Heresy of the Week is a (mostly) weekly spot in which I entertain some of the unthinkable notions of geek-culture. The arguments I put forward are not always things I personally agree with, but often rhetorical devices designed to force myself (and maybe readers) out of the boxes which fan discussions can get caught in. But that aside, feel free to get yourselves worked up and your knickers in a twist if you really want to.
This week’s heresy:
“In the wake of Gotham‘s burgeoning success in bringing a pre-Batman world to TV screens, it seems that certain people linked to DC are considering a prequel series to Man of Steel, set on Krypton. And contrary to what the naysayers might thing; it really could work.”
Okay, bear with me a moment here.
No, I didn’t particularly rate Man of Steel. It was too heavy, too grey, too oppressive in Zack Snyder’s visual-w**nk style without backing it up with substance in the story. I wasn’t as bothered as everyone else by Superman killing someone at the climax (spoiler?), but it still left me cold.
With the recently rumoured “Krypton” TV series being developed, though, I think that they could be onto something.
As regular readers will know, I’ve been watching Gotham recently, which is a Batman prequel series, focusing on the world of the franchise before Batman. So far it has been funny, engaging and entertaining, with ample room in the source material to dig furrows a-plenty.
There is, therefore, no reason why the same cannot be done with the Superman mythos. Indeed, DC traditionally has been stronger on the small screen than the big — a medium now almost completely dominated by Marvel, as far as comic book adaptations are concerned.
There is an added burden that, whilst Gotham is based in the established canon — as much as there is one — but untethered to any other Batman property. The proposed Krypton series would, as I understand it, be directly a prequel to Man of Steel itself.
But there was one part of Man of Steel that I did like — and that was the first third or so of the film, the parts set on, err, Krypton. So if that were the world to be explored, a landscape left pretty much untapped by the film, then it has potential. There is a lot of Kryptonian society left untouched, such as the genetically engineered society, or how they fell back from spacefaring.
Not to mention that Russell Crowe’s Jor-El was one the best characters in the film.
So there is potential in the idea. The other reason that it may not be a complete flop is that, as far as I can tell, this is a brainchild of the film’s writer, David Goyer, not its director. So if this were driven by someone other than Snyder — who, let’s face it, will be far too busy trying to turn the DC film universe into an over-sexualised music video — then it would take away one of the big problems Man of Steel suffered from.
Which isn’t to say that Man of Steel was otherwise perfect. The writing was, at turns, bananas, but in the right hands that can work something brilliant (American Horror Story, anyone? -Ed). If it wasn’t filtered through Snyder’s Michael-Bay-in-waiting visual aesthetic, coming out like it was made with a child on too much sherbet, then I might not have complained as loudly as I did.
Above all, the Kyrptonian elements in Man of Steel were god-damn sci-fi! Or they could have been, with a little more fleshing out. Krypton the series could be that fleshing out.
So what would I do? I’m glad you asked (Yeah, nobody asked… -Ed).
I would make a series focusing on a young Jor-El, following him as he grows into Superman’s absentee father, becoming more and more uncomfortable with the regimented, pre-ordained nature of Kryptonian society. I’d also add into the mix Jor-El’s best friend Zod, who sees the same crumbling of Krypton that Jor-El does, whilst taking a radically different path towards a solution.
Eh, it’s not perfect, perhaps, but it seems a damn sight better than the disorganised and gloomy mess of Man of Steel. Plus, we could find out what that bit of skull was all about. And those dragon things. And who doesn’t love a good dragon thing?