Superman's world is being realigned in DC Comics, and today's Action Comics #977 is the start of a two-part story that writer Dan Jurgens told ComicBook.com would set the status quo for the new universe.
Following the merging of the pre- and post-Flashpoint versions of Superman in the "Superman Reborn" storyline, there is plenty to get the audience caught up on, between the merged timelines, setting up the Superman Revenge Squad story coming next month, and getting Superman's head on straight.
...So of course, Dan Jurgens, Ian Churchill, and company inserted a bunch of Easter eggs and references. And now we're going to check them out...!
You can check out the official solicitation text for the issue below:
ACTION COMICS #977
Written by DAN JURGENS • Art by IAN CHURCHILL • Cover by ANDY KUBERT • Variant cover by GARY FRANK
“Superman Reborn Aftermath” part one! Following the epic struggle against [REDACTED], Superman examines his entire history—the birth of Jon, the marriage of Lois and Clark, their lives at the Daily Planet—to discover who tried to destroy his life. Who is waiting in the shadows? Who is Mr. Oz? All questions the Man of Steel cannot answer alone. It is time for him to unite the entire Superman-Family!
On sale APRIL 12 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T
The cover for Action Comics #977, by Andy Kubert, presents a tableau of Superman's history -- including the iconic Neal Adams cover to Superman #233, the opening salvo of the controversial "Kryptonite Nevermore!" storyline.
It's perhaps worth noting that shortly after the death of the New 52 Superman, ComicBook.com speculated that "Kryptonite Nevermore!" could provide some insight as to the nature of his death, and possibly even the nature of his very being.
Also represented on the cover: Lois and Clark's wedding from Superman: The Wedding Album, and the birth of Jonathan Kent from Convergence: Superman #2, indicating that following whatever changes are made to the character and/or his backstory in "Superman Reborn," he still experienced those events (with at least one notable tweak we'll get to soon). His first appearance at the Daily Planet in his Rebirth duds appears to be one of the other images.
(...And is that thing with the American flag a riff on Superman IV: The Quest For Peace?!)
CLARK KENT'S WORKSPACE
There are a couple of things here: first off, Clark and Lois are going to dinner at "The Swan," and above that you can see that "Carlin" called -- again!
That would be longtime Superman artist Curt Swan, who along with inker Murphy Anderson set the standard for Superman's design for years, and Mike Carlin, the longtime Superman group editor who worked with Jurgens on the titles in the '90s.
You can also see something interesting here: a photo (at right) of Perry, Jimmy, Lois, Clark, and another Daily Planet staffer, apparently at the time of Jonathan Kent's birth.
That's interesting -- that he was born in a hospital around friends -- becuase when his birth was depicted in Convergence, he was born in the Flashpoint Batcave with only Lois, Clark, and Flashpoint Batman around.
CLARK KENT'S BOOKSHELF
There are a number of interesting books on the shelf behind Clark at his Daily Planet workspace.
There's a book on Siegel and Shuster -- Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who created Superman -- along with a number of journalism reference books.
There's actually a book on editing that's credited to DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras -- and a book called Truth, Justice, and the American Way by none other than Daily Planet editor Perry White.
"Tell me everything," Superman says while standing over a bank of crystals at the Fortress of Solitude.
That sound familiar? If you're a longtime Superman fan, it probably should.
That's the same thing Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor said when he penetrated the Fortress's defenses in the 2005 movie Superman Returns. He used the Kryptonian crystal technology to develop a way to fight the Man of Steel.
That's a nice little wink-and-a-nod reference, to put Superman in a position where he feels like he needs all of the information and to use a callback like that to sell it.
Krypton is a melting pot in more ways than one now.
Besides being more multicultural than it's typically depicted (which makes sense, given the increased importance of an African-American Superman from an alternate Earth introduced during Grant Morrison's run on Action Comics in The New 52), this take on Superman's homeworld brings pre-Crisis on Infinite Earth elements of Kryptonian design together with John Byrne's The Man of Steel designs, and looks from Superman: Secret Origin and the New 52 take on the world.