Yesterday, DC Comics released the first few pages of their new Superman comic book, Superman Unchained, written by current DC wonderkind Scott Snyder with pencils from the legendary Jim Lee.
The book opens with on a frightened Japanese town, reeling from a recent, horrific attack on a nearby city. A young boy named Ichuru goes outside to escape his parents’ discussion on the attack, only to look up in the sky and find out that his town is going to share the same fate. It is here at the we find out the context of this event: We are in Nagasaki, 1945. The horrific attack was the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and is moments from happening again.
But here is where things get interesting. Snyder reveals that the bomb wasn’t a bomb, but a person with terrible powers. An interesting twist, but not what got my attention. What did was the date: April 9, 1945.
Now, there are two options here. The first is that, by already establishing that the bomb was actually a person, World War 2 plays out differently in the DC Universe than our history books. That would actually be pretty fascinating to read. The New 52, in it’s complete retcon, lost the heroes who were active during World War 2, which consisted of the members of the Justice Society, who currently star in the book Earth 2. Superheroes used to go back to the war effort in DC (similar, but not too much, to how Marvel has Captain America), but now, in the new retcon timeline, super-powered people are a recent phenomenon (at least to the general public) and the new Justice Society are modern contemporaries, appearing AFTER Superman, Batman, et al. With that, there is a potential that WWII plays out differently, one that would be interesting to see explored.
But I doubt that is going to happen because of the second option: This is an editorial error and, in my opinion as a history major, a kind of big one. It’s clear that they are not exploring an alternate WWII reality because of the date. The actual date of the Nagasaki bombing was AUGUST 9, 1945, nearly the same date except someone got the wrong A-named month.
It’s fun to find inaccuracies in comic books. Marvel used to have an “honor” for finding errors called the “No-Prize.” And now, we have probably the first big error of the New 52. It’s exciting to see and even more exciting to try and get DC to acknowledge the mistake, which is partly the reason for this post.
So enjoy the New 52’s version of World War 2. I’ll have a review of Superman Unchained tomorrow (advance reviews have surprisingly been lukewarm) and I will keep you up to date on my crusade for historical accuracy in DC Comics. If someone can make a legitimate, reasoned argument as to why Superman should wear his red underwear in Man of Steel and still be taken seriously, I feel I can point out errors of genuine consequence. I guess the history books will tell us for sure.