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Mass Murder Of Steel

Cartoonist makes game to critique the massive urban destruction of Man Of Steel

By Derrick Sanskrit • June 26, 2013

It’s safe to say that, box office aside, Man of Steel wasn’t quite the darling Warner Bros. hoped it would be. Many critics have decried the gritty tone and the amount of violence in a summer blockbuster about arguably the most hopeful superhero in comic book history. The main topic of conversation, though, has been the outrageous excess of urban destruction displayed in the climactic fight sequence between Superman and Zod, with reports estimating that the fictional battle generated more damage than the Sept. 11 attacks. Award-winning cartoonist Kyle Baker reacted to this in a manner about as rational as anything else about the film: by making a game where the two wrestling Kryptonians level a city street like a localized tornado in spandex. In Mass Murder Of Steel, buildings crumble like a sad version of Angry Birds and human silhouettes are reduced to clouds of vaporized blood. Even the lone tree on the street can’t escape the blind Kryptonian rampage.

Baker is no stranger to the genre or to controversy. Among his most well-known works are an extended run both writing and drawing Superman’s teammate Plastic Man, an ex-con turned wacky hero, and on Marvel’s Truth, a book about a black man who served as the first Captain America long before Steve Rogers even enlisted in the armed forces.

For comparison’s sake, Man Of Steel did approximately $700 billion of damage to Metropolis mano-a-mano while The Avengers, with a team of six heroes fighting a massive alien invasion, tuckered out at a mere $160 billion. Nicely played, Warner Bros.!

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22 Responses to “Cartoonist makes game to critique the massive urban destruction of Man Of Steel

  1. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    Look, up in the sky! It’s an angry bird! It’s a hijacked plane! No, it’s Superman!

    Run for your lives!

  2. Brainstrain says:

    “Estimating” that it was more destructive than 9/11…? Two buildings versus the downtown of a major city? Bwuh? Man of Steel killed millions. Not to mention killing most of the population of Smallville, annihilating the buildings which Snyder took care to establish they were taking refuge in.

    I wanted to like it – Zod had powerful motivation. There was an excellent conceptual core there. But Snyder is always the wrong choice.

    • zerocrates says:

      The new Star Trek went in a similar direction (a few times, actually), and was even more overt in its 9/11 parallels.

      To be fair, the link text really understates the “estimate:” the guess was that the Man of Steel endgame was not just worse than 9/11, but over 12 times more destructive, and equivalent to a (radiation-free!) 20 kiloton explosion.

    • Citric says:

      I am eagerly awaiting the day when “A Zack Snyder Film” isn’t a thing anymore.

      • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

        He’s easy enough to ignore.

        I liked Watchmen. There, I said it. It was a bad Watchmen movie, but it was an entertaining comic book movie with unintentional comedic moments (‘Hallelujah’ part, ‘Nooooooo!’ part, Ozzymandias woeful miscasting, fatso Nite Owl somehow having Neo kung fu skills). Similarly, I liked Dawn of the Dead. It was a bad zombie movie (zombies shouldn’t run dammit, it misses the entire point!), but it was an okay actiony movie. I had no idea what the hell was going on with Sucker Punch so can’t really comment on its quality, but it looked nice. Haven’t seen 300, or Man of Steel.

        So the guy can make pretty looking empty movies that offer a couple of hours diversion. He seems to completely miss the point of his source material, but often that doesn’t matter. Look at The Shining, for example. Kubrick reversed everything from the book and made a masterpiece. And with that, I somehow compared Snyder to Kubrick, and the galaxy imploded from the resulting fallout.

        • Citric says:

          Well he’s easy to ignore, but I find myself thinking that a lot of his movies might be stuff I want to see if he was half-ways competent. Like the Watchmen, I liked the book, I even kind of liked parts of the movie, but it’s got that gross CGI gloss he always uses and toddler with a remote control editing, so I found myself wishing a competent director was in charge, to make it less awful.

          I’m not a stickler for accuracy in film adaptations, I can enjoy a bad movie too, but Snyder is just terrible, and I kind of wanted to see a new Superman before he was attached.

        • Brainstrain says:

          I have a friend (a friend with good taste) who adores Watchmen – he hasn’t read the comic, though. Snyder was perfect for 300, but he’s just not smart enough to do anything more ambitious. Well…maybe smart is kinda harsh. He has no subtlety at all, and working in a visual medium, that’s pretty much a necessity I would think.

        • TeaCaddy says:

          Dr Manhattan’s cock. No! Bad Snyder! Put it away!

        • Halloween_Jack says:

          The maddening thing about the Watchmen movie is that it’s about halfway there, and looks like it could have made it the rest of the way, or at least most of it, with just a little more effort and/or self-awareness on the director’s part of his own tics. Jackie Earle Haley was perfect as Rorschach, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Billy Crudup pretty good, and Patrick Wilson surprisingly good, but Malin Ackerman and Matthew Goode both just pull me right out of the movie–they don’t even seem to understand that they’re supposed to be playing people who are middle-aged or close to it. Similarly for the fight scenes; Moore wrote the fight scene in the alley with Nite Owl and Silk Spectre to show that they won fights by fighting dirty, not that they can snap a full-grown man’s arm like a twig. 

        • JamesJournal says:

          Dawn of the Dead = Awesome

          300 = Good base entertainment that runs a bit to long

          Sucker Punch = It’s a mess, and it wants me to feel bad about the male gauze baiting that is really the only thing holding any of it together

          Watchmen = Not terrible, but it grossly misses the point of the comic, and I do want to see it again.

          Man of Steel = zzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzZZZzz

    • Grimbus says:

      “But Snyder is always the wrong choice.”


  3. Kyle O'Reilly says:

    I get the backlash against Superman’s super-violence, but Snyder set out to make this generation’s version of Superman and this generation loves loaded dialogue that sounds like it could mean something deep but really doesn’t, and also grew up watching Dragonball Z.  So it’s not like he failed in his mission.

    I went into the movie expecting nothing much beyond some kinetic visual effects madness and guess what I got?  Straight smash-em up visual effects madness plus Henry Cavill’s bad ass fuckin’ chest hair.

    I would watch a thousand cities rendered to dust just to see that chest hair. *sigh*

    • 2StoryOuthouse says:

      I’m kind of sick of everybody’s generalization of the destruction as a result of the one-on-one Supes v. Zod fight. A good 99% of the destruction was done by Zod’s doomsday device, not from invincible people throwing each other through walls. The Smallville fight was handled much more poorly, explicitly showing people hiding but not showing them emerging afterwards.

      I’m not saying the movie is without its flaws, but I call bullshit on this ongoing narrative of collateral damage outrage.

      • caspiancomic says:

         I have no great love for Man Of Steel, but I find it a little odd that people are claiming that because The Avengers had six superheroes to Steel’s one, they for some reason ought to have done more damage. I was almost certain the superheroes were the guys trying to prevent the damage, so surely having more of them around would naturally result in less destruction.

        • Marijn Lems says:

          It’s more about the fact that they were fighting a massive alien army, and Superman was fighting one guy/other Superdude.

        • Guywhothinksstuff says:

          It’s about the scale of the battle (an army as opposed to one guy, who would have been much easier to relocate to a less populated area), but also about how The Avengers went out of their way to help civilians, guided them to safety and did their best to reduce collateral deaths. Kal-El just threw Zod into buildings without checking.

      • Naked Man Holding A Fudgesicle says:

        LEAVE HIM ALONE! You are lucky he even fought for you BASTARDS!

        LEAVE SUPERMAN ALONE!…..Please.

        edit~ Oh disqus. You’re the Lex Luthor of comment board systems.

    • DJDeluxeSupreme says:

      I kind of agree with you.  I’m not saying it was a good movie, and the criticisms against the movie are valid, and I sympathize with them.  But in a way, the public got the Superman movie it’s been asking for.  I remember when Returns came out, the most common complaint against Superman is that he’s boring because he’s invincible, so there’s no real conflict in a story where he fights Lex Luthor, or anybody, unless Kryptonite is brought in.  Superman needs a villain that could actually pose a threat, Darkseid or Brainiac.  In other words, we wanted Superman to fight and punch someone, and get punched a lot too.  Well, we got what we wanted.  A disgustingly excessive spectacle of violence.

      The thing is neither criticism is invalid.  The problem with this movie is that the violence we were craving from Superman wasn’t justified by character or consequence or necessity.  The violence was pure spectacle, the aftermath treated as inconsequential.  

    • Jonathan Dewar says:

      So glad I’m not the only person that thought that Man of Steel was Supermanball Z.

    • TheMostPopularCommenter says:

      Zod taking his armour off was very Friezaesque.

  4. TeaCaddy says:

    He’s Superman. He could take out the entire solar system just by lighting the gas from his indestructible arsehole. Of course he out-trashed the Avengers, for fuck’s sake. 

    • Halloween_Jack says:

      …you may have stumbled across the one superpower that the Silver Age Superman didn’t have.