Part one of the “Superman Reborn” storyline starts this week. Are we going to get some answers on the mysterious cloaked man named Mr. Oz who is watching Superman? What about the Clark Kent double? We peer inside to answer the question, is it good?
Superman #18 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“SUPERMAN REBORN” part one! In DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1, the enigmatic Mr. Oz told Superman, “You and your family are not what you believe you are. And neither was the fallen Superman.” Now, in the first Rebirth crossover between SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS, the shocking truth behind Oz’s words is revealed. It begins with one of Oz’s prisoners escaping, and ends in a tragic moment for Lois and Superman.
Why does this book matter?
If you’ve been reading DC comics in the last 6 months you’ll note things are starting to fall apart with the time stream. Even in Justice League this week it’s becoming more obvious and one has to wonder if Clark Kent coming from the pre-Flashpoint universe is part of the problem. This issue begins to set up the results of such a paradox!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
You done screwed up Mr. Oz!
The first few pages of this comic will give you chills. Something is coming for Superman and it’s going to wreck his perfect life. Why can’t heroes have it all!? Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason show us a bit more of Mr. Oz, as well as a few of the subjects he has caged up, with an incredible level of scope. Whatever is coming is big and it’s probably very scary. This scene sets up a seemingly perfect anniversary cake Clark, Lois and their son Jon are enjoying, which makes the impending doom all the more dramatic.
Much of this issue, save for the opening pages, is all about Superman and Lois reacting to an unexplainable attack on their home. To explain further would take away from the experience, but let’s say they have good reason to beat Clark Kent to a pulp. Using an old photo album, Tomasi and Gleason begin to establish a possible timeline paradox that’s beginning to affect the characters.
The pencils by Gleason do well to capture the innocent annivesary gift giving scene, but also the epic scene of what Mr. Oz sees in his secret lair. There’s a neat effect used later, a blue fire, that is creepy, strange, and confusing (in a good way) all at once. There’s also a choice blur effect used as Superman goes from street clothes on a couch to full Superman costume in a quick beat.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m not a big fan of how Gleason draws Lois and Jon’s eyes. It’s not every panel either, but there are instances where their eyes are impossibly huge. This may be an attempt to make them seem innocent, but it’s distracting how large they are. Especially when they’re smaller a panel or two later. The eyes get so large at times you’ll wonder if they’re on drugs, or aliens.
Plot wise, this issue doesn’t have a lot to it. Essentially it teases the mysterious man, introduces a photo album that’s a big clue, and then a big unexplained event takes up much of the issue. It’s the type of comic book where it seems to be stretching out its dramatic beat way too long so as to save more storytelling for the next installment (which is Action Comics #975 if you’re keeping track).
Is It Good?
Anyone dying to learn more about Mr. Oz needs to read this issue. Superman #18 not only teases a new threat quite well, but it establishes a very big shift due to Superman not being of this dimension. Readers should also note this should be read before Justice League #16.