Superman Reborn, at times, feels like an unnecessarily convoluted tale of Clark Kent and Superman existing as dual personalities with a whodunit mystery in the middle. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it also didn’t help to elevate the storytelling. But at the end of it all, Jurgens and Tomasi know just how far to push the story they’re telling.
“Lois and Clark, Clark and Lois. No matter what, when or where, it’s always you two.”
Superman Reborn is all about the Kent family living their best lives in Metropolis but under the auspice of the looming figure of Clark Kent, but not quite Clark Kent. Which leads Lois Lane down an investigative road of uncovering the identity of who this Clark Kent is – a Clark Kent who is just too much.
Superman Reborn has a lot going on in the shadows: organizations, motivations, and figures. This includes a man with infinite powers who remains mysterious enough to be “frightening”; a man who is in some way or another messing with space and time. There is also a side storyline involving Steel and Lana Lang that goes nowhere for much of the volume, and that makes the story feel hollow. All the good stuff is behind the curtain, but we have to deal with the shiny stuff beforehand.
“You personify chaos in the life of Superman.”
The shiny stuff being Mxyzptlk, a figure who has been around since the inception of Superman. We get a look at his point of view of the relationship he has with Superman, and boy is it twisted. Superman has turned Mxyzptlk into an innocent bedtime story for his son Jon, much in the same way parents presented Rumplestiltkin to their kids; neutered and incapable of harm. While for Mxyzptlk, he and Superman are the best of friends, but he’s really just an ass.
When Mxyzptlk ends up imprisoned, he expects Superman (his friend) to rescue him. When he doesn’t, it leads him down a path of taking over Clark’s life, to the point where he magically brainwashes himself into believing he is Clark Kent.
This story feels like A LOT sometimes, and manages to just rein itself in from its excesses; this is something the ink and coloring artists take full advantage off. It gets really hard to look away from the panels. But the artwork also never belittles the seriousness of the story being told, leading to the culmination of the worlds of New 52 and Rebirth clashing.
I liked getting to know a bit more of Jon Kent, and his abilities and strengths as the son of Superman. His existence is a focal point throughout as Superman tries to save him from the clutches of Mxyzptlk, and from disappearing from existence. All of the emotional strengths of this story come from Clark’s and Lois’ relationship with their son.
At times, I could see through the seams of the story, but Superman Reborn is none-the-less enjoyable and a worthy continuation of New 52’s Superman.
“Kid, I am what happens when the cosmos turns itself into a funny little man in a purple hat and gets kicked to the curb for trying to be human.”