, cowardice or something else, is as morally wrong as the adversity itself. Killing 5 people is idiotic. As is not killing a man who would kill more in the future. As is being tolerant towards the intolerant. It's a perverse self-aggrandizing moral high horse wherein one puts themself above the rest while being below them. Sadly ironic. This whole thing is to say that Superman, with all his beliefs that cater so much to the Western society, influenced by his objector dad, is the most immoral being in the entire story.
Prism chapter 13 . 8/28/2022
I've always been a Luthor apologist. To me the character is nearly a hero: utilitarian and humanist, a great believer in the capacity of humanity and afraid of Superman for what he represents. Introducing the notion of Superman as an x-risk is a natural evolution of the character at his most thoughtful (obviously Luthor's been interpreted in many ways by many authors, just looking at the canon.)

I've also always been a Superman apologist. Pointing out that Superman's aspirational goals of using his power to help others is flawed is well-trodden territory (Invincible, The Boys, Irredeemable, Superman: Red Son... the list goes on) but the point of the character always was that he isn't bound by human limitations. A human cannot do what Superman does; but Superman isn't human, so he can. It's like the answering the old chestnut "Could God create a rock so heavy he could not lift it?" with "Yes; and then He would lift it anyways." Superman does not face our constraints because he is above them, and instead he represents both in and out-of-universe a symbol for others to live good lives and help others and so on.

Obviously this story isn't true to my vision of Superman, and a flawed messiah like him is probably too dangerous to be allowed to live. But the same can be said of Luthor, and anyone like him. Furthermore, in 11 years the atomic bomb will become reality, and the danger of that weapon must vastly outstrip Luthor's most pessimistic Superman scenarios. Luthor never considers this, and the story repeatedly mentions that he is happy to make war machines. He'll probably be one of the luminaries of this universe's Manhattan Project.

So we have two men driven by ideals - Luthor by utilitarian calculus, Superman by a Kantian adherence to his own code of ethics based off Christian morality - and ultimately neither lives up to it. But Superman TRIES to, as Lois points out. Luthor pours vast amounts of thought into killing Superman and never, ever considers the morality of his own actions except in the moments after he kills Superman.

With this perspective, the ending is unbearably bleak. The hypocrite triumphs over the honest man, the cynic over the idealist, the brute (and I do think this version of Luthor is a brute) over the relative innocent. I'm not a big fan of sad endings in general, and this one is too dark a pill for me to swallow...

But I have a separate reading. In the previous chapter, when Superman is talking to Lois, he asks her, "Do you think you're better than me?" That's what undergirds both Lois AND Luthor's disdain for Superman: they both think, deep down, that they can use his power better. And they're both wrong. These are the two people who are closest to understanding Superman, and that very closeness causes them to turn their noses up and decide the messiah should be destroyed for not being messianic enough. And there's no way Superman hasn't realized this: that anyone he gets close to it, be it the razor-sharp reporter or the genius industrialist, or maybe in another time a dark vigilante or an Amazonian princess, will always think that he uses his powers incorrectly and try to push him to be different.

Superman has already failed his code of ethics once, when he killed the mob boss. His flawless vision of justice slammed into his own flawed self, and he has no guarantee it will not happen again. His reward for this constant pain and fear is the disdain of everyone who could ever be close to him. What a painful, horrible existence.

So he kills himself. He enters Luthor's office, knowing it will be a nest of traps, and he tells Luthor what he wants to tell everyone: that he's a good person who did his best, but that's not good enough, it'll never be good enough, and so instead of live with that suffering, or live a lie as Clark, he'd rather just collapse the moral wave function and let the only person who possibly can obliterate him. The moment the door opened, Superman could have blown Mercy backwards with a gust of wind, or thrown the desk at her. But he knew Luthor wouldn't let him leave that room alive if Lex could at-all help it. As Mercy points out, Superman had many many options - he just happened to choose the one that kills him? Luthor got incredibly lucky? Or maybe this was suicide-by-Lex, done in a way to plant a seed of idealism and regret into the sociopathic mind of Luthor as one final act of goodness as Superman takes the extremely selfish and perfectly understandable choice to cease to be.

This, to me, is a far more interesting course of events than Superman underestimating Luthor and dying. It's also far less bleak, weirdly. This is Superman following his own ethics, and his own experiences, to their logical end.

I don't know if my reading is supported by this text, but I like it better, I think it fits the themes of the story better. Great fic, thanks for writing it.
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