Genre: Superhero Comics
Series: Action Comics #1 (Rebirth)
Publisher: DC Comics (February 17, 2017)
Length: 128 pages
My Rating: 4 stars
Okay, I really didn’t like the New 52 Superman. Sure, there were a few stories I read and thought were okay, but the main problem I had with the book was Clark Kent: the guy was a weak, emotional loser. At least, that is how I felt about him.
Well, DC jettisoned that New 52 Superman. In comes the Rebirth Superman, who just happens to be a Clark Kent from pre-Flashpoint where he is happily married with a growing son. This hero-in-hiding now stepping back into the limelight, taking up the Superman mantle again. And I have to admit really digging this new direction with Supes.
The story here starts off as the new Superman comes into conflict with Lex Luthor, who has turned good, built a super suit (envision a DC version of Iron Man armor), and taken to hero-ing across Metropolis with the familiar Superman “S” emblazoned across his chest. Naturally, the real Superman can’t let that slide, so a confrontation ensues. The big outcome of which is the appearance of a non-Superman Clark Kent!
Meanwhile, there is a shadowy figure lurking just off screen. This individual pulling strings, moving pieces across a game board for some unknown reason. It isn’t clear exactly who this person is or what endgame he/she is targeting, but no doubt, the mystery man/woman has something to do with Doomsday’s reappearance and his targeting of Supes’ son Jonathan.
The rest of the tale is a running fight between Doomsday and Superman. Rather ho-hum, but still okay for establishing this new Superman as a hero and family man as well as ending a few story threads from the New 52, specifically the Wonder Woman and Superman relationship.
What I really liked about this book was the return to the old Clark Kent I read about back in the 1990s. You know, the mature, dedicated hero who revealed his identity to Lois, got married, fought Doomsday to the death, came back to life, and all the rest. At heart, that Clark was a family man through and through. The guy who loved his parents, respected and loved his partner Lois yet expected that same respect and love to be returned. That Superman was the quiet leader where ever he went; a man who would follow others when needed but never was led around by the nose by anyone. That old Supes was a hero who derived his unwavering determination from his bonds of familial love and viewed every person on the planet as part of his extended family. He was a real hero, not a whiny manchild trying to act like a hero, and finally we have that Superman back, and I for one am overjoyed to finally see him again.
Equally as important here is Jurgen’s outstanding portrayal of the two people closest to Superman: Lois and their son Jonathan Kent. Both these key characters adding immensely to the dynamics of this new story direction.
Quite honestly, I disliked the New 52 Lois almost as much as I did Clark. Mainly this was because she was a pale reflection of the former strong, confident, but caring Lois I grew up reading about. You know, the pre-New 52 Lois who would stand toe-to-toe with any corrupt politician or super villain, but was secure enough within herself to be in a committed relationship with Clark and put that relationship and her family on equal footing with her own ambitions and desires. Well, now, that woman is back, and the fact she is also a dedicated mother only makes her that much more interesting.
As for Jonathan Kent, the son of Lois and Clark is a real revelation. This young man adding yet another dimension to the story, as he is an amazing mixture of both parents; a farm boy whom most readers will instantly likes, because he is just a normal child who finds himself dealing with his dad becoming a hero, coming to terms with his own powers materializing, and trying to process how all of this puts he and his mother in danger. And I hear he is even better in Super Sons, where his career as Superboy really takes off! (Bad pun, I know.)
Does my love for Clark, Lois, and Jon mean I adored every second of this book? Nope, it means that even though this book had some boring parts (The running Doomsday fight was predictable.), stupid parts (The Lois and Wonder Woman reconciliation was way too quick and easy.), and underdeveloped parts (The mystery villain was teased and not developed at all.) I can forgive all that due to Jurgens nailing the core characters and making me empathize with and like them. Quite honestly I’ll overlook a hell of a lot if I like someone, and after putting down this book, I know I like this family and want to read more about them.
For those who are interested in my thoughts on the art, all I can say is that I really liked it. Tyler Kirkman, Patrick Zircher and all the rest of the team bringing their A game to this iconic character. Definitely, this was done in the current DC style, but that is fine by me since I adore what DC does these days.
To close, I thought this was a very good beginning to Superman’s new Rebirth era. Kudos goes to whomever at DC decided to return the Man of Steel to his glory days and focus on his family man persona. Love the potential with this going forward, will definitely be reading more of it.