DC Comics kicks off new year with cross-over event “Superman Reborn”

"Superman Reborn" is a fascinating and well-designed look at post-Crisis Superman and his rivals

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DC Comics kicks off new year with cross-over event “Superman Reborn”

Christian A. Ramos/Scottsdale Chronicle

Christian A. Ramos/Scottsdale Chronicle

Christian A. Ramos/Scottsdale Chronicle

Christian A. Ramos, Feature Editor, Scottsdale Chronicle

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“Superman Reborn”, the first mini-series cross-over event between Action Comics and Superman comics, will be the first story to explore the secrets surrounding post-Crisis Superman as well as the DC Rebirth Universe.

The tone of the story starts off immediately with an unknown prisoner of the mysterious Mr. Oz escaping, and a glimpse of those he still has held captive. Two Superman villains, Doomsday and Prophecy, who vanished in an “aura of energy” after being defeated in Superman #16. The last prisoner is Red Robin, Tim Drake, who was believed to be dead since Detective Comics #940.

The strong dynamic between writer Peter J. Tamosi and artist Patrick Gleason is seen right away with how Gleason picks up the tone with his art. For example, the first depiction of Mr. Oz on the second page shows him wearing a hood, his face concealed in shadow, with one eye gleaming like a red star.  Perhaps the illustration of the eye looking like a star is a play on one of Superman’s weaknesses, which is a red sun.

Why Mr. Oz has kidnapped these particular characters has yet to be revealed, but there have been many rumors about the real identity of the robed figure, such as speculation that he is actually Ozymandias from Watchmen. Tomasi gives no hints regarding this or any of the other rumors by the end of Superman #18, only more questions, like who was locked away and strong enough to break out of a stone building that served as a prison

Before diving more into the escape, the next page brings the reader to the home of the Kents.

Tomasi knows how to bring his characters to life on paper and has a good sense of the love that bonds a family.  The Kents are first shown as a whole family, celebrating Clark and Lois’ anniversary, and the affection these two long-time lovers have for one another is depicted through the shared love that they have for their son, Jon.  Gleason’s artwork highlights on this on specific panels where Clark and Lois pull in Jon for an embrace and the house is taken away, replaced with a white background instead.  This hones in on the family and allows the reader to feel how the Kents feel: that they are the only ones in the world.

The story’s climax hits when a strange present is left by the New 52 Clark Kent, another piece to the enigma surrounding the Man of Steel.  The present is a photo album with pictures of Clark and Lois’ post-Crisis life, memories that hold the essence of Superman: friendship, hard work and legacy.

The climax leads to a gripping moment where post-Crisis Superman is holding Jon, who is being disintegrated by what appears to be white flames, while the super son is begging his father to not let him go.

“I won’t, son. Never,” The Man of Steel vows.

Gleason’s artwork capturing the pain in both Clark’s and Lois’ eyes when the promise is broken drives home the emotional ending Tamosi delivers in “Superman Reborn: Part One.”

“Superman Reborn: Part Two” hits shelves March 8 in Action Comics.

RATING: 7/10

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