Everything that I read brought one question to the forefront of what's left of my mind these days. What does it mean? What, to be perhaps redundantly specific, does it really mean for Superman to give up his citizenship?
Upon thinking about it further, this invariably led to other questions. Is Superman really an American citizen at all? Is Superman even real?
Now before you accuse me of being delusional and unable to distinguish between fact and fantasy, let me assure that I am not about to tie a beach towel around my neck and leap off the roof of my apartment building shouting "Up, up and away!" For one thing, I have neither a beach towel nor access to the roof. More to the point, I am fully aware that Superman is a fictional character created by a couple of teenagers from Cleveland back in the 1930s and not in any sense "real" in our world. When I ask if Superman is "real" I am speaking solely within the context of the fictional reality in which his never ending story is set.
When you get right down to it, Superman is, as John Byrne took great pains to emphasize when he revamped the character back in 1986, merely a leotard, a pair of boots, a cape and a spit curl. He is a disguise, an assumed identity that allows Clark Kent to carry out his morally dubious, extra-legal super-powered vigilantism under a cloak of anonymity.
It is Clark Kent who is the U.S. citizen, and presumably remained so even after having his public hissy fit in front of the entire world as Superman. Hiding within the persona of Superman allowed Kent to be able to stand up in front of the cameras and tell America what it could go do with itself while escaping the consequences. I assume that there would be some consequences in our reality if a high profile celebrity without a secret identity that he could retreat into publicly renounced his status as a U.S. citizen. At the very least, I suppose that the now former citizen would be asked to exit himself from our shores immediately. Kent, on the other hand, can slap on a pair of hipster glasses and a blue suit and go back to apartment at 344 Clinton Street in Metropolis and his job as a mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper as if nothing ever happened.
That lack of repercussions makes Superman renouncing his non-existent American citizenship a meaningless, empty gesture. Therefore, the entire story itself, no matter how well written or beautifully drawn it may have been (and the pages I've seen on-line have been quite lovely, as a matter of fact), is totally pointless and a waste of paper. Thus, pointless, as well, is all the right wing bluster that accompanied the story's publication. But then, right wing bluster is usually pointless, no matter what the blowhards are blustering about, isn't it?