Superman: Rebirth #1 Review


Superman: Rebirth #1 is the starting inquiry into what exactly happened to the pre-Flashpoint Superman.

Storytellers: Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason / Penciller: Doug Mahnke / Inker: Jaime Mendoza / Colorist: Wil Quintana / Letterer: Rob Leigh / Cover: Mahnke Mendoza and Quintana / Variant Cover: Andy Park

Writers Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason smoothly segue right into Superman: Rebirth #1—from the “The Final Days of Superman” story arc—by having the pre-Flashpoint Superman theorize that the New 52 Superman will soon resurrected. The optimism that his doppelganger will one day rise again is juxtaposed by Lana Lang’s more dire attitude that the world has lost its greatest hero.

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Superman: Rebirth #1 is very much a single-location issue which has the Man of Steel visiting the tomb of the Superman who had just died. Intercepted by Lana Lang, Superman is interrogated and allowed to tell his side of things. That opportunity allows the reader to glean into DC’s plan of not abandoning the past histories of its characters.

Ever since the start of The New 52 reboot, fans have questioned whether or not the “new” Superman had ever encountered Doomsday. Confirmation of that fact had always been vague. Almost two years ago, DC had a crossover story arc titled “Superman: Doomed!” which saw the Man of Steel contracting a Doomsday virus that soon mutated him into a Superman/Doomsday hybrid called Superdoom.

During those events, Superman never made a reference of ever meeting the Ultimate. Doomsday, in this continuity, was first introduced in the September 2013 “Villains Month” specials. The feedback for “Superman: Doomed!” was quite mixed—some readers thought the new history was intriguing, while others felt the retconned backstory eradicated the richness of Superman’s death in canon. I was in the latter school of thought—it was unnecessary and took away the impact of what happened in the “Death of Superman” story arc.

Well, Geoff Johns’s promise of retaining the optimism and respecting DC’s past history is on full display in this issue. The pre-Flashpoint Superman tells of his knowledge about Doomsday and the events of his death and resurrection (hence his speculation that the New 52 Superman will rise again.)

The art that backs Superman’s recollection is beautiful and the reenactment sort of gave me butterflies. DC could’ve just copied their old panels, but they had the art team of Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, and Wil Quintana reproduce it with their own interpretation. The result was a fresher take—a remake—that completely respected the panels that showed a dying Superman in Lois’s arms.

Much of the art in Superman: Rebirth #1 is quite impressive. Pair that with Tomasi’s and Gleason’s smooth writing and great understanding of the character, and you have one hell of an issue that pays great homage to what came before it. It’s nostalgia at its finest, along with breaking some new ground and making the reader hunger for more. We really want to know where pre-Flashpoint Superman has been. And we’re really hankering to see him back in his red and blues.

More superheroes and comics: Batman: Rebirth #1 Review

Superman: Rebirth #1 follows on Johns’s vow to fans that the old DC is coming back and that nothing will be forgotten. Both Tomasi and Gleason show a keen sense of respecting readers by referencing the old and allowing it to affect the present. With beautifully illustrated art from Mahnke, Mendoza, and Quintana, the reader will be left wanting more. Luckily, DC has made the move to have bi-weekly issues.