February 2nd, 2006


Is It Okay For Superman To Lie?

Superman is supposed to stand for truth, justice, and the American way, right? So why does he lie all the time?

Just last week, here's what I came across (spoilers for Smallville's "Reckoning" and All-Star Superman #2):

On Smallville, Clark hides the truth about his origins from Lana. In "Reckoning", he told her, but it ended up killing her, so once the day was reversed, he started lying to her all over again.

In STAS' "Mxyzpixilated", After Clark confronts Mr. Mxyzptlk in Smallville, everything turns back to normal and his mother asks him if something happened, and he replied that nothing did.

At the end of All-Star Superman #1, Superman tells Lois he's really Clark Kent. In #2 she doesn't believe him (he's fooled her many times, including having her see both of them in the same place at once) and he says "I swear I wouldn't lie to you" to which she replies "Don't swear...because if you were Clark...if Clark Kent was secretly Superman or the other way around, whatever. If it was all a 'ruse'. That would mean you'd been lying to me for years, wouldn't it?"

So what's the deal? In the first two examples, he's lying to protect someone. In the first one it's more severe, and in the second it's a little white lie. Should both of these be okay?

The third example is a big one because Superman lies to the world and those close to him. How can we call him a role model when he's living a lie? Or is it excusable because his secret protects his loved ones? But when he lies to his loved ones, they feel betrayed when (if?) they find out. Should Superman be losing people's trust like that?

What kind of confidence does that inspire in everyone (I'm talking real world here because most people in the DCU don't even think Superman has a secret identity)? Or does this just go to show that everyone has their own secrets their allowed to keep? Can Superman keep his secret and still stand for truth?