Hope Isn’t Enough to Save the World: Superman in the 21st Century

The most popular kind of Superman story these days seems to be one where Superman is corrupted, violent and cynical. A story wherein he fails his never-ending battle and spends most of his time moping about his lack of relevance in an increasingly cold world. Grant Morrison once summarized the Superman character in two words: selfless act. It is a simple yet accurate summary of one called the Man of Tomorrow. Then one day, tomorrow arrived and frankly, it doesn’t seem like a place that rewards or even cares for selflessness.

If anything, tomorrow comes across as a dark and cynical place with nary an opening for hope to flourish. Superman suddenly went from a simple parable regarding the compassionate use of power to a complex and cynical reflection of how society in the 21st century views anyone who would dare be decent in an indecent world.

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Famed comic book writer Mark Waid, in his proposal to the 2003 Superman: Birthright series (a retelling of Superman’s origin), made the following claim:

“There are entire generations to whom Superman is about as meaningful and significant as Woody Woodpecker or Marmaduke…and to be honest, I don’t think it has nearly as much to do with comics’ availability as it does with the undeniable fact that the Gen-X and Gen-next audience perceive the world around them as far more dangerous, far more unfair and far more screwed-up than we ever did. To them, and probably more accurately so than we’d like to believe, their world is one where capitalism always wins, where politicians always lie, where sports idols take drugs and beat their wives, where white picket fences are suspect because they hide dark things – and to them, that’s the world Superman REPRESENTS and the status quo he DEFENDS.”

One could argue that the cultural and, more specifically, the deontological downfall of the Superman archetype started in the 1990s. I am referring to the seminal Death of Superman comic book event. I won’t bother summarizing the entire death and return of Superman. Suffice to say, sales and media attention for the comics centering on Superman’s death were extremely high. What that says about our culture is pretty disturbing, especially when we consider what has followed.

The Descent

The Death of Superman was not just the public saying “we want to see the good guy die,” it served to denounce the public’s obsession with the failure of the selfless act, the failure of the hero in their great struggle. This failure didn’t just manifest in a heroic death. I would argue its primary manifestation is the corruption of the selfless act.

One of the earliest instances of this is the episode “Brave New Metropolis” from SUPERMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES. The episode, one of many alternate universe tales, deals with Superman having lost Lois in a bombing and in response, teams up with Luthor and decides to impose a fascist dictatorship over Metropolis.

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The iconography in this alternate Metropolis brings to mind the Nazi aesthetic. Even Superman’s iconic S shield is replaced by a red lightning bolt, evoking the German SS. People are rounded up in cells for speaking out against Luthor and Superman, and of course, the episode’s title is an homage to Aldous Huxley’s literary masterpiece.

Ubermensch

One could consign this episode to the realm of simple one-offs. Nothing more than a curious and well-told what-if story. After all, the world didn’t seem that scary in 1997, hence why the iconography felt exaggerated, befitting of a cartoon. Ultimately, the story didn’t come off as a commentary on current events or phobias of the time. It didn’t seem that the producers had anything in mind other than to show what would happen if Superman had lost Lois to wanton violence. It was not until 2003, in a sequel animated series titled JUSTICE LEAGUE, that we would see a much darker thematic follow-up, one perhaps too close for comfort.

“I Did Love Being The Hero…”

I have written about the considerable influence the episode in question, “A Better World,” has had over popular culture since its debut but that was in the context of a different work. In this particular case, the episode was a case of art reflecting on itself whilst simultaneously being a reflection of the socio-political environment of the time. It had only been 2 years since 9/11, and the invasion of Iraq has only occurred a few months prior. In this episode, we are shown not just a totalitarian Superman, but an entire pantheon of super-fascists called the Justice Lords, with Superman as their leader.

There are many horrible events, alluded and shown, throughout the episode. The most disturbing ones are those involving Superman. The episode opens with Superman killing President Lex Luthor after a debate regarding their relationship as hero and villain. Having finally realized the cyclical nature of this relationship,  simply says “I *did* love being a hero. But if this is where it leads, I’m done with it.” Batman and Wonder Woman join him afterwards, with Batman simply “It had to be done.” This was only a prologue to the story proper and yet would serve to announce the new role for Superman in the 21st century.

Would they accept it? *Our* kind of help?

Another disturbing detail is the seeming absence of supervillains. We are then clued into the fact that most of the villains are either dead or lobotomized, courtesy of Superman’s heat vision. This is made shockingly clear when the true Justice League visits the Arkham Asylum of the Lords’ reality and sees all of Batman’s rogue’s gallery, quiet and obedient. The Justice Lords even hold the concept of free elections hostage and suppress any attempts at free speech, all in the name of security. Given what was happening in the U.S. and abroad at the time, it was a terrifying parallel dressed as a kid’s cartoon.

It was almost as if the episode was trying to prove Waid’s thesis; Superman was not only a terrifying representative of the status quo, he was its strictest enforcer. Of course, when Waid references the status quo, he hardly meant one that espoused fascistic tendencies, but the principle remains the same.

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Case in point, the event that denounces this evil Superman’s role as the imposer of the status quo is his and his fellow Justice Lords invasion of the true Justice League’s home reality. They arrive just in time to witness the arrival of Doomsday. History would dictate that the Lords would fail and Superman would fall in battle while killing Doomsday. This expectation is circumvented, however, in narrative and metaphoric levels.

Superman interrogates the creature mid-battle, simply asking what it wants. It replies “Same as you, I imagine. Power. Control.” The theme of art reflecting on itself returns, and we see the metaphoric intention in full display.

While this is only one version of Superman, Doomsday’s response metaphorically applies to the Superman archetype as it stands in the 21st century. The Superman we seemingly want is nothing more than a powerful coercive force.

One more thing Superman would never do

To illustrate that point, this Superman promptly lobotomizes Doomsday mid-monologue while reporters and bystanders observe. In the aftermath, the Lois Lane of this reality points out how lobotomy is out of character for Superman, immediately followed by the comment from an onlooker “It’s about time if you asked me.” Compassion and understanding are seemingly too old fashioned for the denizens of the 21st century. Cruelty and coercion are not only what we see in the Superman archetype, it is also what we have come to expect and even demand.

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Justice Is Blind, Not Heartless.

If this theory still seems far-fetched, it is important to remember that the follow-up to JUSTICE LEAGUE, JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, was a massive overarching story that was constantly threatening with reaching a conclusion wherein Superman and the League would go, rogue, much like the Justice Lords. While it ultimately did not happen, it evidences the producers’ fascination with the trope.

This theme of a Superman willing to forego moral and ethical boundaries would present itself yet again in the JUSTICE LEAGUE: GODS AND MONSTERS multimedia project, produced by the same individuals who spearheaded previous DC animated series. Not even the origin of Superman was safe from this dark revisionism. While the project’s focus was on darker heroes, Superman was yet again the beating heart of this new, more proactive and violent take on the superhero.

One world, under Superman

Son of Lara and General Zod as opposed to Jor-El, this Superman was genetically imbued with a predisposition for aggression. Honing this anger was the lack of an upbringing by the Kents. Instead, he is taken in by illegal Mexican immigrants and raised as their own. Witnessing a harsher side to life, though, has made him more prone to lethal violence.

While this approach was understandable since it was a completely alternate universe, it happened to be within a product that was launched while the video game INJUSTICE: GODS AMONG US was overtaking the public perception regarding Superman.

Obey or die

The plot of the video game and the tie-in comics was an amalgamation of “Brave New Metropolis” and “A Better World,” complete with the death of Lois and a fascist Justice League under Superman’s command. The narrative depicted in both would have Superman perform some incredibly dark acts, with the murder of Billy Batson/Shazam being the pinnacle of them. Superman murders a teenager in a T-Rated game that sold over 5 million copies. A sequel, INJUSTICE 2, is on the way and it looks to keep up this take on a tyrannical and unhinged Superman.

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No One Stays Good In This World.

By far the most public downfall of Superman lies within Warner Brothers’ attempt at a cinematic universe, the DCEU. The first movie of this extended universe, MAN OF STEEL, was nothing but a desperate attempt to refute the Christopher Reeve/Richard Donner take on Superman and to a point, I can understand why. It was a take that suited its time well but felt out of place in the 21st century, as SUPERMAN RETURNS evidenced.

However, director Zack Snyder’s take on Superman was rooted in faux realism that clearly catered more to Batman fans than it did to fans of Superman. Make no mistake, MAN OF STEEL is a Superman movie made for Batman fans. For one, none of the flashbacks within the movie remotely hint that Clark was ever happy throughout his childhood. He even loses his father as he watches helplessly from the sidelines, being traumatized by this for over 15 years. Sound familiar?

The movie treated his powers as sources of terror and isolation. He is always depicted as alone and misunderstood, and throughout the movie, his father does nothing to alleviate his confusion. If anything, he propels his son’s fear of himself and tells him that despite having gifts, he should hide them away in shame because the world isn’t ready. I think he might be absolutely right. We’re not ready for anyone as good as Superman.

All these deviations are completely at odds with the ideal of Superman. Even in the comic eras where Pa Kent died like the Silver Age or the New 52 or even in All-Star Superman, Clark learned the same lesson: that he is not a god despite having powers that would point to the contrary. That life and death are still very real to a being as powerful as himself. It is because he can’t stop death from happening to others that he realizes that life is to be cherished and protected, no matter the personal cost to himself. The movie misses this point entirely.

Actual Superman footage

The film also contrives a scenario wherein Superman’s only way to victory is through killing his enemy, General Zod. While the aforementioned works have all depicted Superman doing the same, it was always a moment from which there would be no return. This film would have us believe that Superman kills and everything is just fine afterward, with nary a mention of it happening. According to Snyder’s logic, Superman needed to kill once to learn to never do it again. Barring how twisted that sounds just from a storytelling point of view, that is one disturbing perspective.

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Then BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE happened. A masterclass film in the art of missing the point. While all previous products have been dark, here came a film that was not just willing to kill Superman by the end, it needed to humiliate him before doing so. In a single film, we had to have a Superman who questioned his every move and his relevance to humanity. He is depicted as a murdering tyrant in a dream sequence for no reason other than to have a sequence where Superman kills.

Must there be another story asking “Must there be a Superman?”

None of this is helped by the fact that Superman murders a man in the first 20 minutes of the movie. So much for learning to not kill. However, the most egregious act of these movies is the association of any heroic act with a negative side effect. Both movies attempt to create a moral dilemma for most of Superman’s heroic acts. As if it was a crime to imagine that performing good deeds would render only good outcomes.

This stems from the fact that Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer both aimed for a more grounded and realistic take on superheroes within these movies. There’s a difference between taking the source material seriously and thinking the source material is serious. If a creator is aiming to ground the story of a man who can fly and does nothing but good deeds and expects nothing in return, it is safe to say you have little to no care or understanding for what the character stands for.

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Will Superman Return?

By pointing out this fascination with the darkening of Superman, this is not meant to indict the creators. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t a fan of many of these works and the creative minds behind them. Many of these narratives are exemplary of their respective mediums and do tell their stories in entertaining and mature manners. What is worrisome is how often creators, good and bad, decide that the Superman archetype must be put through some moral crucible. The end result of this being a violent, troubled anti-hero at best and a morally deficient failure of a hero at worst. And for what?

What is the purpose of driving the paragon of the superhero form through the mud only to leave him there? We can only use this metaphor to reflect our own troubled world so many times before we realize that escapism is necessary. Grant Morrison, in his autobiography Supergods, said that superheroes are a bright, flickering sign of our need to move on, to imagine the better, more just, and more proactive people we can be.

Maybe it is time we join Kal-El in the sun. Maybe it is time to stop reflecting how the world looks in our fictions and start trying to emulate our best fictions in the real world.

From: https://comicsverse.com/superman-in-the-21st-century/

Superman Just Rebooted DC’s Entire Universe | Screen Rant

WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Action Comics #978

From the moment the New 52 Superman returned to life, it was clear the DC Universe was only big enough for one Man of Steel. The answer was to merge the classic and new versions of Superman into a new hero, and now that Clark Kent has started to explore his own history, fans are learning just how drastically he may have re-written the fabric of space and time. Make no mistake: it’s all in the service of making sure Superman’s greatest, most beloved, and heartwarming moments are once again canon.

Changing the continuity or history of a shared comic book universe isn’t easy, and is typically so far-reaching only major events or crossovers even attempt it. But with the new Superman of DC Comics, it seems the universe itself wants to return to a happier time. To a time when Superman loved Lois Lane, endured decades of insane adventures, stunned the world with his death and return, and finally settled down to raise a family. So how is it possible that it should all work in a universe not old enough for it to make any sense?

First, allow us to fill you in on the new Superman origin story that “Rebirth” was building toward. Then we’ll see how much the New 52 reboot even applies.

From Two Supermen, One

Superman New 52 Returns Comic Supermans New Origin Reboots DCs Entire Universe

The fans had a hard time believing that the New 52 Superman was dead for good when he turned to ash just before “Rebirth” began – and more likely removed from the living to let the older, pre-New 52 Supes return to the spotlight. They turned out to be right, but few expected DC to deliver the twist they ultimately revealed. For reasons that have yet to be completely explained, it was no longer possible for both Supermen to exist at the same time. When Jonathan Kent, Superman’s son helped bring the New 52 Clark Kent and Lois Lane back to life, it reduced his parents to metaphysical forms. Only when the two Clarks realized that they seemed to be two halves more than two wholes, and merged one’s memories and being with the other was Superman truly resurrected. Not the New 52 Superman, and not the older version from DC past – but an amalgam of both – with a brand new suit to boot.

As the mysterious ‘watcher’ of all things DC, Mr. Oz, took in that transformation, he watched as the impossible happened. Not only had two people joined into one cohesive whole, but the fabric and history of the DC Universe was reshaped to make room. At the time, it seemed like a simple solution: the villains who had been defeated by the older Superman now counted – they happened in this universe, not the one the New 52 replaced. The New 52 costume of Kryptonian armor? Superman wore it… while he and his wife, Lois Lane, delivered their child (with help from Wonder Woman, who had been Lois’s friend, and never a love of Clark’s).

To some, it seemed like an excuse, or ‘cheap’ solution on DC’s part. But in the “Aftermath” of the “Superman: Reborn” story, readers are seeing just how much Superman’s origin story has changed… by not changing. Long story short? Superman’s life is, and was the one older fans remember… which means that the entire New 52 may have just been erased. But first, let’s see what Superman’s canonical history now looks like.

Superman’s New History – Goodbye, New 52

Superman New Rebirth Origin Costumes Supermans New Origin Reboots DCs Entire Universe

The new origin is delivered in the pages of Action Comics #977 and #978, with Superman’s life being remade into one every fan would make for him. Happy family, loving friends, and in all ways returned to his ‘classic’ state of being. But there’s a problem… something just doesn’t feel right. As if it all seems a little too easy. With Clark experiencing recurring dreams of other versions of Superman fighting to exist the way he and the New 52 version had, he heads to – where else? – the Fortress of Solitude. No longer believing his own memory, he requests that his Kryptonian robot butler, Kelex, recount his entire life’s story. It’s a way for new or confused readers to see what the new canon for the Man of Steel has become, and it’s largely free from surprises in the first issue. Kal-El of Krypton was sent to Earth, found by the Kents, grew up with Lana Lang and Pete Ross, etc., etc..

In the second issue though, things start to change. Once Kelex begins to tell Superman of his superhero career in Metropolis, it soon becomes clear: this is NOT the New 52 version of Superman. Meeting Lois while falling from a helicopter is just the beginning of Superman’s old history becoming his new history – with Supes himself confirming that, following his merge with the New 52 Superman, that is also the series of events he believes took place. Superman’s battles with Mongul, Zod, Bizarro, Brainiac, and Parasite happened as they originally did. And the parade of Superman’s most memorable alternate costumes – including the infamous ‘Electric Blue’ Supersuit – it’s shown that it all now took place in the New 52 Universe.

Obviously, that confirms the increasingly obvious fact that DC’s writers no longer pretend famous storylines never took place (Batman is a young man, but still somehow raised Jason Todd and saw him killed, and his return as an adult). But one Superman story above all others has finally rejoined the canon story – including the colorful characters that followed in its wake.

Superman Rebirth Doomsday Action Supermans New Origin Reboots DCs Entire Universe

That’s right, the Superman of the New 52 Universe has already died at the hands of Doomsday, leading to the emergence of Eradicator, Steel, and Cyborg Superman. The panels that follow confirm Clark returned to life – long hair and all – and married Lois Lane. But as this story unfolds from Superman’s perspective, an unseen enemy is busy recruiting these same key players – now made real, along with their grievances with the Man of Steel. Metallo, Blanque, and finally the Eradicator are all recruited to unite against Superman by yet another villain seemingly ‘returned to reality’ with Superman so broadly reshaping it.

From that point, readers get to see how Clark Kent would have learned that he and Lois Lane were going to be parents. And here’s where things get particularly meaningful for those who read through the New 52, and the older Superman’s own survival of Flashpoint with wife and child. Since the original version of the story ended here, with Convergence pulling Superman from the main DC Universe, some changes are needed… because now, Superman never went anywhere. He stayed to see his son born with help from Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince, and in a clever story twist from writer Dan Jurgens, it was for Lois and Jonathan’s safety that the Kent family moved away to a remote farm (not to stay hidden from a world already filled with a younger Superman).

Superman New Origin Wonder Woman Baby Supermans New Origin Reboots DCs Entire Universe

That keeps Superman’s black suit and beard in canon, as well as Lois Lane’s career as a secret investigative reporter under the pseudonym ‘Author X.’ In this new reality, it wasn’t out of fear or secrecy that the Kents lived a simple life for Jonathan’s first ten years, but a desire to raise him as humbly and simply as Clark had been raised.

It was only after the League was established in its original form that Superman stepped away – showing in stark relief that in DC’s eyes, the pre-New 52 Superman is the version of the hero whose life is being made the canonical one. It’s not without some logic issues, including the fact that the entire DC Universe apparently got another decade or so older… a curious twist, considering that stolen decade was the main evidence of the New 52’s Watchmen mastermind.

And now that it’s returned, and Mr. Oz continues to watch Superman’s return to normalcy… what consequences will Superman’s actions have for everyone involved?

The Questions Left To Answer

DC Comics Multiverse Heroes Supermans New Origin Reboots DCs Entire Universe

As hinted at, it seems obvious that Superman’s re-imagining of the DCU reality is going to catch the attention of the mystery villain who first stole those years to weaken Earth’s heroes. That figure is largely believed to be Watchmen‘s Doctor Manhattan, who is famous for letting little slip by his view. So it’s only a matter of time until he rectifies the situation (assuming this wasn’t his plan the entire time).

The most telling twist, though, is the same one mentioned above: Superman has every reason to believe he’s attained his supremely happy ending… but something is tugging at his mind. In the latest issue of DC’s Trinity, Superman informs Wonder Woman and Diana of a recurring dream he’s having, in which he and the New 52 Superman fight to be the one left existing. Whether it’s an internal struggle, a nightmare, or a glimpse of what’s to come in the DC Universe, it’s the final shock of the dream that may be most telling. Waves of Supermen, Batmen, and Wonder Women wearing costumes from through history – and possibly throughout the main DC reality, not alternate Earths – appear in pursuit of their own return and liberation.

So for those keeping track: Superman has won on a scale only he can, returning to the New 52 Universe with his entire history intact, weaving reality itself to make that history the only one that occurred. But it’s an imperfect answer for obvious reasons, and according to the voice inside of Superman’s head… other heroes are going to fight for that same chance.

Needless to say, it’s interesting times to be a DC reader. And if anyone knows what the “New 52 Universe” even means anymore, we’re all ears.

NEXT: More Classic DC Heroes Returning To New 52?

Action Comics #978 and Trinity #8 are available now.

On SCREENRANT.com

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From: http://screenrant.com/superman-new-origin-rebirth-52/

Superman Artist Doug Mahnke To Revisit His Most Famous Story

Superman artist Doug Mahnke will be one of a number of creators chipping in on the title’s twenty-fifth issue in June — one that looks like it will serve as a spiritual sequel to the best-loved Superman story of Mahnke’s career.

Superman-25-Ryan-Sook-Cover
(Photo: DC Entertainment)

In Superman right now, a number of characters seem to be operating under the influence of a strange being or force masquerading as Superman’s neighbor, an old man who owns a dairy farm. He’s putting together a small army of ordinary people in the small, upstate town of Hamilton who are set to strike just as Superman and Lois are preparing to leave town, seemingly under his spell and enhanced in some way.

It turns out that ol’ Farmer Cobb will be none other than Manchester Black, who will apparently stand revealed as the villain behind “Black Dawn” and the man trying to ruin Superman’s life.

Ruining Superman’s life has been a bit of a recurring motif for Black, who first appeared in Action Comics #775, widely regarded as one of the best Superman stories in recent decades. The tale, written by Joe Kelly and featuring art by Mahnke, centered on Black and his Team The Elite, who were proxies for popular, ultra-violent English superhero characters popular at the time in books like The Authority. They believed that superheroes who refused to kill villains were ignoring a moral imperative to make the world safer and, in turn, were just as bad as those they fought — and they wanted Superman to get violent, or get out of the way. When Superman appealed to their decency, it didn’t work — so ultimately he used his powers and guile to defeat them, but spared their lives.

The story, titled “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?,” is one of a handful of stories we recently noticed were apparently rendered canonical when Superman’s timeline was laid out in Action Comics last month. It was later adapted into an animated feature film, titled Superman vs. The Elite. While it was the kind of story that seemed destined to be a single-issue, strand-alone parable, the popularity of the story (and, inevitably, of Black and his contemptible teammates) led to numerous follow-ups, with Black briefly leading the Suicide Squad and an Elite-driven story in JLA. The team was featured in a spinoff, Justice League Elite, written by “What’s So Funny…?” author Joe Kelly.

A New 52 take on Black saw him as a mysterious and scheming S.T.A.R. Labs employee, although given the restoration of much of Superman’s history post-Rebirth, it seems likely that take on the character will be as forgotten as the Hank Henshaw briefly mentioned in the post-Flashpoint world but later replaced with one thate more closely resembled his pre-Flashpoint counterpart.

Bleeding Cool found the cover to Superman #25, featuring Black, on the DC website.

From: http://comicbook.com/dc/2017/05/03/superman-artist-doug-mahnke-to-revisit-his-most-famous-story/

SUPERMAN Is A ‘New Person’ After ‘Reborn’ According To ACTION …

DC Comics July 2016 solicitations

Credit: DC Comics
Credit: DC Comics

As writer of the twice-monthly series Action Comics, Dan Jurgens thinks of the current, post-“Reborn” Superman as a “new person,” one formed from the history of both “New 52” Superman and post-Crisis Superman.

As “Superman Reborn” revealed, someone messed with Superman in the past and split him into two, causing him to live two distinct lives – one as the “New 52” Superman and the other as the post-Crisis version

But DC’s “Superman Reborn” crossover put those two lives back together, creating a new gestalt version of character (and his continuity) that now serves as DC’s Superman going forward.

“As for how and why [Superman’s] past was altered, that’s a story that will unfold down the road,” Jurgens says, hinting at the “Rebirth” mysteries that appear to involve characters from Watchmen.

Now that DC’s continuity has morphed around this “Reborn” Superman, DC is going to be revealing aspects of his history within upcoming stories, with the first hints coming in Superman and Action Comics this month. So far, a new, definitive history of how Superman’s parents sent him off the planet Krypton and toward Earth was established.

While Jurgens wouldn’t talk about the status of the recent relationship between Wonder Woman and Superman – indicating that the answer will be revealed later – he did talk about some of the other questions concerning the post-“Reborn” Superman and Lois Lane.

Do Clark and Lois remember what happened? Are Ma and Pa Kent dead? And was this morphing the plan since Jurgens first brought back post-Crisis Superman during “Convergence”? Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about his upcoming issues with Carlo Barberi, Patrick Zircher, Jack Herbert, and Viktor Bogdanovic.

Newsarama: Dan, this must have been quite a journey for you, following the married, post-Crisis version of Superman through the “Convergence” storyline, his pre-“Rebirth” existence as a secret Superman and his current role now. How long have you known that he might become Superman again?

Credit: DC Comics

Dan Jurgens: Quite a while.

Going all the way back to “Convergence,” we knew that Jon was going to survive to make it into the DCU. There were a lot of different ideas about how to do it and what might work best, but we knew that one way or another, we’d have him long term.

After that, we started to pull together the Superman: Lois Clark series. From the beginning, we knew they’d survive to become the principal versions of the current versions, though the exact methodology had not yet been determined.

But the broad ideas were in place, and it’s been a pleasure to see it work out as well as it has.

Nrama: The “Superman Reborn” story involved several writers and artists. What was it like to put together this type of story that would be so important for fans of both “New 52” Superman and the post-Crisis Superman?

Jurgens: When it comes to shaping a story of this magnitude, a lot of people have to get involved. The entire Superman editorial team, Geoff Johns, Pete Tomasi, Pat Gleason, and I barricaded ourselves in a conference room and worked through the details.

We didn’t want to put off an entire segment of fans by selecting just one version of Superman to go forward. It seemed better to select the best elements of both to build the best Superman possible.

Nrama: How would you describe what’s happened now to Superman – is he truly a new person, or kind of a mix of what he was before?

Jurgens: In a way, the answer would be, “All of the above.”

I think of him as a new person. There are adventures in his past we haven’t seen. Yet we selected some of the best possible aspects of his past to include, selecting from both the “New 52” Superman and pre-Flashpoint Superman, to make everything work.

And, yes, to make that work right, we discarded some elements as well.

Credit: DC Comics

Nrama: A lot of fans are explaining this in a lot of different ways, using “Superman Red” and “Superman Blue” and the idea of “merging” their essence. How do you explain it? What happened to Superman and Lois?

Jurgens: Superman’s past was messed with for a period of time. During that time, he was separated in two, living two distinctly different lives as two distinctly different characters.

During “Reborn,” those timelines were merged and rebuilt as one. There was essentially one Superman and one Lois.

As for how and why his past was altered, that’s a story that will unfold down the road.

Nrama: Do they remember all of it? Part of it? What are their memories of what just happened?

Jurgens: They do not remember all of it.

Superman knows that his reality was fractured for a time. He no longer remembers the details or every aspect of it.

For him, it’s somewhat like waking from a bad dream. For a brief second or two, you might remember it but the memory fades. All you know is that something has left you with an unsettled feeling.

So shall it be for Superman.

Nrama: It looks like you’re going to be examining the origin story of Superman. Is this a new, definitive origin? Or just a refresher for “Rebirth”?

Jurgens: This is definitive.

By the time people have read Action Comics #977 and #978, they’ll have a much better understanding of Superman and Lois’ history and how Jon fit into it. It’s “classic” at its core but still accommodates the need for our new reality.

Nrama: Why is Superman reviewing his history in this week’s issue? Does he not remember things clearly?

Jurgens: The farther away that Superman has gotten from “Reborn”, the more faded his memory and knowledge of events have become. Same for Lois and Jon.

He realizes that a power beyond Mxyzptlk messed with his life, but has no idea how far or drastic it was. As a result, he has an unsettled feeling that he’s trying to reconcile.

Credit: DC Comics

Nrama: The death of Ma and Pa Kent happened differently for the two sides of Superman. Will we see the definitive story of Ma and Pa Kent in this Superman’s life?

Jurgens: We certainly touch on that in this story.

Nrama: Wait, are either Ma or Pa still alive in “Rebirth,” now that continuity has morphed a bit?

Jurgens: Ma and Pa Kent died the night of Clark’s senior prom.

Nrama: It looks like Superman and Action are each exploring different storylines again. Can you explain what’s coming up in Action Comics for the next few months?

Jurgens: Yes.

As Superman remains troubled by what happened with Mxy, a group of his greatest enemies have banded together to take him down.

I like to think of them as an all new Superman Revenge Squad.

Nrama: There have been hints that Mr. Oz is going to be central to upcoming stories. Is that accurate?

Jurgens: Oz will have a role, yes.

Nrama: What are the biggest challenges for Superman now, as he and Lois (and Jon) begin their new life as part of this world?

Jurgens: The biggest challenges will come as they leave Hamilton County and move to Metropolis. That’s a bit down the road, but very much a part of what will be happening in their private lives.

Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about what’s coming up in Action Comics?

Jurgens: I’ve always seen this as a book that has to reflect its title – Action Comics – and a book that should really be building a steady course that resets the stage for Superman while driving to issue #1000, which is really an epic achievement.

Laying the path work for that is really what drives us, along with making the best Superman stories possible!

From: http://www.newsarama.com/34245-superman-is-a-new-person-after-reborn-according-to-action-comics-writer.html

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    10 DC Villains More Powerful Than Superman

    Gog DC Comics
    DC Comics

    If you were to ask someone who wasn’t clued up about comic books who the most powerful comic book character is, they would almost inevitably respond with “Superman”. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

    While Superman’s power dwarves that of the average human, there are characters in comics whose power is comparatively even greater. He’s not the most powerful hero on DC’s books (since his introduction, the race to raise stakes has led to some seriously over-powered characters appearing), and over the course of years he’s also faced off with villains far superior to him.

    Even in other comics published by DC, fans have seen nefarious foes introduced who would smush the Man Of Steel into Kryptonian dust, with their various feats of power making his skillset look embarrassing by comparison. He might be Earth’s Mightiest Defender, but we should probably just be grateful he hasn’t faced off with this lot more, because there might not be much left to defend…

    From: http://whatculture.com/comics/10-dc-villains-more-powerful-than-superman

    Credit: DC Comics

    DC Comics July 2016 solicitations

    Credit: DC Comics
    Credit: DC Comics

    As writer of the twice-monthly series Action Comics, Dan Jurgens thinks of the current, post-“Reborn” Superman as a “new person,” one formed from the history of both “New 52” Superman and post-Crisis Superman.

    As “Superman Reborn” revealed, someone messed with Superman in the past and split him into two, causing him to live two distinct lives – one as the “New 52” Superman and the other as the post-Crisis version

    But DC’s “Superman Reborn” crossover put those two lives back together, creating a new gestalt version of character (and his continuity) that now serves as DC’s Superman going forward.

    “As for how and why [Superman’s] past was altered, that’s a story that will unfold down the road,” Jurgens says, hinting at the “Rebirth” mysteries that appear to involve characters from Watchmen.

    Now that DC’s continuity has morphed around this “Reborn” Superman, DC is going to be revealing aspects of his history within upcoming stories, with the first hints coming in Superman and Action Comics this month. So far, a new, definitive history of how Superman’s parents sent him off the planet Krypton and toward Earth was established.

    While Jurgens wouldn’t talk about the status of the recent relationship between Wonder Woman and Superman – indicating that the answer will be revealed later – he did talk about some of the other questions concerning the post-“Reborn” Superman and Lois Lane.

    Do Clark and Lois remember what happened? Are Ma and Pa Kent dead? And was this morphing the plan since Jurgens first brought back post-Crisis Superman during “Convergence”? Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about his upcoming issues with Carlo Barberi, Patrick Zircher, Jack Herbert, and Viktor Bogdanovic.

    Newsarama: Dan, this must have been quite a journey for you, following the married, post-Crisis version of Superman through the “Convergence” storyline, his pre-“Rebirth” existence as a secret Superman and his current role now. How long have you known that he might become Superman again?

    Credit: DC Comics

    Dan Jurgens: Quite a while.

    Going all the way back to “Convergence,” we knew that Jon was going to survive to make it into the DCU. There were a lot of different ideas about how to do it and what might work best, but we knew that one way or another, we’d have him long term.

    After that, we started to pull together the Superman: Lois Clark series. From the beginning, we knew they’d survive to become the principal versions of the current versions, though the exact methodology had not yet been determined.

    But the broad ideas were in place, and it’s been a pleasure to see it work out as well as it has.

    Nrama: The “Superman Reborn” story involved several writers and artists. What was it like to put together this type of story that would be so important for fans of both “New 52” Superman and the post-Crisis Superman?

    Jurgens: When it comes to shaping a story of this magnitude, a lot of people have to get involved. The entire Superman editorial team, Geoff Johns, Pete Tomasi, Pat Gleason, and I barricaded ourselves in a conference room and worked through the details.

    We didn’t want to put off an entire segment of fans by selecting just one version of Superman to go forward. It seemed better to select the best elements of both to build the best Superman possible.

    Nrama: How would you describe what’s happened now to Superman – is he truly a new person, or kind of a mix of what he was before?

    Jurgens: In a way, the answer would be, “All of the above.”

    I think of him as a new person. There are adventures in his past we haven’t seen. Yet we selected some of the best possible aspects of his past to include, selecting from both the “New 52” Superman and pre-Flashpoint Superman, to make everything work.

    And, yes, to make that work right, we discarded some elements as well.

    Credit: DC Comics

    Nrama: A lot of fans are explaining this in a lot of different ways, using “Superman Red” and “Superman Blue” and the idea of “merging” their essence. How do you explain it? What happened to Superman and Lois?

    Jurgens: Superman’s past was messed with for a period of time. During that time, he was separated in two, living two distinctly different lives as two distinctly different characters.

    During “Reborn,” those timelines were merged and rebuilt as one. There was essentially one Superman and one Lois.

    As for how and why his past was altered, that’s a story that will unfold down the road.

    Nrama: Do they remember all of it? Part of it? What are their memories of what just happened?

    Jurgens: They do not remember all of it.

    Superman knows that his reality was fractured for a time. He no longer remembers the details or every aspect of it.

    For him, it’s somewhat like waking from a bad dream. For a brief second or two, you might remember it but the memory fades. All you know is that something has left you with an unsettled feeling.

    So shall it be for Superman.

    Nrama: It looks like you’re going to be examining the origin story of Superman. Is this a new, definitive origin? Or just a refresher for “Rebirth”?

    Jurgens: This is definitive.

    By the time people have read Action Comics #977 and #978, they’ll have a much better understanding of Superman and Lois’ history and how Jon fit into it. It’s “classic” at its core but still accommodates the need for our new reality.

    Nrama: Why is Superman reviewing his history in this week’s issue? Does he not remember things clearly?

    Jurgens: The farther away that Superman has gotten from “Reborn”, the more faded his memory and knowledge of events have become. Same for Lois and Jon.

    He realizes that a power beyond Mxyzptlk messed with his life, but has no idea how far or drastic it was. As a result, he has an unsettled feeling that he’s trying to reconcile.

    Credit: DC Comics

    Nrama: The death of Ma and Pa Kent happened differently for the two sides of Superman. Will we see the definitive story of Ma and Pa Kent in this Superman’s life?

    Jurgens: We certainly touch on that in this story.

    Nrama: Wait, are either Ma or Pa still alive in “Rebirth,” now that continuity has morphed a bit?

    Jurgens: Ma and Pa Kent died the night of Clark’s senior prom.

    Nrama: It looks like Superman and Action are each exploring different storylines again. Can you explain what’s coming up in Action Comics for the next few months?

    Jurgens: Yes.

    As Superman remains troubled by what happened with Mxy, a group of his greatest enemies have banded together to take him down.

    I like to think of them as an all new Superman Revenge Squad.

    Nrama: There have been hints that Mr. Oz is going to be central to upcoming stories. Is that accurate?

    Jurgens: Oz will have a role, yes.

    Nrama: What are the biggest challenges for Superman now, as he and Lois (and Jon) begin their new life as part of this world?

    Jurgens: The biggest challenges will come as they leave Hamilton County and move to Metropolis. That’s a bit down the road, but very much a part of what will be happening in their private lives.

    Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about what’s coming up in Action Comics?

    Jurgens: I’ve always seen this as a book that has to reflect its title – Action Comics – and a book that should really be building a steady course that resets the stage for Superman while driving to issue #1000, which is really an epic achievement.

    Laying the path work for that is really what drives us, along with making the best Superman stories possible!

    From: http://www.newsarama.com/34245-superman-is-a-new-person-after-reborn-according-to-action-comics-writer.html

    SUPERMAN Is A ‘New Person’ After ‘Reborn’ According To ACTION COMICS Writer

    DC Comics July 2016 solicitations

    Credit: DC Comics
    Credit: DC Comics

    As writer of the twice-monthly series Action Comics, Dan Jurgens thinks of the current, post-“Reborn” Superman as a “new person,” one formed from the history of both “New 52” Superman and post-Crisis Superman.

    As “Superman Reborn” revealed, someone messed with Superman in the past and split him into two, causing him to live two distinct lives – one as the “New 52” Superman and the other as the post-Crisis version

    But DC’s “Superman Reborn” crossover put those two lives back together, creating a new gestalt version of character (and his continuity) that now serves as DC’s Superman going forward.

    “As for how and why [Superman’s] past was altered, that’s a story that will unfold down the road,” Jurgens says, hinting at the “Rebirth” mysteries that appear to involve characters from Watchmen.

    Now that DC’s continuity has morphed around this “Reborn” Superman, DC is going to be revealing aspects of his history within upcoming stories, with the first hints coming in Superman and Action Comics this month. So far, a new, definitive history of how Superman’s parents sent him off the planet Krypton and toward Earth was established.

    While Jurgens wouldn’t talk about the status of the recent relationship between Wonder Woman and Superman – indicating that the answer will be revealed later – he did talk about some of the other questions concerning the post-“Reborn” Superman and Lois Lane.

    Do Clark and Lois remember what happened? Are Ma and Pa Kent dead? And was this morphing the plan since Jurgens first brought back post-Crisis Superman during “Convergence”? Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about his upcoming issues with Carlo Barberi, Patrick Zircher, Jack Herbert, and Viktor Bogdanovic.

    Newsarama: Dan, this must have been quite a journey for you, following the married, post-Crisis version of Superman through the “Convergence” storyline, his pre-“Rebirth” existence as a secret Superman and his current role now. How long have you known that he might become Superman again?

    Credit: DC Comics

    Dan Jurgens: Quite a while.

    Going all the way back to “Convergence,” we knew that Jon was going to survive to make it into the DCU. There were a lot of different ideas about how to do it and what might work best, but we knew that one way or another, we’d have him long term.

    After that, we started to pull together the Superman: Lois Clark series. From the beginning, we knew they’d survive to become the principal versions of the current versions, though the exact methodology had not yet been determined.

    But the broad ideas were in place, and it’s been a pleasure to see it work out as well as it has.

    Nrama: The “Superman Reborn” story involved several writers and artists. What was it like to put together this type of story that would be so important for fans of both “New 52” Superman and the post-Crisis Superman?

    Jurgens: When it comes to shaping a story of this magnitude, a lot of people have to get involved. The entire Superman editorial team, Geoff Johns, Pete Tomasi, Pat Gleason, and I barricaded ourselves in a conference room and worked through the details.

    We didn’t want to put off an entire segment of fans by selecting just one version of Superman to go forward. It seemed better to select the best elements of both to build the best Superman possible.

    Nrama: How would you describe what’s happened now to Superman – is he truly a new person, or kind of a mix of what he was before?

    Jurgens: In a way, the answer would be, “All of the above.”

    I think of him as a new person. There are adventures in his past we haven’t seen. Yet we selected some of the best possible aspects of his past to include, selecting from both the “New 52” Superman and pre-Flashpoint Superman, to make everything work.

    And, yes, to make that work right, we discarded some elements as well.

    Credit: DC Comics

    Nrama: A lot of fans are explaining this in a lot of different ways, using “Superman Red” and “Superman Blue” and the idea of “merging” their essence. How do you explain it? What happened to Superman and Lois?

    Jurgens: Superman’s past was messed with for a period of time. During that time, he was separated in two, living two distinctly different lives as two distinctly different characters.

    During “Reborn,” those timelines were merged and rebuilt as one. There was essentially one Superman and one Lois.

    As for how and why his past was altered, that’s a story that will unfold down the road.

    Nrama: Do they remember all of it? Part of it? What are their memories of what just happened?

    Jurgens: They do not remember all of it.

    Superman knows that his reality was fractured for a time. He no longer remembers the details or every aspect of it.

    For him, it’s somewhat like waking from a bad dream. For a brief second or two, you might remember it but the memory fades. All you know is that something has left you with an unsettled feeling.

    So shall it be for Superman.

    Nrama: It looks like you’re going to be examining the origin story of Superman. Is this a new, definitive origin? Or just a refresher for “Rebirth”?

    Jurgens: This is definitive.

    By the time people have read Action Comics #977 and #978, they’ll have a much better understanding of Superman and Lois’ history and how Jon fit into it. It’s “classic” at its core but still accommodates the need for our new reality.

    Nrama: Why is Superman reviewing his history in this week’s issue? Does he not remember things clearly?

    Jurgens: The farther away that Superman has gotten from “Reborn”, the more faded his memory and knowledge of events have become. Same for Lois and Jon.

    He realizes that a power beyond Mxyzptlk messed with his life, but has no idea how far or drastic it was. As a result, he has an unsettled feeling that he’s trying to reconcile.

    Credit: DC Comics

    Nrama: The death of Ma and Pa Kent happened differently for the two sides of Superman. Will we see the definitive story of Ma and Pa Kent in this Superman’s life?

    Jurgens: We certainly touch on that in this story.

    Nrama: Wait, are either Ma or Pa still alive in “Rebirth,” now that continuity has morphed a bit?

    Jurgens: Ma and Pa Kent died the night of Clark’s senior prom.

    Nrama: It looks like Superman and Action are each exploring different storylines again. Can you explain what’s coming up in Action Comics for the next few months?

    Jurgens: Yes.

    As Superman remains troubled by what happened with Mxy, a group of his greatest enemies have banded together to take him down.

    I like to think of them as an all new Superman Revenge Squad.

    Nrama: There have been hints that Mr. Oz is going to be central to upcoming stories. Is that accurate?

    Jurgens: Oz will have a role, yes.

    Nrama: What are the biggest challenges for Superman now, as he and Lois (and Jon) begin their new life as part of this world?

    Jurgens: The biggest challenges will come as they leave Hamilton County and move to Metropolis. That’s a bit down the road, but very much a part of what will be happening in their private lives.

    Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about what’s coming up in Action Comics?

    Jurgens: I’ve always seen this as a book that has to reflect its title – Action Comics – and a book that should really be building a steady course that resets the stage for Superman while driving to issue #1000, which is really an epic achievement.

    Laying the path work for that is really what drives us, along with making the best Superman stories possible!

    From: http://www.newsarama.com/34245-superman-is-a-new-person-after-reborn-according-to-action-comics-writer.html

    Superman: Multiplicity Comic Review

    DC Comics Rebirth initiative has worked its magic once again.Not only has it revived DC storylines from The New 52, it has opened the comics up to some interesting concepts. None more peculiar than the Multiplicity storyline in Superman #14-16.

    In Superman: Multiplicity, writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have brought together an odd yet surprisingly super story arc. Superman #14 begins with Clark Kent driving home down a dark, wooded road when he is confronted by none other than Superman. Well, not the Superman you might think. This is the Superman from Red Son, the terrific comic series by Mark Millar. This Superman is the Soviet Union’s Man of Steel from an Elseworlds story. He is badly beaten, and just as Clark tears into his Superman garb, a group of fang-toothed aliens, known as the Gatherers, show up. They are there to take Superman back to the USSR. But Rebirth Superman has other ideas and a terrific battle ensues. The two Supermen finally neutralize the Gatherers, and this is where the fun really begins. A group of Multiverse heroes show up. There is a different version of Rebirth’s Aquaman, Superman, Flash, Green Lantern and Batman. They let Superman know there is a great force threatening the very lives of all Supermen in the Multiverse. A threat that is stealing Supermen and taking their super powers. And this all in the first two-thirds of Superman #14.

    Tomasi and Gleason have done a terrific job with this quirky idea. Not only have they brought Rebirth Superman into contact with various Multiverse superheroes, they have created an incredibly exciting and compelling story in only three issues. The plot is tight and lean—in such a short mini-series there is no room for anything but the essentials. Something Tomasi and Gleason do expertly.

    Pitting Rebirth Superman amongst the Multiverse Supermen and superheroes quickly sets our new Superman apart. This Superman evolves to become the leader. And he does this by doing what Superman does best—he puts other’s needs (even if they are superheroes) way above his own. In one short series, readers can see how this Superman is the best of the bunch. He is as great a man as the late departed New 52 Superman and if fans weren’t attached to Rebirth Superman, they will be now.

    Superman: Multiplicity’s artwork is superbly crafted by Ivan Reis, Ryan Sook, Ed Benes, Clay Mann, Jorge Jimenez, and Tony S. Daniel. It is a truly collaborative mini-series. The action sequences are intense and at times, large-than-life. The intimate moments evoke strong emotion and heart—essentials for a truly super Superman story.

    Superman: Multiplicity, while short, is a mini-series worth getting your hands on. My skepticism was high when I first came across the concept, but from the opening panels, it became apparent that this story wasn’t only oddly working, but that there would be larger ramifications for DC’s Rebirth universe as well. As the story plays out, that initial sentiment rings true; the stakes were high. We are once again introduced to a collage of Multiverse Supermen, but also things are coming to a head soon for the DC universe. Story ideas that began with Geoff Johns’ first Rebirth comic are ringing truer than ever.

    Times they are a changing for our DC heroes—for better or worse, only time will tell.

    From: http://www.cgmagonline.com/reviews/superman-multiplicity-comic-review/

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