Review: Superman: Rebirth #1

June 6th, 2016 | by Kyle King
Review: Superman: Rebirth #1
Comics
14
Price:
Strong

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On June 6, 2016
Last modified:June 6, 2016

Summary:

This DC Comics one-shot summarized a complex past and conveyed a simple and essential premise.

Superman: Rebirth #1 was released last Wednesday, marking the ascension of the pre-Flashpoint Last Son of Krypton as the official Man of Steel of the ongoing New 52 continuity. Storytellers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason teamed up to pen an important introductory tale, which ComiConverse’s Superman writer, T. Kyle King, is here to review.

Penciller Doug Mahnke, inker Jaime Mendoza, colorist Wil Quintana, and letterer Rob Leigh combined to provide the visuals for Tomasi’s and Gleason’s straightforward story, but has the stage adequately been set for the dramatic changes to the Man of Tomorrow?

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

Synopsis:

Shortly after the death of Clark Kent, Clark White pays a late-night visit to Metropolis, where this Earth’s Superman has been buried. While there, he discovers Lana Lang attempting to gain entry to the crypt so she can make good on her promise to bury her old friend in Smallville. Telling Lana of his own death and subsequent resurrection, Superman lets her know that he believes this world’s Action Ace could be brought back to life, as well.

Lana guides the bearded hero to the Fortress of Solitude, where his search for a Kryptonian regeneration matrix proves fruitless. Unable to aid in restoring Kent, White takes Lang to the cemetery in her Kansas hometown. While Lana sets about digging a grave for the Metropolis Marvel she knew, the once and future Superman returns to the Arctic to pay his own tribute to the fallen champion.

Superman: Rebirth #1

Credit: DC Comics

Analysis:

Some of the best Superman stories also are some of the most simple. The Last Days of Superman and All-Star Superman both attempt to answer the question, “What would the Man of Steel do if he knew he had only a short time left to live?” Dear Superman and Fortress from Adventures of Superman cut right to the heart of the character. In its best moments, Superman: Rebirth #1 is like that.

Under the circumstances, this is a bit of a challenge. At one point, Lana asks Superman, “You’re about to say something that’s going to make my head hurt, aren’t you?” This issue necessarily is unusually heavy on the backstory, recapping both Tomasi’s The Final Days of Superman and Dan Jurgens’s The Death of Superman in overlapping fashion. Intricate exposition was inherent in the essence of Superman: Rebirth #1.

Story continues below

Nevertheless, Tomasi and Gleason succeeded in cutting through the complexities to get at the fundamentals that united the two Supermen to have served as the DC Universe’s flagship hero in the 30 years since Crisis on Infinite Earths. The writers succeeded in this endeavor partly because the determined but deeply conflicted Lana Lang was well suited to the task of easing readers through the transition.

Lana’s emotional devotion is exposed when she sees Clark White in the shadows and happily mistakes him for Clark Kent. She is not so impassioned that it makes her irrational, however; only two pages after exclaiming, “Clark! You’re alive!”, she declares with certainty that “Clark is dead.” Indeed, the initial presentation of Lana as a scientifically minded adventurer skulking about in the darkness casts her in a Dana Scully-like role, positioning her perfectly to give the “Mulder, you can’t be serious”-style responses Superman’s revelations apparently deserve.

Superman: Rebirth #1

Credit: DC Comics

There is, of course, a longstanding tension between Lana Lang and Lois Lane, one that Tomasi infamously was at fault for exacerbating, so the authors’ selection of Lana could be misconstrued as a jab at Lois, given DC Comics’ unfortunate recent treatment of the literal first lady of superhero comics. Superman: Rebirth #1 does no disservice to Lois, though, as it highlights specifically and favorably her crucial role in the Man of Steel’s last clash with Doomsday. Since Lana is being billed as the “friend and confidant” to Lois in her starring role in Superwoman, this issue served the salutary purpose of dialing down the unproductive animosity between Clark Kent’s Smallville friend and his Daily Planet colleague.

What really was required to make this story work, though, were a pair of sympathetic Supermen, one living and one dead. The first page of Superman: Rebirth #1 neatly summarizes recent developments in arcs spread across five different books, and it opens with three sentences that unite the hero Jurgens resurrected and the hero Tomasi sacrificed: “‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ I live and breathe that quote with all my heart. I bet you did, too.”

Those are the words of the pre-Flashpoint Man of Steel, directed to the New 52 successor he never truly knew, but his introspection is interrupted when he hears footsteps in the underground access tunnel leading to the burial vault. Although the need to protect the safety of his wife and son dictates that he speak cryptically to Lana, Clark speaks resolutely with the voice of the Superman we know, communicating with confidence, compassion, conviction, and caring.

Superman: Rebirth #1

Credit: DC Comics

More than the ordinary suspension of disbelief is necessary to accept the notion that the older Superman has been lurking in the background all this time, but, given the requisite stretching, Clark White’s rationale for respecting the privacy of Clark Kent’s Fortress of Solitude is convincing. He enters the Arctic hideaway at Lana’s urging — after she declares, a la Marion Ravenwood, that now they are partners — and, after noticing a subtle difference, he commemorates the passing of this Earth’s Superman with a suitable tribute and ends the issue with the words that leave us ready for him to don the cape once more.

While the visuals in Superman: Rebirth #1 are solid rather than superb, the artistic team credibly recreated the genuinely iconic images of Superman’s epic clash with Doomsday and effectively portrayed present events in multiple settings involving minimal action. Mahnke’s facial expressions were sometimes wooden and Mendoza’s inks occasionally were heavy, but, overall, the graphics were good, even if they fell a little short of outstanding.

Superman: Rebirth #1 may have been based on a convoluted history, but it conveyed a simple premise, and it did so with a fair degree of eloquence and even elegance. Getting from one Superman to another without a true reboot is no easy task, but this issue did it well. Although this story is not apt to become an all-time classic, it accomplished its goal and established a proper tone.

Let us know what you thought of Superman: Rebirth #1 by adding your voice to the ComiConversation in the comments!

 

Story continues below

T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.

This DC Comics one-shot summarized a complex past and conveyed a simple and essential premise.

(Visited 1,099 times, 1 visits today)

14 Comments

  1. look here says:

    I simply want to mention I’m newbie to blogging and honestly liked you’re web site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog post . You certainly come with incredible well written articles. Thanks a lot for sharing with us your web-site.

  2. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  3. I concur along with your conclusions and can eagerly watch forward to your future updates. The usefulness and significance has me overwhelmed and contains been invaluable to my opinion!

  4. Sports says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  5. I have been reading out a few of your articles and it’s pretty clever stuff. I will make sure to bookmark your website.

  6. whoah this blog is wonderful i really like reading your articles. Stay up the great work! You already know, lots of people are searching round for this information, you can help them greatly.

  7. Business says:

    I like this web blog so much, saved to favorites. “Respect for the fragility and importance of an individual life is still the mark of an educated man.” by Norman Cousins.

  8. It really is most suitable opportunity to produce some plans for the upcoming. I have scan this posting and if I may, I desire to recommend you some interesting assistance.

  9. What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of precious knowledge about unexpected emotions.

  10. Automotive says:

    I think you have noted some very interesting details , thanks for the post.

  11. Law & Legal says:

    I’m still learning from you, while I’m trying to achieve my goals. I certainly liked reading everything that is posted on your blog.Keep the information coming. I loved it!

  12. imsc seo says:

    IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  13. Woman says:

    Excellent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear concept

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This