[ bottom ]

               OVER BLACK

               The VOICE OF LESLIE WILLIS fills the air. It's the voice of a
               tough-talking smart-ass.

                                   LESLIE (V.O.)
                         Superman. The name alone is enough
                         to make my skin crawl. I mean, who
                         calls themselves "Super-Man"? I
                         won't even go into the tights and
                         the cape. That's a whole other
                         podcast, my friends. Seriously
                         though, can we say "egomaniac?" The
                         guy flies around the city, throwing
                         cars around like they're paper
                         plates. Causing God knows how much
                         damage in your average month. He's
                         a menace. He's the curse of
                         Metropolis. He's a pimple on the
                         face of an otherwise kinda decent
                         "Look, up in the sky! Oh my God! Is
                         that Superman?" No! It's my
                         insurance rates going up. It's
                         taxes shooting into the beautiful
                         smoggy sky like a rocket-ship. Oh,
                         and that weird feeling under your
                         feet? Those would be our property
                         values. Yeah. Thanks a whole lot,
                         Soopa-freak. Thank you.  
                         And you know what the kicker is?
                         You know the real beauty of this
                         whole story? The guy is considered
                         a hero. There are parades honoring
                         the man who throws cars into
                         buildings! Next thing you know,
                         we'll be building statues, and
                         saluting the new flag of
                         Metropolis. You know, the one with
                         the picture of Superman on it.
                         I like his hair though. He's got
                         great hair. I can just see him
                         waking up in the morning. Whipping
                         out the curling iron for that one
                         little curl in the front. Slicking
                         on enough grease to lubricate the
                         better part of Kahndaq for a month
                         or two. 
                         He does have really great hair.
                         Sometimes, I just wanna scalp him
                         and wear it like a wig...


               FADE IN:

               EXT. CENTENNIAL PARK - DAY

               A LARGE CROWD is gathered in the park. Balloons and banners
               reading "Run For Justice" fill the park as MARATHON RUNNERS
               prepare to start their run.
               JIMMY OLSEN works his way through the crowd, snapping
               pictures of the entire scene. As he walks, he comes across
               MAYOR SACKETT, who is talking with a couple of the runners
               and shaking their hands. He snaps a picture.
               A hand taps Jimmy on the shoulder. He turns and finds CLARK
               KENT standing behind him

                         Hey, Clark.

                         Get any good pictures yet?

                         Mostly a bunch of guys in running

               Clark smiles.

                                   JIMMY (CONT'D)
                         If you're asking if I've seen any
                         sign of you-know-who... no. But
                         when he shows up, I'll bet you
                         anything that he'll stop and let me
                         take a picture. We're tight,
                         y'know? You fall out of a high rise
                         building enough times and you learn
                         to make friends with the guy who
                         keeps on catching you.

                         I can see how that might happen.
                         Just keep an eye out. I'm going to
                         circle the crowd a few more times.
                         There has to be something news
                         worthy around here, right?

                         Guess so.

               Clark walks off, disappearing into the crowd. Jimmy continues
               to snap pictures.

               Moments pass. Jimmy is starting to get bored with this. He
               snaps a picture of a nearby hot dog cart, then pauses to look
               at it with his own eyes.

                                   JIMMY (CONT'D)
                         And that's lunch, everybody. Good

               He starts to walk toward the cart, but before he can make it,
               a shadow crosses the grass in front of him. Jimmy stops
               walking and slowly turns around, looking upward as he turns.

               As his eyes focus on the sky, Jimmy smiles.

                                   JIMMY (CONT'D)
                         Here we go.

               Jimmy grabs his camera and begins snapping pictures of the
               sky as the crowd begins to cheer and make comments like "It's
               him!" and "He's here!"

               SUPERMAN flies over the crowd as they cheer him on. He
               finally lands not far from Jimmy.

                         Hey, Jimmy.

               Jimmy lowers his camera and looks at Superman. He's shocked.

               Superman walks past Jimmy, toward the Mayor.

                         He knows my name.

               Jimmy then remembers his camera and tries to get a picture of
               Superman. All he manages to capture is Superman's back.

               Superman and Mayor Sackett make their way to the starting
               line, with the finish line right behind them. As they reach
               it, Mayor Sackett turns on a microphone and begins to speak.

                                   MAYOR SACKETT
                         Hello, Metropolis!

               The crowd cheers.

                                   MAYOR SACKETT (CONT'D)
                         Hello, America!
                         Today, we come together, not as a
                         city, but as a people. We come
                         together to celebrate the brave men
                         and women of law enforcement, and
                         the sacrifices made so that the
                         people of this great country can
                         sleep at night. We are joined by
                         such police officers, firefighters,
                         emergency medical technicians, and
                         military officers from all over
                         this great nation. From here in
                         Metropolis, to Central City. From
                         Gotham to Gateway and a dozen
                         others, we're here today not just
                         to celebrate those men and women,
                         but to remember those fallen in the
                         line of duty. To help their
                         families overcome the monetary
                         burdens that come from the loss of
                         a parent and the emotional trauma
                         associated with the loss of a
                         mother, a father, husband or wife,
                         son or daughter... We're here to
                         give back to those who put their
                         lives on the line for all of us.
                         Joining me today is an icon of
                         heroism. Battling the most terrible
                         evils of this world and showing us
                         all that humanity is something born
                         from within. Ladies and gentlemen,

               The crowd once again roars as the Mayor hands Superman the

                         Thank you for your cheers, but
                         that's not why I'm here. I'm not
                         the hero that we're celebrating.
                         We're here to celebrate those
                         heroes without special powers.
                         Without heat vision, or super
                         strength. Those who can be shot at
                         and killed with a single bullet and
                         yet choose to put their lives on
                         the line in spite of that fact. Not
                         because they have been given an
                         edge in the battle, but because
                         they believe in doing what is
                         right. These are the truest of
                         heroes. The people that we should
                         all aspire to be.
                         Please don't cheer for me when
                         they're standing here today. I
                         don't deserve it nearly as much as
                         they do.

               The crowd cheers as Superman hands the microphone back to the

                                   MAYOR SACKETT
                         And in that spirit, we want to kick
                         off this run. It's not a race. It's
                         not about who finishes first. This
                         run is about crossing another
                         finish line. The line that brings
                         funds to those in need, and support
                         to those who deserve. That is the
                         point that we have asked Superman
                         to illustrate for us today. To show
                         that this isn't a competition, I
                         have asked Superman to cross the
                         finish line first. So that all who
                         follow do so in the spirit of the
                             (turns to Superman)
                         Ready to kick this off?

                         Whenever you are.

               The Mayor turns to the crowd, raising an air horn. He smiles
               to the crowd.

                                   MAYOR SACKETT
                         On your mark. Get set. Go!

               As Mayor Sackett sounds the horn, Superman superspeeds past
               the starting line and down the street.

               The crowd roars wildly.

               Before Mayor Sackett can even lower the horn, Superman
               crosses the finish line and resumes his place next to the

               Mayor Sackett looks at Superman in awe.

                                   MAYOR SACKETT (CONT'D)

               Superman takes the microphone and turns toward the runners.

                         Good luck.

               The runners begin their journey. 

               ANGLE ON: JIMMY

               As the runners begin running, he snaps pictures. He turns to
               take a picture of Superman with the Mayor, but Superman has
               already left. He shrugs and takes a shot of the Mayor.

               From the crowd behind Jimmy, Clark emerges. He straightens
               his tie and taps Jimmy on the shoulder. Jimmy jumps ever so
               slightly, but relaxes once he sees Clark.

                         You okay, Jimmy?

                         Yeah. You just caught be off guard.
                         So, did you see him? Did you see

                         Hard to miss him.

                         How awesome was it for him to show

                         It's okay, I guess. The whole
                         "crossing the finish line first"
                         thing was a little silly.

                         But really cool.

                         Mostly just silly. Why not whip out
                         a magician's hat and pull a bunny
                         out of it?


                         It was a cheap trick.

                         Lois would have liked it. I think
                         she gets Superman more than you do.

                         Maybe, but Lois is too busy being a
                         big TV star.


                         Believe me when I say that the last
                         thing I want is to be on an
                         internationally broadcast cable
                         news show.

                         You sound jealous.

                         I'm not jealous.

                         Don't worry. It's just a one time
                         thing. You're a good reporter too.

               Jimmy puts a hand on Clark's shoulder to comfort him. Clark
               starts to walk away.

                         Thanks, Jimmy.


               LOIS LANE is sitting at one end of a news desk. In the center
               of the desk is BRIAN LARSON, the host of "On The Clock".
               Finally, at the other end of the table is LEX LUTHOR.

                             (into the camera)
                         Hero, or threat to humanity? It's a
                         debate that's been raging on since
                         Superman appeared in Metropolis
                         nearly two years ago. Today, I'm
                         joined by outspoken Superman
                         opponent, Lex Luthor and Daily
                         Planet columnist Lois Lane who has
                         conducted several interviews with
                         the Man Of Steel. I welcome both of
                         you to the show.

                         Thank you, Brian.

                         Thank you.

                         Now, let's dig right into the heart
                         of this matter, shall we? Mr.
                         Luthor, you've stated several times
                         that you're no fan of Superman.
                         Could you explain why?

                         Sure, Brian. First, I'd like to
                         comment on what you said in your
                         introduction of me. You said that I
                         am an opponent of Superman. I
                         wouldn't really state it in those

                         Didn't you once state...
                             (looking at a sheet of
                              paper on the desk)
                         "Superman poses the greatest threat
                         that humanity has ever faced..."

                         I did say that. However, what I
                         meant by those words was simply
                         that Superman is not of this world.
                         In fact, he has been unwilling to
                         specify exactly where he comes from
                         or why he has come to Earth.

                         That's because he doesn't know
                         where he comes from. He's made it
                         pretty clear that he has no memory
                         of his homeworld.

                         That may very well be true, Ms.
                         Lane, but isn't it also possible
                         that he is simply avoiding the


                         Why do you say that?

                             (looking Luthor in the
                         Because I am a very good judge of

                         We'll get back to that in just a
                         moment, Ms. Lane. First, I'd like
                         to hear what Mr. Luthor has to say.

                         Sure. What I mean to say is that
                         Superman possesses great powers and
                         abilities that make him
                         invulnerable to nearly every manner
                         of defense available to us. I don't
                         think that it is unfair to question
                         the motivations of such a creature.

               Lois holds back responding to that "creature" remark.

                         From what we've seen so far,
                         Superman has done nothing but good.

                         Perhaps. However, he has also
                         endangered the lives of countless
                         civilians during his reckless
                         street fights.

                             (to Lois)
                         Would you care to respond to these

                         Damn right, I would. For starters,
                         why don't we talk about these
                         "street fights", as Lex calls them.
                         The first that comes to mind being
                         the fight between Superman and

                         Also known as John Corben.

                         A criminal who died shortly before
                         being turned into Metallo. He was
                         also an incredibly strong
                         "creature", as some like to
                         classify them. It was Metallo who
                         instigated these fights, and he
                         only did so because some "unnamed
                         company" decided to play God and
                         put a criminal's mind into an
                         artificial body. How can you
                         possibly blame Superman for this?

                         Who am I supposed to blame when
                         cars are thrown around like
                         childrens' toys? 

                         How about the criminals, and the
                         "creatures" that they create in
                         their laboratories?

                         Creatures that somehow didn't exist
                         until nearly the exact same time
                         that Superman first appeared.

                         And thank God he did. Otherwise
                         we'd all be bowing down before some
                         shiny-headed dictator right now. 

                         The fact of the matter is that this
                         city has endured a great deal of
                         destruction in the wake of
                         Superman's arrival. This
                         destruction has been incidental.
                         Merely the result of his battles
                         with his foes. If Superman were to
                         someday decide that he wanted to
                         cause real destruction, what would
                         stop him? If he chose to take
                         control of this city, how would we
                         fight back?

                         Superman has proven himself to us
                         time and time again. If anything,
                         he doesn't take the credit that he
                         should for the job he does here. He
                         is a hero to humanity. For you to
                         belittle that or attempt to make
                         him out to be the next Hitler is
                         just a sign of how small you really

                         I see no need for personal attacks.

                         That's what this whole discussion
                         is about. Unless you are suggesting
                         that Superman's not a person.

                         But isn't it fair to question that
                         much power being held by one
                         person? In a society based on the
                         will of the people rather than any
                         one person, isn't it fair to assess
                         the risks of someone holding such

                         Superman didn't choose to be who he

                         He did choose to use his abilities,
                         however. He chose to impose his

                         The law. Not his will. There is a

                         Is Superman a police officer? A
                         homeland security agent? Does he
                         have any real right to act as he
                         has been?

                         Not only the right, but the
                         responsibility. A person has a
                         responsibility to act when he sees
                         someone in danger, or a crime being
                         committed. We live in a society
                         where a woman can be attacked and
                         brutally beaten as a crowd of
                         people stand by and watch. People
                         ignore the screams of those in need
                         and our entire society suffers
                         because of it. I think it's
                         disgusting that you would criticize
                         someone for doing the things that
                         Superman has done for all of us. If
                         it weren't for him, literally
                         hundreds or thousands of people
                         would be dead today. Myself

                         I am not questioning the fact that
                         Superman has done some good for
                         this world, Ms. Lane.
                         I'm just trying to make sure that
                         we don't get too comfortable,
                         relying on Superman to take care of
                         us. Power corrupts and absolute
                         power corrupts absolutely.

                         Some people, maybe. Until Superman
                         does grow a Hitler-stache though,
                         I'm okay with the idea of him
                         saving us from killer robot men and
                         crazy guys who want to destroy the
                         planet with a giant death ray.

                         Both interesting arguments. Why
                         don't we take a look at the damage
                         done to the city since the arrival
                         of Superman. The cost of
                         reconstruction after the recent
                         Rudy Jones "Parasite" incident was
                         through the roof and a large part
                         of those repairs will come out of
                         the pockets of our tax payers.

                         My point exactly. Superman is
                         simply not trained in the proper
                         method of handling these criminals.
                         He lacks the restraint of a true
                         law enforcement officer.

                         So, you're telling me that if
                         Superman went to the police
                         academy, they'd teach him how to
                         deal with someone like Rudy Jones?
                         Without Superman, it would take an
                         army to take down someone like him,
                         and the damage would be a lot worse
                         than it is now. You can't blame
                         Superman for the crimes of those he

                         News footage clearly shows Superman
                         throwing cars, hot dog carts,
                         benches, and at one point even a
                         statue of Lex Luthor. These objects
                         hit buildings, vehicles, streets,
                         sidewalks... The list goes on.

                         Can you tell me how you'd have
                         handled the situation?

                         I'm not claiming to be--

                         You're suggesting that Superman was
                         responsible for extreme damage to
                         the city. You're implying that he's
                         a menace rather than a hero.

                         That wasn't my intention.

                         I think Ms. Lane is avoiding the
                         subject at hand. The fact is that
                         Superman shows little regard for
                         the city which he claims to

                         I'm not avoiding anything. I'm
                         asking you to tell me how you'd
                         handle these situations. We're not
                         talking about petty thugs and bail
                         jumpers here. We're talking about
                         extreme cases where violence
                         resulted from people with strength
                         and abilities beyond those of
                         normal man. So, if you were to take
                         Superman out of the picture, how
                         would you suggest we deal with
                         these situations?

                         It is our responsibility to figure
                         out an answer to that question. One
                         which doesn't rely on any one
                         person, much less a being from
                         another world whose motivations
                         could be as alien to us as his
                         genetic makeup.

                         He was raised on Earth.

                         So he says.

                         He hasn't done anything to make us
                         doubt him.

                         Intriguing arguments, both. As we
                         end this discussion, do either of
                         you care to voice any final

                         Superman has done nothing but good
                         for this world, alien or not. Leave
                         it to humanity to persecute a man
                         for being genuinely good.


                         I agree that Superman deserves many
                         thanks for the work that he has
                         done, but we must be careful in
                         this situation. We mustn't allow
                         this man to become the voice of
                         justice for our entire society. We
                         must be careful not to allow our
                         city to be overrun by the brutal
                         vigilantism that has come to plague
                         some of our country's other cities,
                         such as Gotham and Star City. 

                         Those comments should keep us
                         thinking until the next time we
                         have the opportunity to talk. 
                             (turns to the camera)
                         I'd like to thank both of our
                         guests. Lex Luthor, founder and CEO
                         of LexCorp. Author of the book "The
                         Road To A Better Tomorrow". Thank
                         you very much for being here.

                         Thank you for having me.

                         And the ever lovely Ms. Lois Lane,
                         reporter for the Daily Planet.

                         Thank you.

                         Coming up after the break: Are our
                         children growing up to fast? From
                         sex on the playground to school
                         shootings, we'll discuss the
                         changing face of childhood in
                         today's culture. Stay tuned. We're
                         "On The Clock."
[ top | next ]