The Law Is A Ass # 301: Wonder Woman: If Lookers Could Kill

Bob Ingersoll

By day Bob Ingersoll was an attorney in the Cuyahoga County Public Defender Office, Appellate Division in Cleveland, Ohio, until he retired in 2009. But in the “Real World” he has also been a freelance writer since 1975, when he sold his first comic-book story to the late, lamented Charlton Comics. He’s still at it and, in addition to his long-running column “The Law Is a Ass” has sold stories to DC, Marvel, Innovation, Now Comics, Comico, Kitchen Sink and others; as well as co-authoring the novels Captain America: Liberty’s Torch and Star Trek: The Case of the Colonist’s Corpse. Bob is married with children, which is about as close to Al Bundy as he cares to get.

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8 Responses

  1. Bob Ingersoll says:


    The Lone Ranger can dispense justice with his .45s, too. But his target should be different; guns instead of hands.

    My take on Superman and THE MAN OF STEEL is largely the same as Chris Sims’s take. (At least I think it’s Chris’s take): Superman must ALWAYS be better than us. Otherwise he’s terrifying.

  2. But even Superman, in post-Crisis continuity, killed, and for even less of a reason than Diana had. In Superman (2nd series) #22 by John Byrne, Superman had the three Phantom Zone criminals, whose powers had been removed by Gold Kryptonite, imprisoned in a bunker, on the lifeless Earth of the Pocket Universe. Zod threatened that somehow, they would find a way to restore their powers, escape from the bunker and the universe, return to Superman’s Earth, and destroy everyone there as they did to the Pocket Earth. So, in response to what appeared to be an empty threat, Superman opened a box of Green Kryptonite, and killed all three of them.
    Granted, this later caused him to create a split-personality, exile himself from Earth, and, later vow never to kill again, but his initial action

    • Mark Patterson says:

      From the Byrne story, an argument can be made that Superman was putting Zod and Company out of their misery. Remember, the air had been made unfit for humans to breathe and the ecosystem had been destroyed (no food or water), The only breathable air on the planet was in the bunker that Superman constructed to hold them.

      If he’d just left them on the planet, they’d have lasted hours at most. It would have been a very cruel death. The Kryptonite was quicker. Although if he were truly interested in that sort of justice, he could simply have snapped their necks…something Kryptonian would still have been responsible for carrying out the sentence.

      The Superman I grew up with would have stuck them back in the Phantom Zone. I’d have been happy with that.

  3. Bob Buethe says:

    I sort of agree with Stephen Welch when he says that “it is through [questionable] decisions that the reader identifies with and hopefully learns something about themselves. ” But that’s why we have supporting characters like Jimmy Olsen and Bibbo and Steve Lombard and Cat Grant. They’re the flawed Everyman types who have to make the tough decisions and sometimes choose wrong. They’re the ones who are there for us to identify with and make us face ourselves. We need them, but we also need heroes to look up to, to aspire to, to show us that we can be better. That’s what Superman and Wonder Woman are for. I want heroes who inspire me to reach new heights. I never want to see them dragged down through the dirt — unless it’s to show them nobly struggling back up.

    • Bob Buethe says:

      I just want to add — for a long time, I’ve held the position that many of the best superhero stories are not about the superheroes. They’re about the ordinary people that surround them. I don’t mind “perfect” heroes, but they shouldn’t be the focus of the stories.

      • mike weber says:

        Like the Hitman story in which Monaghan gave the Big Blue Boy Scout a pep talk…

        • Bob Buethe says:

          I’ve never read Hitman. What was the gist of the pep talk?

          • mike weber says:

            Meta-hitman Tommy Monaghan is sitting on a tenement roof.

            Superman shows up. He’s in a depressive funk.

            He had just rescued the crew of a Mars mission when the nuclear reactor powering the ship went bad.

            Or he thought he had.

            Just as the crew get off the ship as he holds the hatch to the runaway reactor closed so that they can get to the lander and escape the ship, he looks down – and spots the mission commander, whom everybody had believed had been killed when he went to try to shut down the reactor, trapped.

            And he says

            It was so plain what he was thinking, in that one instant when we met each other’s eyes. I’ll take it to my grave. “You’re Superman” … “And you’re not going to save me.”

            and the ship explodes.

            Everybody expects Superman to save the day.

            But he can’t save them all, and this has really hit him.

            Monaghan gives him an excellent pep talk about the American ideal and the immigrant experience – pointing out that he exemplifies it in a big way.

            He explains that even if everybody knows Supes can’t save them all, simply knowing he’s there inspires others. That he’s proof that, even if the world isn’t perfect, anyone and everyone can do their part to make it better.

            Basically, he gives Superman a verbal boot in the ass when he needs it.

            And Superman thinks about it, thanks him, shakes his hand – and signs an autograph Monaghan asks for and flies away, ready to be an inspiration.

            And Tommy, doing his little bit to make the world a better place, picks up his rifle from the ledge on the side of the building and blows away the loan shark in the apartment across the street he was watching when Superman turned up.

            Hitman 34 – the whole run is worth reading; Ennis & McCrea