Since the close of the second World War a number of writers have offered up the possible future if things had gone a different way; if the United States and the Allies had not prevailed.
In Superman / Wonder Woman Whom Gods Destroy Chris Claremont (X-Men) takes the perspective that time is actual and when Superman debuted in Action Comics in 1938 he really debuted to the world in 1938 and we are entered into this world at a not-specifically-defined point in time. We know it’s later than 1962 (as will be explained later) and by best guess based on the age of Lois Lane and Lana Lang it would be sometime in the 1970s.
Germany won World War II and it was they, not the Americans, who utilized nuclear bombs to do so. Metropolis was destroyed and Superman could not prevent it. Having shown their ability and wherewithal to use such tactics the Third Reich brought the world to its knees, forcing Superman to retreat from the public eye.
As the story develops there are so many characters and moving pieces it becomes hard to follow at times. It is much the same as a classic poem in that manner, as is I guess the point as the players, aside from Superman, Lois and Lana are that of Greek Mythology.
It turns out that the heart of Nazi might spurred from this mythical realm. Princess Diana of Themyscira, Adonis, et al had acted as the elite within Hitler’s regime and had aided in its conquering of Europe. It is not that they held true to Hitler’s ideals, it was simply that as Gods they had sat in wait for too long and wished to return once more to the ruling class from which they had been stricken long ago.
Throughout the tale Clark/Superman, Lana and Lois are each tested in their way.
Clark is still coming to grips with his immortality and even goes to far as to vocalize his longing for the day when Lana and Lois are gone from the world so as to free him of the burden of having an attachment to humanity.
Superman is faced with the reality that magic exists and he is nigh invulnerable to its affects. His tribulations land him in the form of a Centaur; mind corrupted he rules a clan of the manbeasts and does irreparable harm to humans and his consorts alike. When returned to human form his penance comes in the form of living memory that he, as Superman the caretaker of humanity, was party to death, destruction and malevolence.
Lana is imbued with the powers of the Oracle of Delphi and is enveloped by the world happening around her. She explores her newfound abilities but fails in the true purpose of being Oracle – deciding instead to focus her attentions purely on Lois and Clark.
Lois puts herself in troubling situations, as is her way, and winds up in cahoots with Athena. When the Goddess is on the verge of death she bestows her abilities upon Lois turning her into the Amazon Champion (Wonder Woman). With her powers in place she exacts her vengeance upon the Third Reich destroying compound after compound bringing the world to the brink as Germany assumes she was unleashed by the Americans – a replacement for the lost Superman.
The writing in this story is of the highest quality. One comes to expect such things when Claremont is involved. But as a reader who never cared much for Euripides and the like there are parts of this book where my eyes just sort of glaze over while reading. My lack of detailed knowledge on Greek Mythological characters also puts me, and surely other readers, at a disadvantage. It would, perhaps, have been worthwhile, to insert little Character ID panels as new players were introduced into the action.
However, reading the book at face value and presuming no knowledge nor caring about what you don’t but perhaps should know, you are left with a wondrously beautiful story of love, loss, pain and redemption. Claremont helps us understand the human side of this Kyrponian alien.
Not super easy to find but worth doing a little bin diving to find it.
This is your Bin Fodder guru, Tim Blacksmith, signing off.