This week saw the final part of “Superman Reborn“, the crossover that answered a number of pressing questions about The Man of Tomorrow’s status in the DC Universe, but also left readers with a good number more. The end of “Superman Reborn” had some huge consequences for DC Rebirth and Superman‘s continuity, but what exactly happened, and what does it mean for the future of the DC Universe?
NOTE: This article contains spoilers for this week’s Action Comics #976 and the whole “Superman Reborn” crossover.
This week’s finale by Dan Jurgens, Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, Christian Alamy, Trevor Scott, Wil Quintana and Rob Leigh resurrected The New 52 incarnations of Superman and Lois Lane, but at the cost of the current pre-Flashpoint incarnations, leaving Jon Kent without a mother and father. However, during the final battle with Mr. Mxyzptlk, Jon Kent realized that the strange balls of blue energy following him were essentially the essences of his parents.
The previous issue in the crossover, Superman #19, established that Superman was split into two separate Supermen in the dawning days of The New 52 by an unknown player. Since then, they have each been living half a life, with their own personal histories and relationships. One Clark Kent became the young and brash champion of the oppressed from Grant Morrison and Rags Morales‘ Action Comics, while the other Superman continued to live his life with Lois on the annexed Convergence reality.
In this week’s finale, Jon managed to convince Superman and Lois Lane merge with their pre-Flashpoint counterparts. In doing this, the personal history of both characters was re-written. Now, much of their original continuity as it stood before is once again canon, and in this new history of the DC Universe, the pre-Flashpoint Superman continuity has overwritten the stories of the jeans-and-T-shirt Superman.
In our exclusive interview with Dan Jurgens and Peter J. Tomasi, Jurgens went into a bit more detail about the continuity changes for The Man of Tomorrow.
The events of Action #976 reset and reshape the entire Superman timeline. Where there had been two Superman, their realities have now been fused into one timeline with just one of them. And, yes, Clark and Lois are back at the Daily Planet. Not only does everyone know they had a child; they were there shortly after Jon was born. The Daily Planet crew has known Jon his entire life.
Action Comics #977 and #978 will delve a bit more deeply into that timeline, so readers have a common understanding about Superman’s past.
In the story’s epilogue, the mysterious Mr. Oz contemplates the new timeline, and the book ends with a very cryptic tease, reminding us that we don’t know who split Superman in two, or for what purpose.
The final panel of Action Comics #976 lingers on the red planet of Mars, to make readers think of its sole resident, Doctor Manhattan, but there’s always every chance this is another red herring in the long-game mystery that is DC Rebirth.
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