This article contains spoilers.
In Action Comics #960, Doomsday is still tromping happily through Metropolis beating the crap out of anything unfortunate enough to get in his way. Even with the arrival of some heavy-hitting help in the form of Wonder Woman, Superman still has his hands full with the rampaging beast. As with the first three books in the series, writer Dan Jurgens is keeping the story moving at a breakneck pace as he opts for bone-crunching combat over narrative development.
That’s not to say that this issue of Action Comics isn’t another thrilling installment (made all the more engrossing thanks to Tyler Kirkham’s kinetic art style) in Superman’s resurgence. It is. However, in the midst of the window-shattering screams and the lingering questions about both Super Lex Luthor and the seemingly human Clark Kent, it’s possible to overlook the vast change in old Superman’s priorities.
Superman is a Dad.
Doomsday Is a Monster On a Mission
Amid all the bloodshed — nice to see Jimmy Olsen’s still hanging on, though — its casually revealed that Doomsday does, in fact, have a mission that goes beyond breaking things and hurting people. He hunts Kryptonians. Not only that, but the creature sprung from Lovecraft’s nightmares has a Kryptonian radar that points him directly at Jon, Superman’s son.
From the moment this revelation becomes clear, Superman immediately abandons Metropolis to find and protect his son. Okay, technically, yes, Doomsday had already split, so there was no major danger beyond the standard clean up. That said, once he thinks his kid is in any kind of danger, Superman is out the door without a word, implicitly leaving his once beloved city to be tended by his worst enemy.
Superman Belongs to the World
In a brief moment of tenderness, Superman and Lois are allowed some time to embrace.
When Superman talks of responsibility, he does so begrudgingly. It’s a black-and- white departure from the man who first took on Doomsday in 1993’s iconic Death of Superman arc, which was also written by Jurgens. In that story, Superman was a gladiator willing to accept his fate and sacrifice himself to ensure the safety of the world at large.
Honestly, Superman belongs to whomever Superman decides he belongs to. As the most powerful being on earth, his allegiance is his own. Up to this point in his history, the Man of Steel as been Earth’s unwavering defender. Now, though, there’s a new priority that’s forever at the back of his mind.
Hard Choices Lie Ahead for the Boy in Blue
At this point, the world’s priority at this point is stopping Doomsday. That isn’t the case for Superman. Understandably, he’s grown attached to his family and the moment he smells danger, he’ll drop whatever he’s doing in order to protect his family. So far, those actions have been in the best interest of mankind, but should his loyalty to his family and his duty to humanity fail to align, it’ll be extremely interesting to see how the Kryptonian handles it.
Jurgens’s run on Rebirth has been extremely action packed from the get-go, but in the gutters, the writer is crafting a complex take on comics’ most famous hero that’s startling unique (without trying to saddle Supes with a dumb new power set). The story that’s emerging slowly, but surely in the heat of battle is one that promises to have ramifications into DC’s future.
Now if only we could get the scoop on human Clark Kent, we’ll be getting somewhere.