Both generations of Superman will see their secret identities reinstated in Action Comics #1050, on sale in December, ComicBook.com has learned exclusively. The Last Sons of Krypton have spent the better part of the last few years without a secret identity; Clark lost his during The New 52, then had it briefly restored in Rebirth before Brian Michael Bendis revealed him to the world again when he took over the titles. Jon Kent, being the son of Superman, effectively never had a secret identity, since by the time he took on the role, his father's was already known.
Things aren't all good for the Kent family; there are some hiccups in the process that restores their secret identities, and someone important to them faces dire consequences when it happens. Don't worry, though; Superman doesn't have to sell his marriage to the devil to make it happen or anything like that.
"The stories we're about to tell in Action Comics, Superman, and Adventures of Superman: Jon Kent are a celebration of everything Superman is, from the Super Family to the Daily Planet to the most iconic love story in comics, Lois and Clark," said Action Comics writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. "Some elements of the Lois and Clark dynamic can only be there with the secret identity. And even just on a deep-down gut level, something about seeing Clark Kent in the tie and glasses again, ripping open his shirt to reveal the S-shield underneath, just feels AMAZING. It's an image that puts John Williams' music right in your ear, and you feel like you can fly. That's how we want every Superman story to feel."
"The truth is a very important thing for Clark Kent," added incoming Superman writer Joshua Williamson. "For someone to steal that from him is a tragic moment and created a lot of interesting drama and story possibilities for the Superman line in 2023. We wanted to play with all the pieces of the great and iconic Superman mythology that we all love. When this challenge was presented to us, we wanted to make sure it was not just magically being put back in the box. There are dangerous repercussions to how this happens that lead to more story to explore. And you'll see the start of that in Action Comics #1050!"
The secret identity trope has long been a key part of superhero fiction, but almost nobody has used it in more stories than Superman. Back in the Silver Age, the Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane ongoing dealt with dozens of stories of Lois trying and failing to prove that Clark and Superman were the same person. In the '90s, supervillain Conduit actually had a grudge against Clark Kent, not Superman.
Action Comics #1050 is set to hit the stands next month, with 25 variant covers from some of the biggest names in comics and a star-studded anniversary celebration inside. Following the battle on Warworld and Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, this issue kickstarts a new status quo, with Kal-El back on Earth and sharing duties as its protector with Jon Kent, who watched over things while his father was in space. It will also, as Williamson recently told us, heavily feature Lex Luthor, who will be pulling strings even from behind bars.