The Life (and Days) of Superman: The Road to “Rebirth”
The Man of Steel faces his own mortality in a race towards a publishing wide DC Comics imprint “Rebirth”.
Superman is dying…and there’s no escaping his fate!
For more than 75 years Superman has stood as the unparalleled most powerful being in the DC Comics universe (give or take the unexpected immovable force, megalomaniac or two) but as the Man of Steel’s storyline spirals headlong into the midst of “Rebirth” this spring, the Man of Tomorrow will be facing his own mortality in the most unexpected and unconventional arc of his career yet. As the imprint prepares for the latest publishing-wide special event of the season “The Final Days of Superman” are being explored across the hero’s multiple titles.
With the advent of most major titles including Superman and Action Comics about to strike their respective issue #52, the entire line of DC Comics will soon be revamped, and as Creative Director Geoff Johns described “the dawn of a brand-new era of DC Comics adventures” is about to begin. For Superman it’s been a treacherously exhaustive couple of months. The Earth’s most able champion was doused by the unpredictable energies inside the fire pits of Apokolips, faced the villainous Vandal Savage inside the A.R.G.U.S. kryptonite chamber and battled the otherworldly Rao.
These three events contributed to the perfect storm, ultimately compromising the Last Son of Krypton’s constitution at the genetic level, and causing the unthinkable and yet inevitable: Superman is dying. In the first chapter of “The Final Days of Superman” arc published in Superman #51 and written by Peter J. Tomasi the premiere comic book writer has the Man of Steel begin to take the first steps to insure that his legacy will continue. Clark is especially concerned that after he is gone there will no longer be a “super-man” around to protect the innocent.
The legendary John Romita Jr. delivers on this iconic cover detailing “The Final Days of Superman” in the dynamic duo’s own title.
Tomasi has also made it of particular importance to the character that Superman and Clark Kent’s personal story does not go forgotten and he seeks out Lois Lane, who only recently was responsible for revealing to the world Superman’s secret dual identity of Clark Kent. Unlike Superman’s once historic confrontation against Doomsday and the brutal battle that ended him that time, this time around it would appear that Clark can’t escape the cellular degradation that is threatening his life. Upon seeking the help of his fellow Justice Leaguer Batman in Gotham City, Superman refuses the Dark Knight’s help.
Instead, in the second part of the story appearing in Batman/Superman #31 also written by Tomasi, Superman asks his friend to help him locate the now missing Maid of Steel Supergirl who he intends to leave in charge of defending the planet once he’s gone. The two heroes are attacked by the mystically charged embodiment of Chinese Zodiac dispatched by the mysterious Doctor Omen who is gathering genetic information on the Man of Steel, though to what end no one is clearly certain. Locating his cousin, Superman frees Supergirl from the D.E.O. (Department of Extra-Normal Operations).
Inside Action Comics #51 he learns that Kara’s visit to National City and her incarceration at the D.E.O is entirely voluntary especially after she also succumbs to some power fluctuations of her own. It appears that Vandal Savage’s attack on Superman had an affect on her as well leaving Supergirl vulnerable. She came to National City at the invite of the D.E.O. who promised to help her sort out her issues. Instead after she learns of her cousin’s fatal situation she goes with him to his Fortress of Solitude to continue the work he has already started as the supreme protector on the planet.
They are both surprised by the arrival of the Amazon Queen and Superman’s former paramour Wonder Woman and unbeknownst to any of our heroes, there is a stranger exhibiting some incredible powers entering into the Daily Planet claiming to be Superman and leaving a wake of destruction in his path! “The Final Days of Superman” are chronicled up until the launch of Rebirth #1 which will then continue with the renumbering of all the Superman titles with the exception of Action Comics which will reset to its original #957 and will be published twice a month!
With the magnitude of such a huge event taking place — and including the impending publication of the #1000 issue of Action Comics — Superman fans are in for quite an unprecedented shake-up that will undoubtedly have repercussions across the line. The publishing imprint is promising that in the wake of this history-making leap Superman will emerge stronger, faster and more powerful than a locomotive — and he’ll have a whole lot of help coming his way.
• This feature premiered on the DCComicsNews.com network as contributed by myself.