It’s no secret that one of the biggest missteps of The New 52 was the handling of Superman. The creative teams were never really stable. So we would get wildly different tones for the most iconic superhero ever. So as The New 52 was winding down, things started to become more clear. The Superman from before The New 52 had returned and he was living a secluded life with Lois Lane and a young son, Jonathan Kent. The young Superman from The New 52 had become overtaxed during the months that it eventually caught up to him and he died. This was actually a clever use of continuity as during the various books Superman was appearing in, he kept getting exposed to various foreign energies and so his body suffered. It was a tragic end to this Superman but it showed that not all superheroes are going to get a glorious and satisfying end.
But now the older Superman has taken up the mantle of Superman once again after some hesitance. This has marked a unique niche for Superman as he is now a family man himself. In fact, his young son refers to him as “Pa”. So now Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman not only has to worry about himself but worry about how his role as Superman is going to affect his family especially his son. This is something you can assume is the worry of a cop or firefighter or soldier who has to put their lives on the line every day. Not knowing if they’re going to die that one time they go out to do something heroic.
Superman also has the added wrinkle of dealing with his son who is half Kryptonian/half human. Since Jonathan is still a young child and half breed, it is not fully known as to how his powers will develop. But that seemingly part of the fun as Clark not knows what his own adoptive parents had to go through with him. During the two Superman books, this aspect is really highlighted and the focus of the books. Two separate enemies have come for Kryptonians and that includes young Jon. So we see Superman have to worry not only about himself but that of his family including Lois who will die before anyone hurts her son. We also see what kind of father Superman is. Stern but fair. He will listen to his son and be gentle…to a point. We see him be blunt about the responsibility his son will have to face in the future.
The other aspect of this is how this Superman is from a different timeline. He has already had a life full of adventure and wonder. But now he is replacing his younger counterpart and it’s a role he is cautious about. Cautious because he does not want to trample over the legacy that the younger Superman created for himself. This has also affected the way that the other heroes, especially Batman see him. They know that they can trust him but also are wary of him as this Superman knows a lot more about the heroes (to an extent) than they might do themselves. It will be interesting to see how this Superman carves his place in this world, not only to the people but to his fellow superheroes.
It’s really a good time to be a Superman fan. We’re getting more of the classic Superman that had been missing since The New 52 began. We also get a more seasoned and weathered Superman with a family so now he seems more cautious about the things he has to do. In a recent issue of Justice League, the world is at stake (when is it not) and Superman is sent on a near suicidal mission to the center of the Earth. But before going, he meets with his family and Lois threatens Batman if something happens to her husband. The conversation that Superman has with his family is not heard so we’re just left to wonder but it must have been poignant.
If you have not checked out DC Rebirth, it is highly recommended. Superman currently stars in Action Comics, Superman, Justice League and the upcoming Trinity book.