“Superman Reborn” finale brings an end to New 52

The fourth and final installment of "Superman Reborn" is a gripping read


Christian A. Ramos/Scottsdale Chronicle

Pre-Flashpoint and New 52 versions of Lois and Clark merge together, the blast radiating over the DCU.

Christian A. Ramos, Feature Editor, Scottsdale Chronicle

The events that unfold in Action Comics #976, the gripping finale of “Superman Reborn,” effects more then just the Man of Steel, changing the DC Universe.

In 2011, DC’s continuity went through a rewrite known as New 52, with some of DC’s history and many of the well-known super-heroes being drastically changed. Even though the heroes had no memories of the event, readers believed New 52 to be the result of a fractured timeline being put back together by the Flash in Flashpoint.

In May 2016, DC Universe: Rebirth #1, written by Geoff Johns, hit the shelves, surprising many fans of the comic book multiverse, with the return of pre-Flashpoint Clark Kent after the death of New 52 Superman and the appearance of a mysterious Mr. Oz.  The biggest revelation being the supposed ten years taken out of the DC timeline by an outside force, who’s believed to be Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen, causing the New 52 universe and not Flashpoint as previously believed by readers.  

Superman Reborn was marked to explore not only the mysteries surrounding Superman’s life, but also the secrets plaguing the universe.  In Action Comics #975 it was revealed that Mr. Mxyzptlk was disguised as the second Clark Kent, and in Superman #19 this villain hinted that Superman and the DC universe had been split in two.  

Action Comics #976, written by Dan Jurgens, begins where Superman #19 left off, right after red energy had connected with Clark and Lois Kent bringing back their New 52 counterparts. Since these New 52 characters were never together they no longer recognize Jon Kent as their son, adding to the overall tension of the series.  Superman fights for answers, wanting to know who is behind everything, but Mxy would rather escape with Jon before “he” shows up.

“The architect of the all the weirdness,” Mxy tells Superman.

With the help of blue energy beings, Jon fights off Mxyzptlk, but all seems lost for the now parentless super son.  With Jon’s help the blue energy, which seems to be manifestations of pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark, connect with the New 52 versions and the memories of family come flooding back, but that’s not the twist Jurgen’s delivers.

As the four go through the transformation their lives and memories merge together, changing Superman’s continuity. Mr. Oz, who hasn’t made an appearance since Part-One, watches the events unfold, narrating that not only has Superman changed but the universe has also merged around him creating a “timeline and history both familiar and new.”

This means that the history of New 52 and the pre-Flashpoint history have now combined into a new continuity, officially creating the Rebirth Universe. Just how drastic the continuity changes will be, or how they will affect the other heroes of the DCU will be seen in other Rebirth solicitations.

Some of the answers surrounding Mr. Oz’s identity, and the DCU mystery were left unanswered. At the end of the issue Mr. Oz refers a to another powerful force that didn’t believe Superman could fix the DCU.

There’s no revelation as to who Oz and Mxy are talking about, although, the planet Mars being on the last panel of the issue could be a very subtle hint to Dr. Manhattan, since his adapted home was the red planet at the end of Watchmen.

Overall, the finale of Superman Reborn was cataclysmic and radiated with the hero’s main symbol: hope.

Rating 9/10