Welcome back to Strange Times & Places, where we’re not looking at a specific story but a world of DC’s sprawling Multiverse – Earth 23, home of President Superman!
How’s It Different?
This would be, like most worlds of the Multiverse, a Royale With Cheese – differences pile up until you have a DC Universe that’s at once recognizable and unique. In this case, do you remember back when Barack Obama made a joke about being sent to Earth from the planet Krypton back in 2008? Well, Grant Morrison remembered it when writing Final Crisis #7 and introduced President Calvin Ellis AKA Kalel of Krypton AKA the Superman of Earth 23!
What’s The Story?
Rocketing from the island of Vathlo on the doomed planet Krypton, the baby Kalel landed on Earth and was adopted by the kindly Ellis family. Named Calvin Ellis, he fights for justice both in the superpowered guise of Superman and as the President of the United States!
Best of Differences
- Because the first superhero in this DC Universe happened to be a black man, the black heroes of the DC Universe grew to more prominence earlier – John Stewart is the default Green Lantern, Vixen and Black Lightning are in the “Big 7”, etc. Heroes like Batman and Zatanna remain unchanged.
- Vathlo Island dates back to 1971 as Krypton’s notably independent and isolationist equivalent of Africa. Leave it to Grant Morrison to not just dust off a Pre-Crisis concept like that but to build a world of the Multiverse around it.
- Wonder Woman is Nubia of Themyscira, who debuted on the Pre-Crisis Earth One as Wonder Woman’s black twin sister (I guess “formed from clay” counts as fraternal, not identical) in 1973’s Wonder Woman #204. This Nubia’s history is unclear, but it’s entirely possible she just beat out her sister Diana for the role of ambassador to Man’s World.
- Lex Luthor must fend off accusations of racism on this world. While hating Superman for his power and apparent selflessness tracks with most other Luthors around the Multiverse, one has to admit that the optics on a rich white genius devoting his life to murdering the most powerful black man on the planet aren’t great.
- Lex Luthor uses hallucinogens in his creative process. Since he cracks Multiversal travel while tripping, this is apparently a great idea.