Readers rejoice, the real Superman is back, and even with some serious nostalgia goggles, it feels as though the character, the creative team, and the stories they’re telling have never been better.
When the New 52 launched in 2011, it meant a full scale reboot of the DC universe. While this offered a fresh start for readers, a jumping on point for new readers, and a relief from the extensive universe that the DC had built over the course of 60+ years, it also meant that it was DC’s chance to be experimental with their favorite heroes and villains. The New 52 Superman was a rookie again; he was sloppy, inexperienced, and although he was seemingly one of the most powerful forces in the universe, perhaps even more ridiculously overpowered than the previous iteration, he still felt disconnected and weak. The national treasure Superman wasn’t around anymore. He punched first, and he never seemed to be on anyone’s side but his own. This wasn’t the Superman people knew and loved. He wasn’t a beacon of hope and no one feared his strength. While I didn’t despise this Superman, he wasn’t an enjoyable character. Everything’s that’s bad about Superman was intensified, and things that were good about him were lost.
With the introduction of Rebirth, a move by DC to bring back some of the greatest aspects of the pre-reboot era, Superman is back with hands to hips and a flowing cape, addressing the citizens of Earth as its guardian, rather than its warrior. But Superman has yet to be alone in this series as of late. With this return to the early modern age of Superman comes yet another wonderfully executed dynamic, Superman’s son, Jon, or as many recognize as: Superboy. As a character still so young, unsure of himself, and unable to control his powers it’s only natural that his adventures with a character so powerful, and so sure of himself works so well with the right creative team, and low and behold, the previous team of Batman & Robin takes yet another father/son story and delivers better than anyone could hope.
Superman #6 sees two important things for the series and the entire DC comic-verse. First, the visual solidification of Superman as a force of ‘truth and justice’ on Earth, as a force of nature not to be reckoned with, and even more important, as a figure potentially weakened by his own moral drive and barriers. And second, the introduction of Jon as Superboy, opening up a massive window of potential for an already fan favorite character. It’s no secret that DC and it’s teams are ramping this character up, and while I think he’ll remain a vital part of this comic book there’s obviously more coming for Superboy. More importantly however, Superman remains an extremely strong addition to the DC comic line with no signs of stopping.