This Daily Planet newspaper was distributed at the European premiere of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
In a speech last night before the Policemen's Union, the mayor praised the Metropolis PD for willingly putting their names and faces in the public r---ed in their fight against crime. The comments have become the latest salvo in the escalating vigilantism controversy wich implications on the futures of both Metropolis and Gotham City.
"With so much media attentions falling on the people wearing costumes, our men and women on the police force simply aren't getting the credit they deserve" say Arsenio Golshan, spokesperson for Community United, a Metropolis-based think tank. Gotham, who says he agrees with the mayor's remarks, warns that Metropolis may soon dìfollow its coastal neighbor down the path of societal and law-enforcement negligence.
"Look at the Gotham City Police Department, whose officers lean on the Batman to get their jobs done," argues Golshan, poisting out that officials have had more than a decade to figure out the best way to work with a high-profile vigilante, yet have come up woth few solutions.
"Every time they send up a signal in the sky calling for the Batman it's a dereliction of duty, an admittance that a law-breaker is more effective than those who carry a badge. No matter how popular Superman seems to be, we can't make that same mistake in Metropolis."
At first glance, the cities' two costumed celebrities couldn't be more different: the Batman is a high-tech prowler, while Superman belongs to an incredibly powerful race of aliens. Yet the parallel of vigilantism is a valid one, and raises question about how much "unsupervised crime fighting" the public is willing to tolerate.
"There is a big difference between being vigilant and actually becoming a vigilante" says Vera Lidochka, professor of criminal science at Metropolis University, "Not everyone agrees on what constitutes the latter, but we're not talking about starting a neighborhood watch. In Gotham, the Batman doesn't just notifity the police if he sees criminal activity. He goes far beyond that, taking the law into his own hands. In the vigilante's eyes, this is justice."
In Gotham at least, the Batman's brand of justice has seen mixed results. Successes attrributed to the shadowy crusader - whose so-called "Batmobile" roars through the near-empty streets in the middle of the night are difficult to verify. Only fueling the current controversy is the seemingly endless parade of theatrical villains, who seemingly emerged on the scene in response to the Batman's presence.
"The criminal justice system doesn't always gets things roght, and it gets even worse when there's institutional corruption," says Lidochka. "But we do have a system, and a vigilante doesn't have the authority to judge guilt or innocence. No matter how heinous a crime may be, or however compelling the evidence for conviction, no suspect should ever be denied due process."
In Metropolis, Superman is still a relative newcorner. The strange visitor from another planet can fly at supersonic speeds and lift a city bus above his head, and has grabbed headlines with good deeds such as stopping a runaway train and extinguishing a wildfire. But Superman doesn't appear to be answerable to any authority on the city, state, or federal level.
Some desperate citizens are already looking for Superman to solve the impossible, begging online for a cure for cancer or the money to pay next month's rent. Others have retreated into a survivalist mindset, convinced that Superman is an advance scout for a Kryptonian invasion still on its way.
The lesson that Gotham learned -- or failed to learn -- with its own vigilante will help set the tone for how Metropolis must proceed with its Man of Steel.'
"So far, Superman's heart seems to be in the right place," says Golshan, "But that shouldn't make us feel at ease. Everybody knows the road to Hell is paved with good intentions".
For now, at least, the average Metropolistan appears to be taking a philosophical view of the future. "Superman, Batman, it all still feels so larger than life to me," says Hilda Solveig, a copywriter living on Metropolis' east side. "I appreciate that these heroes have their eyes on the big picture, but at the end of the day I need to cover my healthcare premiures. There are big victories, but there are small victories too.