The Superman of the New 52 has passed, and the original Superman takes his place in the first issue ongoing issue of the Rebirth relaunch.
During a visit to his alternate-timeline-self’s grave, Clark Kent bids farewell and takes up the mantle of the world’s greatest superhero.
The family has moved from Salinas, California, to a farm in Hamilton County, 300 miles north of Metropolis. Taking a new surname — the Smiths — the former-Kents try to live a life as normal as possible.
Things take a turn after a thunderstorm sends a bolt of lightning which lights the barn on fire.
Jon Kent becomes the lens through which we see the story for issue #1. Before they rebuild the barn, Clark sends his son to fill the corn harvester with gas, but Jon returns from his chores without his cat Goldie. Out in the fields, a hawk captured Goldie in its talons, causing Jon to shoot it down with eyebeams.
The Superman of Earth-Prime is gone, and the world comes to terms with the loss.
In Superman: Rebirth #1, Lana Lang and pre-Flashpoint Superman head to the New 52’s burial site to deal with his death in their own ways.
For Lang, it’s to keep a promise and have Kent’s body taken to Smallville, Kansas, to be interred next to his parents. For the original Superman, death is only another beginning. Having been reborn after being killed by Doomsday, Superman believes the same can happen to this timeline’s Superman — provided there’s a Fortress of Solitude with the proper resurrection tech.
Lang, who somehow gained the knowledge of the Fortress’ whereabouts when Superman died, leads the new (or old) Superman there. While they’re devastated to know that Superman cannot be resurrected, they honor him in their own ways.
Superman: Rebirth #1 seems geared as a primer — a way for new fans to jump in and for old fans to get caught up with the whole Rebirth thing going on. While, at best, it’s a moving tribute on the subject of existence if you can dig deep into it, the issue is rather cut and dry with an anti-climactic plot point that’s meant to establish more of the old continuity going forward.
What’s the first thing readers will think of when they see Superman Unchained #1 on shelves Comic Book Wednesday? Obviously, they’ll notice the Jim Lee cover — unless they’ve been drawn towards the more expensive variants. They’ll also see Scott Snyder’s name on the cover along with the names of longtime Lee collaborator, inker Scott Williams, and epilogue illustrator Dustin Nguyen.
Clark and Lois’ friendship is tested when Clark confronts her about her plans to move in with her boyfriend, but that conversation takes a backseat when Kara, aka Supergirl, barges in on the conversation unexpectedly. While Lois misses the connection between Supergirl and Clark, Kent whisks Kara to a construction site for a private conversation.
Last issue, Superman investigated a research facility in Russia where an inter-dimensional being had escaped, wiping out scientists and civilians. As Superman followed his target towards a nuclear reactor, the unknown assailant ambushed the Man of Steel defeating him swiftly and with very little resistance.
Superman’s encounters with the dangerous and unfamiliar continue in issue #11, this time with an inter-dimensional threat that looks inspired by a famous movie monster. Superman travels all the way to Russia to investigate a research installation which is being descended on by the national military. Superman’s visit to the facility uncovers the secret mission of the sub he tried to save in issue #9.
Superman continues to struggle against an emotionally unstable Anguish while the media storm around Spence Becker, the man unfortunate enough to be mistakenly identified as Superman’s alter ego, comes to a boil.
If you’ve read Superman in the last year, you know Big Blue’s been through a lot. Let’s review. He’s faced a being made of fire, an invisible alien monster, a being made of ice and a face-off with Helspont. Then there was the whole “visitor from another dimension” thing and another run-in with Helspont, which really didn’t go too well. To top it off, Lois is in a relationship. That one sort of worked out well, though. After all, it made him available for Wonder Woman.