11:36am PT by Graeme McMillan
New 'Superman' Issue Reveals Major Turning Point for DC's Comic Book Universe
[Details for Superman No. 51, and the upcoming issues of DC's Superman comic books, follow. If you're looking to remain unspoiled, time to get up, up and away.]
DC Entertainment is about to kill off the Man of Steel — again.
Ahead of the June Rebirth relaunch of its entire superhero comic book line, DC's Superman No. 51 begins an eight-part storyline initially announced as "Super League," but the final page of the issue revealed the true title: "The Final Days of Superman."
Unusually for comic books, it appears as if this is one death that will stick; newly announced details for the Rebirth status quo of the Man of Steel reveal that the Superman starring in both Superman and Action Comics will be an older version of the character from an alternate Earth who's married to his world's Lois Lane and has a son. The version of the character who has appeared in DC's comic books since its 2011 New 52 mythology reboot is conspicuous by his absence.
Superman No. 51, written by Peter Tomasi — who'll be writing the new Superman comic book series — with art by Mikel Janin, explains that Superman's death doesn't come from one glorious battle, a la Batman v. Superman's climactic clash with Doomsday (or his first comic book demise), but the accumulation of a number of storylines over the last year of DC's comic book output. Not that he's going to take his upcoming demise lying down.
"I shouldn't be thinking about the hole I'm going to leave behind … I should be thinking about how I'm going to fill it," he says in the issue, while later telling childhood sweetheart Lana Lang, "It's comforting … knowing that what's killing me is what allowed me to save thousands of people a few weeks ago."
The death of Superman offers a surprising element of closure to the last year of Superman comic book storylines, which have featured the character losing his superpowers and having his secret identity revealed to the world. By killing off this version of Clark Kent, it leaves the space open to restoring the traditional status quo of the hero — albeit one with a wife and kid.
Superman No. 51 is available in comic book stores and digitally now. The storyline continues weekly through June, with the next installment appearing in Batman/Superman No. 31, available on June 13.