What Is The Deal With Superman In DC Comics’ Rebirth?

What Is The Deal With Superman In DC Comics’ Rebirth?

Over the weekend, DC Comics finally lifted the lid on Rebirth, its rapidly incoming creative reshuffle that sees a plethora of new series and changes coming to the DC roster. But one huge character was missing from these big announcements: Superman. Sort of. Kinda. Allow me to explain. For those who’ve been following along with the world of Superman comics recently, you’ll know there’s actually two Supermen in continuity right now: First, the post-New 52 era Superman, as seen in Superman, Action Comics and virtually ever other DC book to feature Superman. This is the main one, the one that’s been through all kinds of miserable hell in the last year, and recently got all of his powers and his costume back.

But, to quote a certain diminutive green Jedi, there is another. Also running around is an older, beardier Superman: the star of Superman: Lois & Clark, who is actually the old Superman from the comics before DC rebooted with the New 52 in 2011. He’s been hanging around in the background with his wife Lois and their son Jon, trying to stop Pre-52 Clark’s enemies from popping up to harass the Post-52 Clark.

Confused? You should be.

But maybe you’ll be less confused in Rebirth, because it seems like New 52 Superman is disappearing. None of the Superman comics announced as part of the event seemingly star the current iteration of Kal-El.

Let’s recap: Action Comics, reverting to its old number run, will be the continuation of Superman: Lois and Clark, starring the Pre-52 Superman.

The Superman ongoing also features this Superman, given that Lois and Jon are on the cover, and he’s tearing off his Superman: Lois and Clark black suit to reveal the classic one underneath.

Then there’s Super-Sons, which DC confirmed as featuring Pre-52 Superman’s son Jon on the cover, as well as the classic Superman (note the lack of a collar on the suit, and the spit curl hairstyle — compare it to New 52 Superman’s current suit, which you can see in the header image).

The other two covers that Superman featured on in the Rebirth reveal, Justice League and Trinity, also feature the no-collar, spit-curled Superman, indicating that it’s the Pre-52 character rather than the New 52 incarnation:

The only other Superman comic revealed was The New Super-Man, which features neither version of Clark, but a new character that somehow gains Superman’s powers.

The New 52 Superman is missing from all of these titles. He’s nowhere to be found in Rebirth so far.

What’s brought this on? After all, these two Supermen were meant to meet in Superman #50 this month, but the story was changed a few weeks before the issue went to print — and the fabled meeting between the old and new Clarks never happened. Is that because there are different plans for the New 52 Superman? Is he going away for good, or becoming something else, allowing the classic Superman to step in and take his place? DC has teased that Rebirth is about bringing back some of the legacy of DC’s pre-New 52 comics. What better way to do that than to replace the “new” Superman with the ones fans had been reading about since Crisis on Infinite Earths?

A bunch of these also feature Lex Luthor in some kind of Superman armour… and if Lex is running around trying to be Superman alongside the classic Supes, then it paints a pretty ugly picture for the future of the New 52 Superman. Maybe even one where he’s dead! Poor guy. A year of getting beat up, and then he’s killed off just as he gets all his powers back.

Either way, we’ll find out more soon if the New 52 Superman’s days are well and truly numbered — Rebirth begins May 25 with a special introductory comic.


  • What’s the deal with DC (and Marvel) comics’ rebirths/reboots/retcons in general?
    Aside from half-a-dozen/dozen titles, I wouldn’t touch most of them. I’d rather put that money into filling backlogs and indies!

    • i can probably explain the marvel side…

      marvel’s current reboot was the culmination of the past 3-4 years worth of (amazing) story by Hickman on the Avengers and New Avengers, where one by one (or two by two) each universe from the marvel universe was being destroyed, ending with only the Main universe and the Ultimate Universe, resulting in the fantastic Secret Wars saga, which leads into the current status quo, where it’s a streamlined universe with a lot of redesigned and slightly retconned characters.

      • DC’s on the other hand, seems to consist of people randomly throwing darts at ‘shit that might work’ on a random dartboard and praying for the best…

        • that’s what I can’t get my head around.

          DC just seems to be throwing around reboots without any proper story-lead up that would justify why it’s happening in the first place…

      • Yeh I follow dc to a point and even I’m confused with this superman malarkey.
        Marvel is easier to follow but imo secret wars wasn’t great, especially after the HUGE buildup to it. Having said that the way Hickman wove all the threads together made it satisfying. Pretty bummed the ultimate universe is gone now, it had certainly slumped until Hickman but in its first few years it was truly something special. I love marvel and DC but these reboots give me the shits. I’m loving image and the other players in the comic industry a lot more these days I gotta day. Self contained = fantastic.

        • i understand what you mean about secret wars, maybe i should’ve elaborated that it was the warzones tie-ins that were fantastic. the fact that they were pretty much self-contained and unconstrained in their story telling, was inspired. the main series itself was fine.

      • To be honest, I stopped within the first 8-9th Avengers; I didn’t find it compelling enough to wait for the pay off. Maybe I’ll have a revisit.
        Marvel are (well, were, it’s been 12-odd months for me since having a massive DC/Marvel pull list) almost just as bad in terms of cross-title events and reboots, only they had some total freaking gems (like Hawkeye, Daredevil, Ms Marvel, and so on).

        • I’d recommend a revisit. Especially if you only read the main ‘Avengers’ title previously, and not ‘New Avengers’ also, which laid out the groundwork for leading into ‘Secret Wars’ much earlier and dealt with heavier themes. Both of them put together was an amazing saga overall even before getting to the main event which was ‘Secret Wars’.

          Some advice though if you’re looking at reading it all in trade paperback format, don’t get confused by the lack of ‘New Avengers’ trades once the ‘Avengers’ trades reaches the ‘Time Runs Out’ story, as ‘Time Runs Out’ involves both titles and the trades for it collects the issues from both titles in the necessary order.

        • Can’t express how much I loved daredevil when waid was writing it, with that art by samnee i think it was. All time classic run. Hawkeye was a revelation too.
          Have u checked out squirrel girl? That’s really special too imo.

          • Yeah the waid/samnee run was special; I’d read that first beyond all other 40 pulls. I did read the first few squirrel girl issues but had to drop it out of financial necessity. It would have meant dropping an image/idw title which i guess i preferred at the time.

    • I’m a huge Superman fan, and have been for nearly 40 years. Bought the comics for decades. That stopped when they introduced the new 52. I don’t think I’ve bought a DC title since. The various “crisis” events were bad enough, but the stuff from the last five years or so just killed any liking for the characters.

      I assume DC (and Marvel) are trying to refresh their lineups in an attempt to draw in new readers but the sad thing is they’re losing long time fans by basically wrecking their characters. And even if they do go back to the “old character” that people like me know and love it’s too late. Most people have just stopped cold turkey and given up on them 🙁

  • Won’t bother me so much if N52 Superman is killed off or in some other way taken out of the picture. Heard nothing but average and less-than-average things about most N52 Superman titles, so I just kept away from them. The only one I actually read was ‘Superman Unchained’ which was actually pretty good as a standalone story.

    • There was a pretty excellent supes story with Johns ( who else ?) writing and RomiTa on pencils recently ish, can’t remember the name of the story but it ran from 32-39. But Yeh I stayed away from pretty much everything else involving supes in the new 52, bar justice League as that is always a fun read .

  • I’m not sure anybody cared much for the new Supes? He spent most of his tenure un-powered, veering between bitchy, whiny and angry while carrying none of the original legacy. I’m pretty sure that in fact, most people will be happy to be able to disregard him as a one-time alternate version of Superman rather than folding him into the ongoing Superman mythology.

    Also, that super kid looks A LOT like Gohan. I wonder if it’s an intentional nod to the other super kid.

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