While Superman: Lois and Clark has been lauded by many fans as a chance to see the beloved pre-Flashpoint Superman and Lois Lane back in action (and in-continuity) following the events of Convergence, one of the other functions it is serving is to give fans some background on the reinvented DC Universe.
Following the Flashpoint crisis and the New 52 reboot, DC Comics left almost five years of totally untapped time between when Justice League and Action Comics started and when the rest of the DC Universe was taking place.
What fits into that space? Well, we got a taste of it -- and some clues as to both the current status quo and the future -- in the first issue of Superman: Lois and Clark, on sale now.
Read on for details...!
WHERE ARE BARRY ALLEN AND KARA ZOR-EL?
Early in the issue, we discovered that the pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths versions of Supergirl and The Flash -- who had originally been depicted as having died in that battle -- survived with the assistance of the post-Crisis Superman and Hal Jordan/Parallax.
Where did they go after that? Well, it isn't yet clear. So far it seems they never made it to the post-Flashpoint Earth, as they elected to pursue their destinies elsewhere...but what does that mean?
We do know Parallax will appear in the pages of Telos, and Superman: Lois and Clark writer Dan Jurgens teased us that "we have some thoughts on Barry and Kara. But we can’t give everything away all at once!"
HE"S BEEN AROUND
While it's been referenced in a few interviews already, seeing it on the page makes it official: not only has the pre-Flashpoint Superman been hanging around the DC Universe for a while, but he's been around since literally the beginning of the New 52.
We see the older, wiser version of Kal-El standing on a rooftop, watching as the Justice League of the post-Flashpoint Earth tackle Darkseid, along with narration from Lois Lane to explain why he didn't intercede -- and just how close he came to doing so.
One more thing -- look at the post-Flashpoint Superman. Considering he has telescopic vision, could he already be aware of his doppelganger's presence on this world?
NOT EVERYTHING HAS HAPPENED
The new DC Universe isn't only younger than the previous iteration: not everything has played out yet, either.
Because of the fact that Green Lantern and Batman carried over so much of their mythology when the New 52 launched, there has sometimes been a sense that everything we saw in 20 years of publishing history had in fact happened during those "missing" five years between Justice League #1 and the rest of the New 52's launch. Instead, it seems this world really IS younger than its precursor -- and that a Superman who has lived through all that is using that fact to his advantage.
In the first issue of Superman: Lois and Clark, we see Clark taking on the crash of the Excalibur, an event first seen in an old Adventures of Superman issue. It eventually led to the ship's pilot, Hank Henshaw, becoming the Cyborg Superman, one of Clark's most powerful and deadly villains. Will he suffer a same fate here, as the Excalibur crashes to Earth again? Well...!
THE MAN OF STEEL
One particular element of Clark's current missions has echoes of both the film Man of Steel, and John Byrne's miniseries The Man of Steel, which provided the origin for the post-Crisis Superman.
Whether Byrne's take on Krypton itself remains canonical or not is in some dispute, but most of the miniseries remains a part of this Superman's backstory, including Martha Kent keeping a scrapbook of her son's pre-costumed exploits.
In those days, without advertising himself as Superman, he traveled the world using his powers to help those who needed it, often by averting natural disasters rather than finding problems he could punch.
We saw that, of course, echoed in the most recent film iteration of the hero. And now we're seeing it here.
FAMILIAR THREATS WILL RE-EMERGE HERE
Don't expect Superman: Lois and Clark to be just a nostalgia trip.
Dan Jurgens and Lee Weeks will reintroduce threats here who haven't yet popped up, both on the Superman side and as part of Lois's life as an anonymous-but-best-selling investigative reporter.
You can see that clearly demonstrated with the last two panels of the first issue, in which Jurgens has promised that the anonymous, bloodthirsty female is someone we'll recognize...and the caption box for #2 promises Intergang, a Jack Kirby-created organization that played a big role in the '80s and '90s Superman books where Jurgens became a household name to comic fans.