Superman (vol.4) #17 (May, 2017)
“Superman Reborn, Part Three: Don’t Pass Go”
Story – Peter J. Tomasi & Patrick Gleason
Pencils – Patrick Gleason
Inks – Mick Gray
Colors – John Kalisz
Letters – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Andrew Merino
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Special Thanks – Dan Jurgens
Cover Price: $2.99
So yesterday, I discussed how the “professional” comics reviewers spoiled the Mr. Mxyzptlk reveal, right? Well, guess what? The following week, the jerks spoiled the last page of this one too!
Ya know, I don’t wanna tell DC to quit handing out comps so willy-nilly… but, maybe penalize the jagoffs that go out of their way to show how special/important they are, and ruin the experience for everyone else. Nahhhh, I guess so long as they rate everything 10 outta 10 they’re safe!
We pick up right from the previous chapter… Lois no longer knows who Jon is. What’s more, she also doesn’t appear to know that Superman and Clark Kent are one in the same! A frustrated Superman calls out to Mxyzptlk, demanding to know what kind of “game” he’s playing… and also why he’s currently glowing with a blueish aura. We’ll get to it…
… but first, Mxy decides to strip away all of the rules of physics, gravity and reality. As everything goes wonky, the imp shares that, regardless of which reality, Lois and Clark are invariably connected. He finds it gross… which, I suppose he would!
Then… things get weird-er. Mxyzptlk reveals that at some point there was a split… leading to two Supermen, and two Lois’s’s’s. I’m still not sure how I feel about this concept, but we’ll play along for now. Anyhoo, the other, that is the New-52! Superman exploded into red energy right before Rebirth hit.
Superman and Lois are escorted to a floating Daily Planet Building that stretches way up into the cosmos. Mxy refers to it as the Infinite Planet, and offers up a challenge. Ya see, young Jon Kent is currently up inside the Planet’s globe… if Superman can beat the imp up there, he can have his boy back. However, if he can’t, Jon will remain in the Fifth Dimension forever, and Superman and Lois will be lost and forgotten.
Meanwhile, inside the Infinite Planet globe, Jon Kent is chatting up a pair of glowing balls of red energy. They reveal themselves as being the New-52! Superman and Lois. They’re the same as his parents… only different, ya dig?
Back to the race… which is depicted as being run on an actual game board… which makes for a neat splash page, if nothing else. Mxyzptlk sings a song… which, for whatever reason, convinces him that he’ll win the race? I dunno… these beats are kinda missing the mark for me. Trying to be a bit too “out there” and esoteric… but, I mean, we’re dealing with a race to the top of a building…
… which Superman and Lois still win, by… I dunno… telling themselves that they still exist?
Anyhoo, Mxyzptlk feels like this is cheating, and calls them out on it. Meanwhile, Jon (who can hear all of this going down) pleads with the red energy to help his folks.
Outside, Mxy’s had about enough of the fun ‘n games, and decides to move on to the conclusion… he tells Superman to forget. Forget about his son, hell, maybe forget about everything. And… he begins to do just that!
Suddenly, when all hope (and memory) looks to be lost, the Infinite Planet globe explodes in a brilliant red flash.
We wrap up the chapter with a high-collared, very New-52! looking, Superman holding his wife and son!
So, yeah… Superman-Red and Superman-Blue.
I dunno about you all, but… I didn’t have much of a problem with the way things were set up with the Supermen post-Convergence. I was cool with the idea that the real Superman was hanging in the background, while the new, young, brash hip-for-the-kids Superman was “the guy” for a little while.
I feel like this “split into two” concept really just complicates things. Seems like anytime we have the option to keep things simple, or add a bunch of confusing layers… we always get the latter. I guess I just don’t understand what merging the real Superman and the New-52! one really does for anyone. I mean, the New-52! series’… ya know, kinda undelivered… outside of the “unmasking” I can’t recall a whole heckuva lot from ’em.
As for the issue itself… it, like the other chapters, is breezy. For dropping so much information, it’s still kinda light on actual story. Hell, we could’a (should’a?) deep-sixed that overlong back-up in Action #975, and just added this chapter there. Really, this whole story should’ve been dropped in an Annual or Special.
Overall… it’s an important issue, though a bit confusing at times. Good thing this is yet another five-minute read, so it won’t take you too long to give it a second (or third) look if you need to. Worth a look… in collected edition.