Superman: Red and Blue #5 proves that the Man of Steel is a hero in and out of costume, as Clark Kent stops a violent crime without using his powers.
WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from “De-escalation” in Superman: Red and Blue #5, on sale now from DC Comics.
A routine visit to a corner store gave Clark Kent the chance to shine without the need for the cape and shield in G. Willow Wilson, Valentine De Landro, and Wes Abbott’s “De-escalation” story from Superman: Red and Blue #5. In the story, a young man attempts to rob a corner store where Clark happens to be shopping, and Kent steps in without changing to his iconic alter ego.
While Kent is speaking with a store employee, an armed assailant entered the store and demanded all the money in the cash register. Clark remained composed, however. He knew that thanks to his abilities no one was in immediate danger, but he could also sense that this was not a situation that demanded he use his gifts. Instead, he correctly deduced that this was the robber’s first time committing a crime. Clark could tell his heart wasn’t really in it, so he attempted to diffuse the situation.
He started by revealing that the gun the man was using had a shot lodged in the chamber, possibly using his x-ray vision to do so, but this also could have been a bluff. If it wasn’t however, that meant that if this man pulled the trigger he would risk losing at least one finger. This frightened the man enough to hear Clark out. He explained that he never thought about how robbing a store would mean holding a gun on people. When he began wondering if this was the end of the line for him, Clark gave him the chance to simply walk away so long as the man promised never to do something like this again.
Maybe it was the certainty in Clark’s voice, his calm composure, or a combination of the two that made the man believe what Kent was saying. Whatever the reason, he trusted Clark enough to hand over his weapon and walk away from the crime.
It’s a small moment in comparison to some of the battles Clark has been a part of, but it’s still a massive win for him. Kent was able to not only stop a crime from happening, but also convince someone to not embark on a life of crime. Even more impressive is the fact that Clark did it without using any of the vast powers that come with living a double life as Superman. He simply talked to a troubled soul and empathized with him, proving that in or out of costume Kent will always be a great hero.
Superman is known for seeing the best in everyone, even those in the midst of making a bad choice. He believes that all people will make the choice to do good if given the opportunity, and that belief defines him both in and out of costume. The principles and kindness that Clark embodies are on full display when Superman saves the day, but they don’t go away when he puts the glasses back on. With or without his powers, Clark Kent is a hero because he cares enough to seek out the good in others and helps them realize it within themselves.
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