WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Superman #7 by Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, Brandon Peterson and Jason Fabok, on sale now.
Brian Michael Bendis' Superman run has been filled with homages to the past, from the "Bendis is Coming!" house ads (just like the ads for Jack Kirby's move to DC Comics in 1970) to having a Man of Steel miniseries leading into a relaunched Superman and a stint on Action Comics (just like how John Byrne's Superman run began back in 1986-87).
Bendis continued this trend with a clever homage to both John Byrne's Man of Steel and Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice in a scene in the latest issue, only with Lois Lane in the Superman role this time.
The big shock of Superman #7 is that Superman and Lois Lane's son, Jon Kent, has returned to the series having aged seven years. Jon began to explain to his parents the story of what happened to him in the time that he spent with his grandfather, Jor-El. While only three weeks passed for Superman and Lois, it has been seven years for Jon.
In any event, the first part of Jon's story actually involved his mother, as well, as Lois initially went away with Jon and Jor-El before deciding to return to Earth. Jor-El gave her a special Superman suit to wear while they were in outer space. The trio arrived on a planet to get some food for Jon and Lois was quickly surrounded by a group of aliens. It seems as though the symbol of the House of El is well known around the galaxy and Superman, especially, is known for being a champion for the oppressed.
However, in this particular instance, being connected to a champion for the oppressed led to Lois being swarmed by said oppressed, all looking for help from her husband.
It was a powerful scene and it helped explain why Lois decided to return to Earth and let Jon and Jor-El continue their adventure without her. It was also a clever reference to two notable scenes from Superman's past.
The main scene that it was homaging was from John Byrne and Dick Giordano's Man of Steel #1. After Clark learned that he was an alien, he left Smallville as an adult to see the world and do good deeds in secret. However, when a space plane was heavily damaged and about to crash, all Clark could do was to save the plane, even if it meant exposing himself to the world.
The reaction to him making his presence known to the world shook him deeply. He actually returns to his boyhood room, where he tells his parents what happened and the scene is pretty much precisely the same as what Lois encountered. They all wanted a piece of him.
It was that reaction that actually led to Clark deciding to create a superhero identity so that he could establish a "secret identity" where he would be able to get away from being overwhelmed by the constant demands of the public.
In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, director Zack Snyder showed a similar situation, only this time it was Superman himself, as he saved a little girl and was surrounded by a mass of people.
This time, Superman was being overwhelmed by the way that the world was treating him like a god. This was particular rough for Superman because it couples with Superman's nightmares over being overwhelmed by the deaths of the people who died in Superman's battle with Zod's forces in Man of Steel.
Clearly, the Snyder scene likely was its own homage to the Byrne sequence, but either way Bendis and Peterson drew a powerful line between those scenes and Lois' struggle in Superman #7.
We will learn more about Jon's time with Jor-El in Superman #8, due out on February 13th.