That's something that we've remarked on in the past, and it's just one of a number of circumstantial indications that the "Superman Reborn" storyline, currently taking place in the pages of Superman and Action Comics, will in fact be a reimagining of the '60s story "Superman Red/Superman Blue," which in turn had was reinterpreted in 1997.
Twenty years ago, Superman #123 arrived on newsstands and introduced Superman's (in)famous "electric blue" costume.
After the Final Night crisis (by then-current The Adventures of Superman team Karl Kesel and Stuart Immonen), in which Superman worked tirelessly to save people while operating without the rejuvenating benefit of yellow sunlight, the Man of Steel was briefly powerless. In his quest to restore his abilities, he tried a number of things, and the combination of experiments resulted in a change to his body and power set that lasted for about a year. His skin turned blue, he was forced to wear a "containment suit" that kept his energy-based form from dissipating, and his abilities shifted to more electricity-based ones with similar application to his traditional powers. Toward the end of the storyline, an attempt to destroy him resulted in the "electric blue" Superman being split in two -- one red, one blue, in a riff on the Silver Age story "Superman Red/Superman Blue" by Leo Dorfman and Curt Swan.
You can check back early in the week for a wide-ranging roundtable conversation with these creators and more about the 20th anniversary of the "Electric Superman" storyline.
More Electric Superman news:
The first clue, if you're really looking, came before the pre-Flashpoint Superman's return to the DC Universe was even widely known.
...and if you're keeping score at home, that's just a few months after Mr. Oz made his first appearance in 2014's Superman #32.
When Superman used his solar flare power (above and, considering that we're thinking the New 52 Superman would be Superman Red in this scenario, suspiciously red) and touched off a series of events where he was powerless and/or severely depowered for much of a year, one of the things the New 52 Man of Steel did was to head to the Fortress of Solitude for help.
This proved to be a poor choice. The Fortress, not recognizing his DNA, not only expelled him from the building but took his cape, S-shield and Kryptonian armor/costume, leaving him shirtless and in dire straits.
Later, when the pre-Flashpoint Superman entered the Fortress in Superman: Rebirth, some fans questioned why that should work.
Here's something really interesting: After he lost his powers in '96, Superman headed to the Fortress of Solitude in Superman #117 -- and a Fortress robot indicated that his DNA did not match Superman's.
Six months later, the Electric Blue Superman arrived on the scene.
In Superman: Rebirth, Superman leaves a blue, glowing handprint in the ground near the New 52 Superman's grave.
There was actually a bit of speculation on the part of fans at the time that Superman Red/Superman Blue could be in the cards, but most everyone seemed to forget it pretty quickly or not take the possibility too seriously. It would be a while before the idea re-presented itself.
The "electric red" Superman costume and power set has shown up recently -- as the inspiration for Lana Lang's costume in Superwoman.
Around that same time, the New 52 Superman had died, passing some of his powers along to Lois Lane and some to Lana. Meanwhile, the pre-Flashpoint Superman, Lois, and Jon Kent arrived, with Superman stepping in to replace his recently-deceased counterpart and then Lois eventually doing the same when Superman's powers killed New 52 Lois. This pair, of course, were just married when the whole "electric powers" thing happened and lived through it...albeit on another Earth.
...In hindsight, maybe Superman's powers giving her an electric red thing, while the other Superman had a blue handprint, was a giant blinking sign...!
Superman #123, the first chapter in the "Electric" era, featured a story titled "Superman...Reborn!"
That story was written by current Action Comics scribe Dan Jurgens.
Could that be a coincidence? For sure, especially with the "Superman Reborn" storyline being the final step in Superman's Rebirth evolution, and "Rebirth" being so close to "Reborn."
Still, it does seem pretty unlikely, doesn't it?
This is the one that originally called the whole concept to our attention.
The final chapter in Action Comics #976 (at a twice-monthly publishing schedule, that's one year away from Action Comics #1,000, by the way!) features what appears to be New 52 Superman as "Superman Red" and the pre-Flashpoint Superman as "Superman Blue," complete with electric halos.
(For emphasis, we've placed the '90s-era electric Supermen over the cover, but those halos around the characters are un-altered.)
Again, this is New 52 Superman as Red and classic Superman as Blue. That's important.
Back when we first started speculating about the idea of Superman Red/Superman Blue, one of the things that we pointed out was that the detailing around the New 52 Superman's costume was red, including the piping on the sleeves and neck, while the then-new Superman had more blue going on.
...That seems more relevant than aesthetic now.
MXY LITERALLY CALLED HIM BLUE
Well, to be short, it's a seemingly-throwaway line from the issue's villain, the nigh-omniscient trickster Mr. Mxyzptlk. As he leaves Superman (and in so doing, wipes all of Lois's memories of life with her son), the ultra-powerful imp tells a desperate, flailing Superman "Ta-ta, Blue."
While he would be far from the first person to refer to Superman as "Blue" (usually an acknowledgment of the longer nickname of "the big, blue boy scout"), but given the trickster nature of Mxy, and the fact that it was his final word to Superman (amid a cloud of reddish energy), it seems like just enough information to at least re-evaluate and bolster the original theory, even if it would likely not be enough on its own to start a new theory over.
And, if true, it's kind of an ingenious little taunt from Mxy...!
All the blue lightning and flames that carried Jonno away is just the beginning.
In the preview for Wednesday's issue, we see Jonathan Kent surrounded by a blue aura, just like his dad is on the cover of next week's Action Comics.
And the blue lightning and flames? Well, that continues to be everywhere.