Superman #18, the first issue of DC’s much-anticipated “Superman Reborn” crossover event delivered plenty of scenes related to the ongoing “Rebirth” mysteries, although few answers so far.
In the first scene of this week’s Superman #18, someone escapes Mr. Oz’s lair (wherever it may be), although readers aren’t shown who the escapee is. Instead, the comic book portrays three of Oz’s prisoners – Doomsday, Prophecy, and Tim Drake – reacting with joy because, as Tim says, “Someone got out!”
Readers are shown the structure where this mysterious escapee was once held by Mr. Oz. It’s an enormous, obelisk-shaped structure, and the inside has writing and drawings on the wall that reveal the prisoner believed Superman would save him/her. Included among drawings of the Superman symbol and the hero himself was the phrase, “Superman, where are you?”
Over in their Hamilton County home, Superman, Lois, and their son Jon (who now hide under the surname “Smith”) are celebrating the couple’s anniversary. But a knock on the door reveals that someone has left a photo album on the doorstep.
The one who knocked on the door appears to be the other Clark Kent – the mysterious human Clark who’s been in Action Comics since “Rebirth” began. Although he briefly stops to interact with Krypto (saying, “It’s me, boy” but not getting a friendly response), he disappears before Superman can find him. Hmmmm… was this the human Clark? Or someone else?
The photo albums says “The Kents” on the cover – yep, a revelation that blows their cover. And inside are pictures of Clark Kent’s life in the post-Crisis life, before “New 52.”
“I don’t understand,” Superman says, knowing that nobody in the current DCU should have those photos. And Jon notices that he’s not in any of the photos.
But the family can’t think about the pictures for too long, because the house is suddenly engulfed in some type of blue flame – but instead of burning anything, it’s “like it’s being erased,” according to Superman.
Not only is the house being erased, but now Jon is covered in the blue flames as well. Is Jon being erased?
Superman grabs his son, but Jon blinks out of existence and appears to be teleported to the basement. Then when Superman reaches for him again, he is transported to the second floor of the house.
Superman wraps Jon in his cape and flies him out of the house. But it does no good. Jon is covered in the blue flames. “Don’t let me go, Dad,” Jon says. Crying, Superman says, “I won’t, I won’t, son. Never.”
In a heartbreaking scene, Lois and Clark are unable to stop their son from disappearing. With their house gone and the picture album’s photos also becoming blank, Lois says, “Gone…everything gone. We’ve lost the only thing that mattered. We’ve lost our son, Clark.”
“We didn’t lose him, Lois,” Superman says on the issue’s final page. “We didn’t lose Jon. That Clark Kent took him. And we’re going to make him give Jon back.”
Readers have been promised that “Superman Reborn” will reveal answers about the mysterious Mr. Oz, who has been showing up in various DC books – particularly those connected with Superman – since before the beginning of “Rebirth.” Many also suspect that Mr. Oz is actually Ozymandias from Watchmen, since characters from that legendary, alternate universe mini-series are manipulating the DC timeline, according to revelations in May 2016’s DC Universe: Rebirth #1.
The blue flames may also be related to scenes from the beginning of “Rebirth.” In the first few pages of “Rebirth”‘s Superman #1 in June, the post-Crisis Superman took a moment to visit the grave of the recently deceased “New 52” Superman. When the older hero touched the ground above his dead counterpart’s body, a glowing blue handprint formed in the grass. The thought box associated with the scene indicated that the blue glow was connected to Mr. Oz’s statement in DC Universe: Rebirth #1 that Superman is not what he seems.