Superman has not had the best time in the New 52. Grant Morrison had a pretty great run on Action Comics, but not many people knew how to follow that up and the other title, Superman, managed to have a string of writers that, well, went nowhere. When Morrison’s run ended, they scrambled to figure out what to do with Superman, putting him through various crossovers (like Doomsday) and then revealing his secret identity and reducing his powers in an attempt to revamp him. It didn’t work. On top of that, fans now disliked Lois Lane for revealing his identity, Superboy was dead or gone due to some convoluted mess (don’t ask), and Supergirl was missing.
So how do you not only fix Superman, but the entire Superman family?
Well, first you bring back Supergirl, because there’s a TV show and getting rid of her book was the wrong move anyway (I’ll make another post about DC Rebirth’s great Supergirl book, too). And then you bring in a completely different Super family. A family that is both familiar (it’s the old Lois and Clark) and new (and their son Jon). Because while the New 52 Superman writers were trying their hardest to make Superman a loner (and trucker), Superman is and always has been part of a family.
And the new DC Rebirth made that as explicit as possible that they were a family first.
So now I’m going to do something a bit different: I’m going to skip past the early issues and right to issue #13, the second part of the “Super-Monster” story. Why? Because it perfectly illustrates what makes this book so good.
In the last issue, Lois had decided to accept a job in the local paper in Hamilton County (as well as already filling in for her dead counterpart in the Daily Planet — long story), but her editor was kidnapped...by FRANKENSTEIN! It turned out that, well, her editor wasn’t actually her editor, but really an alien despot wanted by SHADE (the Super-Human Advanced Defense Executive) which Frankenstein works for (I love comics). Which prompts this response:
Yeah. Don’t fuck with Lois Lane, ladies and gentlemen.
Then things get complicated when the Bride of Frankenstein shows up. She used to work for SHADE before quitting and now works as an intergalactic bounty hunter (yes, I would love to read an entire series about her). She wants to bring in the alien despot, too, and she and Frankenstein fight a bit before the despot gets away and they have find him again. And then Lois asks the Bride why she and Frankenstein aren’t together.
After the alien despot is captured again and the adventure concluded, however, Frankenstein does something unexpected.
Yes, Frankenstein just quoted Thomas Wolfe (or possible Taxi Driver). So what does the Bride have to say?
Damn again. This is what makes Tomasi, Gleason, and Mahnke’s Superman such a great book: it highlights the absurd against the mundane. It brings forth everything you expect from comics (killer androids! dinosaur islands!) and then places them firmly in the context of family. This is what it means to be a family or, in Frankenstein’s case, a broken family. God’s lonely man.
But just so we don’t end on a super depressing note, we have two more pages.
And that’s what makes Superman great.