Since the start of DC's "Rebirth" era of publishing, there has been a second Clark Kent running around Metropolis, confusing Superman and Lois Lane and confounding their multiple attempts to subtly try to suss out who he is.
Last week, we saw that he finally snapped and became enraged when he realized that there was another Clark Kent, this one married to Lois Lane, and that the two had a son together.
He vowed revenge, his eyes glowed with blue light, and this week we got to see some blue energy creating trouble all over the book as it seemingly consumed big parts of the universe, including Jonathan Kent, the son of Lois and Clark.
...so who do we think this new Clark Kent is, and what is his deal?
We've got a few ideas...if you want to check 'em out.
Let us know @comicbook if we missed something.
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If there's anybody whose personality the "other" Clark Kent seems to kind of resemble, it's this character, who is a favorite of DC Rebirth architect Geoff Johns.
While he seemed nice enough at first, the most recent issue of Action Comics revealed the new Clark to be petty, jealous, and more than a little unstable -- especially as it pertained to his infatuation with Lois, which he believes to be his destiny.
Superboy Prime was introduced in the pre-Crisis era as the Clark Kent of the "real" world, as in the one where Superman is a comic book character and I'm currently writing an article about him. He developed powers and learned that he was, in fact, just like the Clark Kent in the comics -- and participated in a few stories, including Crisis on Infinite Earths, at the end of which he was one of a small handful of characters who got a "happy ending" in a pocket universe where they could live forever in peace.
That group later returned as the villains of Infinite Crisis, seduced by power and driven mad by seclusion, they believed that the DC Universe had been so corrupted that only they could make it "better."While some of the characters would turn back to the heroic side before all was said and done, Superboy Prime was a monster, killing numerous superheroes including the pre-Crisis Earth-2 Superman, Superboy, and a number of Teen Titans. He would later reappear in The Sinestro Corps War, Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds and Countdown to Final Crisis.prevnext
During the most recent issue of Action Comics, Lois was trying to make sense of the extra Clark. She said something along the lines of how they wouldn't have believed he was real, if not for the fact that the genetic tests performed at the Fortress of Solitude came back as 100% accurate.
That rang a bell with this old '90s Superman fan, who remembered that there were at least twice during Dan Jurgens's run on Superman that elaborate impostors managed to get past DNA testing to "prove" they were the real steel deal.
The most memorable of those was probably Hank Henshaw, the "Cyborg Superman," who first appeared in an issue that felt like a throwaway Fantastic Four pastiche and went on to become one of Superman's most dangerous villains.
Recently, a return for Henshaw, in his classic appearance as the pre-Flashpoint version of the Cyborg Superman, has been teased in Action Comics in recent months. So whether or not he has anything to do with the second Clark Kent, he's coming.
What's just a bit odd about that possibility not occurring to Lois -- remember, this is the same Lois who lived through the events of the post-Crisis, pre-Flashpoint DC Universe, so she experienced this firsthand and was actually, physically there when the Cyborg Superman's DNA was tested (see above).prevnext
March 2017 is the twentieth anniversary of the newsstand release of Superman #123 by Dan Jurgens and Ron Frenz -- and it looks like elements of that story might be playing out in Superman and Action Comics this month.
Superman #123 featured a story titled "Superman...Reborn!" It was released on March 12, 1997 and introduced Superman's (in)famous "electric blue" costume.
After the Final Night crisis, 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.
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.
Now, we're in the midst of the first major crossover between Superman and Action Comics since the start of the Rebirth era: a four-part story called..."Superman Reborn."
And, yes, 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.
What does it mean? We couldn't possibly begin to guess at this point, although the eventual disposition of the "electric Superman" storyline was a bit thrown together and reeked of "let's get this over with." So if there's somehow a way they can tie all of it together that would help readers from 20 years ago understand the end of both stories, they'd probably get a medal for that.
Action Comics writer Dan Jurgens, of course, was the writer on Superman at the time and a key driving force for the Superman family of titles from 1991 until 2000.
You can check out the full cover in the attached image gallery, along with several other covers from DC's March 2017 solicitations.
You can check out the solicitation text for the final chapter below, which takes place after Superman #19 forces Superman to "face the truth about his life," with his son's well-being hanging in the balance.
ACTION COMICS #976
Written by DAN JURGENS—Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA—Cover by PATRICK GLEASON and MICK GRAY—Variant cover by GARY FRANK
“SUPERMAN REBORN” finale! As this epic tale wraps up, Superman’s life is drastically changed…and that’s all we are saying for now—except that you won’t want to miss it!
* The covers by Patrick Gleason and Mick Gray and the variant covers by Gary Frank for SUPERMAN #18-19 and ACTION COMICS #975-976 will connect to form a single vertical image.
On sale MARCH 22 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED Tprevnext
This doesn't really seem like Brainiac's "thing" anymore, given the fact that the "collector" aspect of his personality has been played way up since Geoff Johns rebooted him in the popular storyline that would later inspire the animated movie Superman Unbound.
...Still, we are (again) talking about a version fo the pre-Flashpoint Superman who seems to keep seeing elements of his life recurring from the '90s: he battled a Doomsday that is clearly the pre-Flashpoint Doomsday; his future appears to have Hank Henshaw standing side by side with Mongul.
And in the '90s, shortly after Superman's death and return, there was a story where his "corpse" was discovered in his crypt. This is the second of those times referenced earlier when a fake body underwent genetic testing and proved to be the real deal, and in this case, it turned out to not exist at all, but to be a mass delusion created by Brainiac in order to undermine the public trust in Superman.
Could he be playing some kind of similar game here? Don't count him out, especially with the DC Universe being more interconnected than it has been in recent years, and Brainiac playing a key role in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps.prevnext
This is one we wouldn't necessarily have thought of.
In this week's comics, DC asks who fans think the new Clark Kent is. They suggest a number of candidates, none of which made the cut here (although they do suggest New 52 Superman, which is very close to our suggestion about the Superman Red/Blue story reboot)...except Mxy.0comments
Mostly because it seems like such an arbitrary choice that it almost seems like their mentioning him at all should mean something...and then there's the fact that he both just appeared on TV (always a bonus) and is the only person on the list whose powers would allow him to do all of this without much in the way of explanation.
...Except, why would he?prev