Written by: Peter J. Tomasi
Art by: Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza
**WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD
This is the story of how Superman died and a world with a new Superman is born. Sound familiar? Maybe it is a little like the old Death of Superman arc and maybe it isn’t. In Superman: Rebirth #1, written by Peter Tomasi and illustrated by Jaime Mendoza and Doug Mahki readers will see pre-Flashpoint Superman decide to take on the Superman mantle of this reality and protect the world. The comic starts with a depressing and serious tone. We see two Supermans fighting to save the planet, but the New 52 Superman, from this reality gets burned to crisp and the pre-Flashpoint Superman lives.
Following these events, we see Lana Lang in crypt of the fallen New 52 Superman. Behind her approaches the alternate universe Superman who tries to comfort Lana and tells her he believes he will return. This a very touching scene and you can see that alternate universe Superman is dealing with the guilt of how he watched this universe’s Superman die and you also see and feel the grief of Ms. Lang. Pre-Flashpoint Superman says that he thinks he knows of a way to resurrect Clark Kent, but he needs a Kryptonian artifact.
Pre-Flashpoint Superman thinks the artifact of this earth maybe in New 52 Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Lana says she knows where the secret hideout is and both agree to go looking for the artifact there. This next panel is very interesting and I think sets up the series. Pre-Flashpoint Superman asks if the artifact is present in the fortress and the computer states it is not. Suddenly, he looks at a statue this world’s Superman had made. The statue shows his Kryptonian parents and Earth parents holding the world. It is at this moment, the alternative universe Superman has a change inside him. He realizes that Superman stood for more than just a man who saves the world, but he represents bringing every being together with hope and the prospect of universal peace.
Its in these very touching scenes, alternate universe Superman starts to become apart of this world. He offers to help bury Superman’s ashes in Smallville with Lana Lang. He also decides to go back to the Fortress of Solitude and honors Clark by changing the statue to show Clark with his Earth parents holding the globe. I think there are two interpretations of this. One being Pre-Flashpoint Superman has decided he can’t resurrect Superman and will instead make this world his own while also dealing with Clark’s death and honoring him by taking over his duties as the new Superman.
I hope to see New 52 Superman come back, but I think having the older, original Superman take over is a nice twist. I think in coming issues we will really learn what Rebirth actually means and what it means for the mantle of Superman. Superman: Rebirth does has its flaws as it suffers from a lack of new content as a lot of this issue is a rehash of previous events. I felt maybe five pages of flashbacks to Flashpoint was a bit much and current fans of Superman deserved a little more of a look into the future. More characters showing up would have been a nice additional teaser in the comic. That being said for the most part Superman: Rebirth #1 does its job extremely well, setting up the story with intense emotions and reminding us all what the S stands for.