New To You Comics: ‘Superman Rebirth Vol. 1- Son Of Superman’

by Tony Thornley

With the future of the comics industry still in flux, Brendan Allen and I are taking the opportunity to introduce each other to comics that the other might not have read. I’m more of a capes, laser guns and swords guy, while Brendan loves dark magic, criminals and things that go bump in the night. This time up, we look at one of the more complicated relaunches in comics history.

Cover by Mahnke, Mendoza & Quintana

In 2016, DC relaunched their entire line while repositioning the universe to a brighter and more optimistic place. One of those series was Superman by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Jorge Jimenez, Doug Mahnke, Mick Gray, Alejandro Sanchez, John Kalisz, Jaime Mendoza, Wil Quintana, and Rob Leigh. It was a bold reimagining of the Man of Steel and his entire mythos, as we find a multi-versal refugee Clark Kent and his family taking the place of his recently deceased counterpart from this universe.

Tony Thornley: So Brendan, I apologized a lot in our discussion about Astonishing X-Men about how it may have been a confusing starting point. That sort of pales in comparison to this series though. If you’re familiar with the general idea of Superman, this wouldn’t be tough to get the broad strokes, but some of the specifics are really out there. Regardless, I absolutely love this story. What did you think though?

Brendan Allen: It took a minute to orient. Superman’s dead? But there’s this OTHER Superman, and he’s just like the dead guy, except from a different dimension and whatnot. I guess they had to kick the series back up one way or another. This way works as well as any. But, yeah. Broad strokes. New Supes seems a hell of a lot like the old one, though, so once I got past the housekeeping, we were rolling.  

TT: One of the things I really like about this take on the Man of Steel is how much it’s about family. Literally the core of Superman is about family – his birth parents loved him so much that they shot him to an alien world to save his life, his adoptive parents raised him to be the noble hero we know, and in this story Tomasi and Gleason bring that full circle with giving Clark Kent a family of his own to pass that on to. We’re both fathers of young boys, so we can relate. And I think that’s why I love Jon Kent so much.

BA: Right. There are a lot of tender moments between father and son. Kid screws up, tries to hide it from pops, but pops already knows. We always know, and even when we don’t, we do. There’s a big come-to-Jesus moment that really seems to set the tone and direction for the rest of the series. Kal-El (New Supes is still Kal-El, right?) has family issues, sure. Looks like he’s setting out to give Jon the stability and guidance he never had coming up. 

TT: Yeah, exactly. Lois literally says that Jonathan and Martha had no idea what they were doing with a Kryptonian kid, but Clark has been through it, so they can do it right. This story arc is full of moments like that. There’s a great emotional intelligence to it.

Another thing that I love about this book is the art. Now, at the time, DC switched to a biweekly shipping schedule for its biggest books. That led to a lot of fill-in art on basically everything but the Batman books. Here though, they brought together a trio of art teams that remains stylistically consistent. Gleason is the lead artist here, inked by Grey, and I really think we see him do some remarkably iconic work with Superman. Jimenez and Mahnke’s work is equally good too.

BA: Bold lines, heavy use of primary colors. Seems like a pretty classic Superman book. There are a couple little spots where the character designs slip a little, but it flows really well. Action is clear and easy to follow. Loads of emotional spots that translate easily. 

Overall, this was a really good book. I enjoyed it. Blasted through the thing in one sitting, if that says anything. It held my attention and made me want to keep turning the pages. 

TT: Yeah, this was the first time I re-read it since its release, and I read it in one sitting too. It’s a highly enjoyable story, despite the strange plot gymnastics in the first two issues (which is weird but by no means a dealbreaker). Once you get past that, it’s a genuinely great superhero story, and in my opinion one of the best modern Superman stories we’ve gotten.

So what’s up next?

BA: The next book we’ll be diving into is another of my favorites, and while the Devil himself is a main character, this one probably won’t give you nightmares. It’s the world’s toughest hobo on his very own Homeric Odyssey in Kyle Starks’ Rock Candy Mountain Volume 1. 

We’d like to ask, on behalf of our friends and colleagues that own and are employed by comic shops, that you first try to get these books at your local shop. This is a very uncertain time for owners, employees, and their families. Show some love for your community and friends by buying from your regular shop when possible and safe.

If your local comic store is temporarily closed, not offering safe curbside pick up or mail order, or is out of stock on this title, DC Comics has a digital version of Superman Rebirth Volume 1- Son of Superman currently on Comixology or included as a part of Comixology Unlimited. Physical copies are available at Amazon for $11.99 here, and TFAW has a few copies for $8.04 plus shipping here.


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