Ricky Church reviews Superman #18…
“SUPERMAN REBORN” part one! In DC UNIVERSE: REBIRTH #1, the enigmatic Mr. Oz told this 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.
SEE ALSO: Read a preview of Superman #18 here
Ever since last year’s excellent DC Universe Rebirth special, there’s been a lot of speculation over what Superman, the one who existed before The New 52, was told by the mysterious Mr. Oz: “You and your family are not what you believe you are. And neither was the fallen Superman.” Among the many mysteries of the special, that was a glaring one which only grew with the arrival of a powerless Clark Kent in the pages of Action Comics.
Now writers Peter J. Tomasi and Dan Jurgens will pull back the layers of these mysteries in the first Superman/Action Comics crossover ‘Superman Reborn’ and Superman #18 delivers the first chapter of this new tale. Everything they’ve both been doing, particularly Jurgens in Action, is seeming to get a great payoff as this issue delivers an emotional story that elevates the mystery and threat of the other Clark Kent.
Tomasi and artist Patrick Gleason capture the happiness of the Kent family in a great, heart-warming way. Their chemistry works very well and shows yet again how much the young Jonathon Kent adds to Superman’s world. It simply helps build to the tragedy as Jon is seemingly erased out of existence before their eyes. Though we know this is not really the case thanks to solicits for future issues, not to mention the fact Super Sons just started, it nevertheless deals an emotional gut punch with Tomasi’s writing and Gleason’s artwork.
The other Clark Kent has seemed somewhat creepy before, but now he appears downright villainous and threatening with the way Gleason composes his body language and facial work. If he is the cause of Jon’s disappearance, he’s shown just how much he can hurt Superman without even speaking to or touching him, something very few Superman villains have been able to accomplish.
I’ve already mentioned how good Gleason’s artwork is as he captured the character’s emotions, but his artwork is complimented by John Kalisz’s use of colours. Superman #18 has a bright, vibrant look during the family’s celebration, but the scene’s featuring Mr. Oz and other Clark are dark, brooding and mysterious, offering a sense of foreboding that continues as everything Superman and Lois have built in this life gets taken from them. Mike Gray’s inks also help Gleason’s art emphasize the emotional and tense nature of the story.
‘Superman: Reborn’ is off to the right start as it kicks up the emotion with a tense plot. The mystery around Mr. Oz and the other Clark is heightened, as is their threat level, but could other Clark be responsible or is their something else amiss? Tomasi and Gleason’s Superman #18 asks the right questions and it will be interesting to see this unfold in the next few weeks. ‘Superman: Reborn’ continues with the anniversary issue Action Comic #975 next week.