As DC’s “Rebirth” relaunch celebrates its sixth month in December, several of its key titles are also reaching their twelfth issue. And for Superman (which reached #12 month) and Action Comics (which released its twelfth issue of this run with #968), that has meant a whole new – yet also familiar – Superman has established himself in the DCU.
This Superman is the post-Crisis version who traveled here with his wife Lois Lane and their son Jonathan. At the end of the “New 52,” before the launch of the “Rebirth,” the “New 52″version of Superman died, and the “New 52” version of Lois Lane died soon after in “Rebirth”‘s Superwoman #1.
As the “Rebirth” version of the DC universe reaches its twelfth issue in several DC titles, Newsarama takes a look at what changes have come with the new launch and what stories have emerged, we continue our summaries of what’s happened so far, and what’s been hinted about for the future.
Old and New
The Superman title, by writers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, has been establishing Clark’s son Jonathan (whose powers were just emerging) as the new Superboy, as well as highlighting the ups and downs of the two superheroes’ father-son relationship. Among the low points was Jon’s accidental incineration of his mom’s cat, but the high points have been numerous.
Superman has featured fan-favorite Superman concepts, like Krypto, the Fortress of Solitude, Bibbo, and Lois Lane (who’s now back in the role of Daily Planet reporter, taking “New 52” Lois’ place). There have been some other fun surprises, like the Super-family visiting Batman’s moon-based Batcave, the Superman father-son team meeting the Batman father-son team, and Jon having a BFF neighbor named Kathy.
The titles have also been featuring some new twists on old villains, from the Eradictor to Doomsday, and Lex Luthor trying to play the role of superhero (wearing an S-emblazoned armor as he believes he can replace “New 52” Superman).
Action Comics, written by Dan Jurgens, has added several mysteries to the story of “Rebirth” Superman. One is connected to a company called Geneticron and a non-superpowered version of Clark Kent. This Clark has never been Superman, and he claims he went into hiding at Superman’s behest. Geneticron, meanwhile, is where Doomsday was housed (and where one unnamed “other” was also housed, Superman learns) before the monster was released in the first Action Comics storyline. But when Superman starts looking into what’s going on with Geneticron, the building literally disappears. Superman and Superboy later find the building in the jungle.
But readers do learn that the Geneticron disappearance is connected to a red-hat-clad figure (who put some type of device on the building before it disappeared). We’ve since found out that the red-hat dude is actually named L’Call the Godslayer, and he brings his pal Zade to Metropolis so the two of them can attack Lex Luthor, who they claim will destroy the world (and more). It’s all part of Lex’s role as a god of Apokolips in “Darkseid War.” In fact, by the end of the last issue, Lex has been forcibly taken away to Apokolips.
The aforementioned Doomsday, however, was shown to be taken by an army working for Mr. Oz, so this all seems to have his fingerprints on it. Readers will recall that Mr. Oz is the character who told Superman he (and the “New 52” Superman) were not what they seemed and (in Detective Comics grabbed Tim Drake out of the timeline and stuck him into a prison (coinciding with his disappearance from Batman Beyond as well).
Oz is also a character who’s suspected to be Ozymandias from Watchmen, since characters from that legendary, alternate universe mini-series are manipulating the DC timeline, as seen in DC Universe: Rebirth #1.
There’s been some sort of unseen manipulator behind the scenes for many of the events in both comic books – most likely Mr. Oz, who’s been shown in Action Comics (and even before that) to be watching Superman. But even situations like the Eradictor showing up, or Jon’s science project transporting them to Dinosaur Island (the one from Darwyn Cooke’s The New Frontier) appear to emerge at someone’s bidding. A hooded figure was shown at the end of Superman #9 – is he Mr. Oz, or someone else?
There’s also a mystery surrounding the “New 52” version of Lois Lane somehow knowing her doppleganger (from before the “New 52”) was on the same Earth. How did she know? As Newsarama has pointed out, “New 52” Lois Lane’s death looked a lot like “New 52” Clark’s. And we’ve gotten hints before about her possible return, and about something fishy happening with the death of “New 52” Superman.
Specifically, in the first few pages of Superman #1, post-Crisis Superman takes a moment to visit “New 52” Superman’s grave. When the older hero touches the ground above his dead counterpart’s body, a glowing blue handprint forms in the grass. Why this happened has still not been revealed, but it seems connected to Mr. Oz’s statement that the Supermen are not what they seem.
Readers have been promised by DC that “Superman Reborn,” an upcomingcrossover between Superman and Action Comics that kicks off in March 2017, will provide some answers. The story is going to shed some light on the aforementioned Mr. Oz. And DC’s Direct Currents magazine teased that duplicate Clark Kent is key to the story and there’s a “massive emotional price that must be paid by the story’s end.”