Superman (vol.4) #18 (May, 2017)
“Superman Reborn, Part One”
Story – Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Pencils – Patrick Gleason
Inks – Mick Gray
Colors – John Kalisz
Letters – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Andres Merino
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Special Thanks – Dan Jurgens
Cover Price: $2.99
I was working my way through my library, looking for a way to buy some time before getting into our third annual Twelve Days of Christmas on Infinite Earths, when I came across Superman Reborn. Well, parts Two and Four of Superman Reborn… had to bobble some boxes to find the other two.
Haven’t read ’em since the day they came out… and, quite honestly, I can barely even remember most of it. The only thing I do remember, is that I was riveted, and couldn’t wait for each chapter to arrive! So hey, why not give it a whirl here over the next few days and see how it reads now?
An aside, and something that comic fans in particular might appreciate. I just recently relocated all of my longboxes to a corner of the house… this way, when we have holiday visitors they’re not stepping/tripping over my obsessive obstacle course on their way in. So, yeah… everything is neatly stuffed out of sight… and that’s when I realized…
… oh yeah, Twelve Days is coming up… and I’m going to have to rifle through ’em all over again. Only now, in a much more cramped space!
Oh well, such is the life of a
n idiot comic blogger.
We open with flashes of energy, and settle on Mr. Oz’s prison palace, or whatever it was (this really feels like it happened at least five years ago at this point). Prisoner, Red Robin gleefully exclaims that “someone got out!”. The enigmatic Mr. Oz approaches a wall… or monolith… or something. On it, several pleas for help have been scrawled for Superman.
Elsewhere, Hamilton County to be precise, we join the “Smith” family, as Clark and Lois are about to celebrate their anniversary. Young Jon gives his folks gifts… a journal for his mother to write all about their recent adventures, and a Farmer’s Almanac for his father… your hear about something like a “Farmer’s Almanac” and it sounds like such a relic… then you realize you can grab the 2019 edition right here! That’s wild.
All three “Smiths” blow out the candles on the anniversary cake, then suddenly… the doorbell rings. Jon rushes to the door, only to discover… his father walking away?! Krypto runs up too… but the fake Clark Kent manages to sooth him before getting all bit-up.
Clark, the real one, Supes up, and flies out to see what’s up. By now the other Clark has left. He did leave something, however… a gift for the “Smiths”… in the form of, a Kent Family photo album?!
Lois opens it… and inside there are photos of their entire history! Ma and Pa, Lana, the Planet, a bit of the cover to Action Comics #1. The only thing missing from these photos… is Jon.
The walk down memory lane is interrupted by… a fire! It looks like their kitchen is burning up. Superman goes to put it out… only to find out that it’s not really fire. There’s no smoke, and it isn’t actually burning anything up. Instead, it appears to be “erasing” things…
… things that “don’t belong” perhaps… and that includes Jon!
Superman rushes in to grab his son… however, he (Jon) keeps blinking in and out of sight. He reappears in the basement, upstairs, all ova da place. Superman is finally able to nab him… he wraps the boy in his cape, and dives out of the house. It’s too late, though… Jon disappears from existence! Oh, their house does too… but, Jon’s the important thing.
We wrap up with Lois and Clark in front of the empty lot they used to live on… with the photo album. All of the photos have been erased… and we’re off to the races!
Alrighty… heckuva opening chapter.
Gotta say though, before we go any deeper… this feels like it happened sooooo long ago. I mean, it’s been a year and a half (give or take) as of this writing… but it feels just so far removed from where things are now. In these semi-early days of Rebirth, everything still felt so new… so exciting and optimistic. We had so many questions we wanted answers to… and the way we were getting our information in drips and drabs was quite well done (for the most part).
Now… just a year and a half later? It feels like we’re spinning our wheels waiting for the next “event” while the current “event” issues take their sweet time hitting the shelves. This kind of excitement and optimism is woefully lacking… it’s frustrating, but it is what it is. Man, what a difference a year makes!
But this isn’t a discussion of late 2018 (DC) Comics, so let’s talk about the first part of Superman Reborn. This had been brewing for awhile, the mysteries of the second Clark Kent… the identity of Mr. Oz (which wouldn’t be revealed until the next Superman crossover)… there was just a lot going on. We had the Kents posing as the “Smith” family, which felt a bit nebulous… but, necessary for the ultimate pay-off.
What we get here… is, kinda “blink and ya miss it”. The entire issue took maybe five minutes to read, which… I mean, it’s just the way comics are written anymore. The thing about this issue was, I actually enjoyed those five minutes spent! I do wish we’d get a bit more to sink our teeth into, but we do get from Point A to Point B in a pretty satisfying way.
Overall… a breezy read, one that I’d encourage you to check out in collected edition if you’re so inclined. The art is wonderful, and the Smith family dynamic is a hoot.