Review: Superman #18

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writers: Peter J. Tomasi  & Patrick Gleason
Art
: Patrick Gleason & Mick Gray

Summary
This first installment of Superman: Reborn opens in the otherworldly home of the mysterious Mister Oz. The prisoners that he has captured, including Red Robin and Doomsday, are laughing at Oz because one of his prisoners has escaped. Oz examines the cell of the escaped prisoner to find the missing prisoner has scrawled “Superman will save me,” “Superman where are you,” and multiple drawings related to Superman such as the S-Shield and Clark’s glasses.

Next, we see the Smith family celebrating Lois and Clark’s wedding anniversary with cake and presents. After blowing out the candles, the doorbell rings and Jon goes to answer.

Opening the door, Jon discovers a book left on the doorstep. He looks up to see a man walking away. When Jon calls out to him, he turns and we see that he is Clark Kent – the mysterious Clark that has taken over the New 52 Superman’s civilian life in recent issues of Action Comics and Superman.

Krypto rushes towards to confront this Clark, barking and growling, which alerts Superman and Lois to his presence, but by the time they get outside to Jon, the other Clark has disappeared.

Examining the book, they find it is a photo album of Clark’s life. Ma and Pa Kent and Kent ancestors, Clark’s childhood and teen years. his career at the Daily Planet, his career as Superman, his and Lois’ wedding, and the birth of their son Jon.

They have little time to ponder this, as they notice that a white smokeless fire has started in their house – a fire Clark is unable to put out. The fire eats away the house as if it’s being erased.

Clark tells Lois and Jon to get out of the house before it spreads, but it is too late – Jon has been engulfed in the flames. Clark tries to grab his son, but he disappears and reappears elsewhere in the house. Finally, Superman wraps Jon in his cape, and carries Jon out of the house.

Unfortunately, the flames cause Jon to disappear entirely, along with their house. Looking in the photo album, they see that all the pictures have gone blank, signifying that Superman’s entire life has been taken away.

Clark tells Lois, “We didn’t lose Jon. That Clark Kent took him… and we’re going to make him give Jon Back!”

Positives
The presence of Mister Oz and his prisoners clue us in that this story is tied into the overarching mystery in the Rebirth line of titles. Perhaps we will get some revelations or at least hints about what is going on.

And who is the prisoner that escaped from Mister Oz? It seems this person is tied to Superman and knows his secret identity. Is it the doppelganger Clark, or some other being that is about to put in an appearance? I can hardly make myself wait patiently for the next part of Superman: Reborn.

Negatives
The only negative I can see is the maddening wait until the next part. At least we only have to wait a week between installments, rather than a month, which is more typical for multi-part comic stories.

Verdict
This title has focused on Superman’s family, and now it’s his family that is threatened. His life has been taken, but more importantly, so has his son. The stakes are higher than they’ve ever been, with Jon’s life on the line. This promises to be a defining story in Superman’s life.

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.