Superman: Reborn works some major changes to the Man of Steel’s status quo for the Rebirth era, re-writing a decent chunk of DC’s recent history in the process.
First, Superman tries to help Superwoman, a/k/a childhood pal Lana Lang, who’s in danger of being consumed by the energies she absorbed when the New 52 Superman died. While her husband sees to that situation, Lois Lane tries to unravel the mystery of the faux Clark Kent who showed up in the earliest days of Rebirth. Faux Clark’s real identity sparks a desperate confrontation with a powerful old enemy, who had been a prisoner of the mysterious Mr. Oz and unwittingly interfaced with the bigger mysteries behind Rebirth. With the very existence of their son Jon at stake, Superman and Lois have to embrace a new path that ushers in substantial change, in the process rewriting the New 52 era of the characters.
Reborn is an apt representation of the larger DC saga from which it derives its name. The story manages to restore many of the post-Crisis aspects of the Superman franchise that fans most loved, without entirely jettisoning the New 52 era. Instead, the story repositions the Man of Steel for the period ahead, focusing on key aspects of decades of publishing history that most attracts fans. Key to the plot is the focus on the Superman/Lois Lane relationship and how it incorporates their fan favorite son into the mythos in a sensible fashion. For Fans of DC’s larger umbrella story, there are plenty of clues and tidbits to pore over, as the company moves toward the Doomsday Clock saga.
What will most engage fans is the significant changes to the Superman status quo the story works. While not a complete restoration of the post-Crisis versions of the characters, a lot of that sensibility is on display in the “remixed” Superman family. The echoes hinted at in this tale have started showing up in other series, too, indicating just how far-reaching the impact of this tale are.
As is usual for DC’s highest profile books these days, Reborn is a team effort, with a few well-known writers and a larger collection of fan favorite artists contributing to the effort. It’s all well done and professional, and good editing maintains the flow, even when the differing styles at work become more obvious. It’s the opposite of the “auteur” approach and the lack of a consistent visual identity can be a minor distraction, but overall the results are solid and entertaining.
For lapsed fans, Superman: Reborn is a good re-entry point and a crucial piece of the larger DC Universe saga going forward.