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Superman 18, Action Comics 975, Superman 19 (2016)

Superman 18 (2016)

Pros

  • Another interesting, engaging Superman storyline

Cons

  • Things might get a bit...muddied...before it all wraps up

Gosh, this series just gets more and more interesting, and these characters become more endearing with every single issue–even if things do get a little confusing as we delve deeper into the story’s mysteries.

Superman 18 is another knock-out Big Blue story by the powerhouse creative team of Tomasi, Gleason, and Gray, and it kicks off the latest Super-titles-spanning arc called, “Reborn.” Now, since I’m a little behind on my reviews, I’m going to cover the first three parts of the “Reborn” story to catch us all up.

Someone’s come for Jon, and not even Superman can stop him. And, Superman posits, this mysterious kidnapper is none other than Clark Kent–or, at least, the “Clark Kent” that’s been running around the Rebirth continuity and confounding readers for just about 7 months, now.

One of the biggest teases of Rebirth, the Who is Clark Kent? mystery, is promised to be answered in “Reborn’s” second issue, the over-sized Action Comics 975. And it’s another good issue, and it ultimately pays off.

So–who is Clark Kent?

Well…first, HERE COME THE SPOILERS

Okay, here we go.

“Clark Kent” is none other than…drum roll please…Mr. Mxyzptlk!

Wait–what??

That’s right, our favorite (or not-so-favorite, I guess) purple-and-orange-clad imp has been impersonating Clark Kent. Why? Mr. Mxyzptlk has been forgotten, it seems, and he intends to change that–by making Superman forget, completely, about his son, Jon. In the imp’s warped mind, that would, in turn, let Superman refocus on his “old friend.”

And the way to get to Jon is to hide in plain site–as Clark Kent.

We get a much more menacing Mxy here than in the past–though to be honest, I’ve always found him eminently creepy. And he takes our heroes through a topsy-turvy board-game world of primary colors and giant candy canes and one big escape-the-room of a scheme in order for Superman and Lois to get their son back.

It’s got shades on bonkers, Silver Age Superman in there, but there’s a not-so-underlying sense of very real danger and dread and the incredibly frightening conceit that Mxyzptlk can make you forget about the existence of someone you love dearly. Things get worse in the issue’s back-up story written by Paul Dini, as we see just how incensed Mxy became when Superman didn’t come looking for him while imprisoned in the Negative Zone.

It all leads to the third part of the story, told in Superman, issue 19, which ends on a big, heaping cliffhanger and raises way more questions that answers.

The last-page reveal of a New-52-era Superman (complete with that weird belt thingy) in place of Jon’s father is jarring, though likely just another trick. But Mxy’s line as the issue ends–an exclamation of “Deja, New-52!”–is quite funny, and plays into that crazy Silver-Age storytelling that we see here.

Of course, as the layers of the Rebirth onion continue to get peeled away, this new landscape of the DC Universe continues to evolve. We’ll see where we go from here as the story wraps up next month in Action Comics.

“Deja, New-52,” indeed!

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