DC Comics’ Handling Of Superman Just Got More Convoluted

DC Comics’ Handling Of Superman Just Got More Convoluted

Look, up in the sky! A Superman who’s still married! A Lois Lane who didn’t expose Clark Kent’s secret identity to the world! Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! This is all happening in the newly re-rebooted DC Universe, where there’s another weaker Clark Kent leaping tall buildings. What the heck is going on?

A few months ago, DC Comics published an awful crossover called Convergence, which pulled together heroes from various multiple realities to fight a cosmically-upgraded version of Brainiac. The best things to come out of Convergence were tie-in miniseries that brought back fan-favourite iterations of characters that had been wiped by DC’s New 52 reboot back in 2011. If you were a reader missing the Stephanie Brown version of Batgirl or the Wally West who assumed the mantle of the Flash, then you were in heaven for the months that those miniseries ran.

When Convergence ended, things changed a lot in the DC fictional landscape. One of the big meta-changes mutated it back to being a multiverse, a panoply of realities with different versions of its heroes. After the return of the multiverse, fans assumed that some of those formerly extinct character variations would be back in new alternate-reality series tucked safely away from the main plane of existence.

So it’s a big twist that Superman: Lois & Clark #1 isn’t on an alternate Earth at all. The first issue by Dan Jurgens, Lee Weeks, Scott Hanna and Brad Anderson plants the pre-reboot Superman right on the New 52 Earth where a younger version of himself is starting out a superhero career. This book brings back a version of the Man of Steel that still wears red briefs on the lower half of his costume, at least for a little while. The married Superman still has a secret identity and a Lois Lane to protect, along with a young son named Jon.

The main conceit that Jurgens and crew try to sell to readers is that the aftermath of Convergence put the older Superman on the New 52 Earth right as a new version of the Justice League was coalescing into being.

The shift into a wanna-be-edgy tonality by the latter-day reimaginations of DC’s characters is treated as a plot point, one that spurs this Superman and Lois to go into hiding.

They become Clark and Lois White, a seemingly ordinary Midwestern couple hiding their efforts at world-saving from their curious son. This version of Clark remembers everything from his life in a now-gone universe and that knowledge has led him down a very curious path. His super-quest in this issue is try and make sure the spacecraft mission accident that created one of his toughest enemies doesn’t happen in his reality. It’s a bit questionable morally but Superman justifies his interference by thinking of the millions of lives it would save if the Cyborg Superman never comes into existence.

Superman: Lois & Clark #1 comes across like DC editorial is trying to have its cake and eat it, too. On one end of their shared universe fiction, there’s a Superman who’s angry at Lois and less powerful than he has been in decades. In this new corner, the Superman who’d been a going concern for decades is back and one imagines that the series’ creators are going to work in some Forrest Gump logic to explain when and why he has/hasn’t been active in the events of this universe. But, this is DC’s most blatant olive branch yet to fans who’ve felt cast aside by changes to a Man of Steel. The only catch is that they will have to read about the Superman they loved as a side dish to a main course Clark Kent they have no taste for.


    • Um, is this directed towards the author?

      If so, you’re the uneducated one, not them. This series is in-continuity – the whole premise is that the pre-52 Superman is on the same Earth as New 52 Superman. Hell, it even states that in the article!

    • It really is at this point. I wish DC would give the crisis thing a break for twenty years and Marvel would give their bullshit power shifting a break for a few years too. Having been reading Battleworld (some genuinely good stuff in there, but for the most part… eh) and DC’s latest (again SOME decent stuff, but most part… eh) I gotta say, it’s at the point where it’s enough to almost drive a fan away.

      They really need to get back to basics, which was what these were meant to achieve, but ended up having the inverse effect of making everything even more complicated.

  • See this in my eyes was a great issue, the idea that post crisis Superman has just been chilling out in the background the whole time is awesome.

  • Sooo… Marvel decides to “remove” their multiverse and DC decides to “revive” their multiverse…

    …. again this is why I have completely given up on these “main stream” comics. Goddamnit Archie gimme back my Megaman!

    • Marvel haven’t removed their multiverse at all. It was all smooshed together for a time with Secret Wars but after the event it’s back to the way it was before with multiple universes including Spider-Gwen’s, 2099, and more.

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