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Humans and Paragons: Essays on Super-Hero Justice Paperback – December 30, 2016
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Everything in here is worth spending time with, but each piece offers a new angle on characters that have been around for eight decades in some cases. Indeed, it's one of the first comprehensive works to really ask whether great power and responsibility go hand in hand. Paul Jaissle, for example, ponders whether superheroes go far enough in trying to change the world, or they are just defending the status quo. In a later essay, Jaissle also gives a convincing defence of Man of Steel as a film in telling us why there must be Superman movies. Michal Siromski's examination of the Joker in terms of his psychopathy is a fascinating window into the mind of Batman's most enduring villain. Rebecca Johnson, in the volume's most personal and inspirational piece, reminds us that we need that darkness as it "proves the sunshine."
Many of the chapters continue to deconstruct old faithfuls like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, the Christopher Nolan Batman films, and of course, Watchmen, but Jaime Infante Ramírez's balanced look at Frank Miller's moral positions (and their changes over time) is a fresh take. There's also some terrific new looks at the violence in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (by John Loyd), and Boucher's interview with Mark Waid is an essential read. Whether you're a casual reader of comics or watcher of the films, there's plenty to ponder in this tome.