Superman is the godfather of all superheroes. He was the one who essentially started it all—his popularized escapades gave rise to the modern day superhero. Superman’s early successes paved the way for all the fictional worlds we enjoy today related to comics, whether on the page or on television and movie screens. With DC Comics new initiative, Superman needed to be cared for in just the right way. He’s a national treasure and must be treated as such.
So, did he get the Superman rebirth he deserved?
Surprisingly, yes. You’ll find out why it’s a surprise a little later, but first let’s crack open the initial few pages and see what this comic is all about.
Superman Rebirth #1 begins with Lana Lane trying to break into Superman’s tomb. In the final days of the New 52, this particular version of Superman sacrificed his life to stop and destroy a burning madman. The opening of Superman Rebirth #1 replays those events as Lana works on the grave. But it is told from the eyes of someone who has been in that boat before: the pre New 52 Superman. This is the same Superman who died at the hands of Doomsday only to return from the dead with a sharp black suit and flowing locks. This pre New 52 Superman is struggling with coming back into the public eye. He now has a wife, Lois, and a son. Things are complicated for the Man of Steel in 2016.
But a world without a Superman is like the world without apple pie. It just doesn’t feel right. And this Metropolis Marvel knows it.
Writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason do a terrific job delivering a subtle reintroduction to the Man of Tomorrow. Superman Rebirth isn’t loaded with action. In fact, the only real action comes from Superman reminiscing about his time tussling with Doomsday on the streets of Metropolis back in 1992. The strength of the story is in the emotional underpinnings. Yes, it does help that this reviewer was reading comics during the fateful Death of Superman run; but there is also something else going on here.
Resurrection has been taught in Sunday schools for hundreds of years. It pops up in literature and movies quite often. Both Gandalf and Obi-Wan came back from the dead in their own ways and in doing so, brought a certain power and grounding to those fantastical stories.
The same can be said for Superman Rebirth #1.
There’s something special about Superman, there always has been. He needed to be treated in a noble, almost royal way. And Tomasi and Gleason pulled it off.
Artist Doug Mahnke does a fine job bringing Tomsai and Gleason’s story to life, especially in the full splash page with Superman and Doomsday about to rip each other limb from limb. The strength of the story is in the words though, and the feeling one derives from Superman’s rebirth. It’s calming, centering and comforting; we know when one Superman falls, another will be reborn.
While only a fortune teller will know whether DC Comics latest reimagining of their universe will pay dividends, one thing is for certain: old has become new again when it comes to the Last Son of Krypton. And we’re all better off for it.