In which Superman votes for the first time as Earth’s representative to the new United Planets and reveals to the world – heck, the universe – that he’s also Clark Kent.
This is the issue I’ve been waiting for these last several months, since the DC Comics publicity machine told us what the latest twist in the modern Superman saga was going to be. It seemed apparent that writer Brian Michael Bendis would justify the move with the Truth argument – if Superman is all about Truth, Justice and the American Way (what that last means today, no one seems to know), how can he lie to almost everybody, every day of his life￼?
But why now? What’s that motivating factor? We find out in a conversation with the planet Rann’s resident Earth hero, Adam Strange.
I think, yes, he’s overreacting to Jor-El’s actions (the warping of Jor-El got so convoluted that I can no longer recall what his first ￼’dirty little secret’ might have been￼). Still, you can’t argue with gut feelings￼, and if this is what Superman feels he has to do to be true to himself, and become a better person and example to his son￼, then I’m good to see where Bendis goes with that￼￼. It’s not like this is going to be forever – Superman’s other identity was revealed only a couple of years ago, just before DC Rebirth, ￼and that was quickly ￼waved away￼.
I hugely appreciate that before Superman shares his news, he tells boss and father figure Perry White, and best pal Jimmy Olsen, privately. And I love that Lois has already given ‘Mr Action’ the scoop.
Lois makes sense; it hasn’t been just Clark’s secret for years. And that fact ties into the biggest question I have around this storyline – how the heck will Superman protect Lois, Perry, Jimmy and his other friends and loved ones from criminals wanting to hurt him? He lives in a world where villains can teleport, run at super speed, cast magic spells… in Silver Age imaginary stories it would take the Man of Steel having invented a super serum to make everyone invulnerable before he even considered admitting that he was also Clark Kent￼.
Bendis is a smart guy, though, he’s factored this in, if I’m correctly reading the powerful penultimate page.
Lex Luthor hears the news and immediately drops his ridiculous new appearance￼, using his recently gained Martian shape-shifting powers to look like his original self, not the lackey to a mad god in DC’s current crossover, but the criminal genius we all love. The proverbial *#$% is going to hit the fan.
Speaking of which…
Nah, that’s not how Adam Strange speaks – he’s a total square. So square he’d use the word ‘square’. Adam shouldn’t cuss for the sake of a gag, and Bendis is smart enough to have come up with something better had he thought for a few minutes more. It’s no biggie, but did jar a little.
Things I did like include a tweak as to why Clark took a job in the regular world, the wordless reveal to Perry, Superman solving a typical Gotham crime in a single panel and Wonder Woman’s expression as she watches the press conference.
The embodiment of Truth seems less that delighted that Superman is no longer ‘lying’… I can only guess she worries for Lois and Superman’s other unpowered loved ones.
It’s a nice detail from penciller Ivan Reis, inker Joe Prado and colourist Alex Sinclair, as is Lois watching Clark in the background of the Daily Planet city room. The team do a fine job with the other environments this issue, too, whether it be lush Thanagar or the press-filled plaza outside the Daily Planet. The compositions￼ are also commendable, working to tell the story while giving us such standout images as that down-shot of Superman and Adam Strange. Crucially, they nail the emotions – it’s fair to say this is a pretty conflicted Kryptonian, he only looks truly at ease as he’s introducing himself, once more, to the world. In the scenes around it, he looks unconvinced, as if he thinks he’s doing the right thing, but isn’t actually doing what’s right for him. Time will tell.