I am someone who likes Superman, but who has not read a lot of Superman stories. I’d read some Superman pre-New-52, and I read a bit of the Post New-52 Superman in the trade, but kind of fell off of reading that series. I decided recently to jump back on to Superman with the post Rebirth DC Comics universe and was interested in seeing how this turned out.
So, when I picked this book up from the library and discovered, to my surprise, that the book is basically bringing the pre-Flashpoint Superman into the modern DC Universe, with Post-Flashpoint Superman sacrificing his life to bring Bronze Age Clark Kent, Lois Lane, and their son Johnathan into the post-Flashpoint universe, I was rather surprised.
It was also kind of interesting to see this book, in a way, doing a call-out to the first Superman comic story I ever read – Death & Return of Superman. It has Clark dealing with the death of the Flashpoint Superman and trying to make a life with Lois and Johnathan while trying to best succeed this universe’s Superman (who died publically), while also establishing himself being an okay guy to the public. And, ironically, provides that utility for Clark is one of the players from the Reign of the Supermen storyline – the Eradicator.
The book is, fundamentally, a sort of thesis statement, or a reiteration of the thesis statement for what Superman is. That, to remove the 1950s jingoism from the picture, he stands for Truth, Justice, and the Human way. Phenomenal alien power tempered with human compassion. The desire to help, and even to fight, when events call for it, but never to willfully harm. And we see this contrast twofold. We see it through Jonathan, who is just coming into his powers and is both excited by them and who wants to wholly embrace them, but is also scared by the destructive potential they hold. It’s also and the conflict between Clark and Eradicator – Eradicator who sees Jonathan’s human genes and human compassion as a hindrance to be removed, while Clark who feels that his human genes and human compassion should be embraced.
It makes for a story that makes for the perfect jumping on point for Superman in this part of the DC Universe. All you need to know about Superman going in, is the stuff about Superman everyone knows – the last son of Krypton, raised by two salt-of-the-earth farmers in Kansas, and as a superhero seeks to be an inspiration for humanity while in his secret identity seeks to appear to be an ordinary person – but a person who is also a really good person.
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