Truth and Justice #4 shows that as much as Superman fights to save the universe, Clark Kent is the real champion of social justice in America.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Truth & Justice #4, by Brandon Easton, Jahnoy Lindsay, Marissa Louise and AndWorld Design, on sale now.
In the annals of DC history, Superman has always been a force for good and someone who stands against oppression. From last year’s Superman Smashes the Klan to the 1940s radio stories that inspired it, Superman’s tireless devotion to justice is a core part of why he’s such an iconic, beloved character. It’s not just about fighting cosmic tyrants and other sinister villains, whether by himself or with the Justice League, but about standing up for the common folk too and the voiceless.
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And in Truth and Justice #4, we get another look at why the Man of Steel is not afraid to show he’s a champion for social justice, even in his alter ego as Clark Kent.
In this story, Clark’s a staunch defender of Bud, a young Black man who was incarcerated despite evidence suggesting he wasn’t guilty of a robbery. Clark collected even more evidence and helped build a case in the public eye. However, a group of apparent white supremacists are using teleporting tech to kidnap people like Bud and make it look like they escaped custody. Despite their underhanded tactics, Clark’s unseen opponents seem to be winning the battle of public perception, with even Perry White and the Daily Planet hesitant to dig into what’s really going on.
But as a journalist, it’s his role to unearth the truth even when it goes against the grain. As much as Superman saves Bud from a bullet or chides racist cops, he knows Clark has to do the job of convincing the public because they need to hear it from a human. In an effort to reveal the scope of what’s going on,m Clark Kent goes on a political talk show where he makes a case for the Black men against a hostile host.
As Clark mentions tenets of structural racism like implicit bias, arrest quotas, corrupt politicians and exoneration rates, he even admits that his white privilege got him out of potentially sticky situations with the authorities in Smallville when he was a young man.
After making his point on TV, the issue comes to the fire when a group of teleporting masked vigilantes confronts a group of criminal justice reform protesters. Kal-El warns them about due process and how they’re tainting the idea of vigilantism, but they’ve got kryptonite cuffs ready to slap on him.
The issue ends there with Kal weakened against these faceless footsoldiers, but their message is clear. Despite all the good he’s done for the world, Superman is an alien who’s trying to stop them from carrying out their perverse mission, and outsiders like him aren’t part of their narrow vision of the world.
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