This isn't the first time Superman has died. That's almost certainly the thought hovering in the back of everyone's minds after reading about his death last week in "Superman" #52. So with the arrival today of "Superman: Rebirth" #1, Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza and Wil Quintana dig deep into whether the New 52's Man of Steel is truly gone.
After Doomsday killed Superman in the 1993, a Kryptonian regeneration matrix was used to bring the character back to life, which is almost certainly why Tomasi and Gleason cut right to the chase: The Fortress of Solitude doesn't have one in this timeline. And so, presumably, this universe's Superman is stone-cold dead.
That's why you may want to pick up the eight-issue "Superman: Lois and Clark" miniseries that's been quietly detailing the life of the pre-"Flashpoint" Superman ever since he escaped "Convergence," because he's the new DC Universe Superman.
Having survived the erasure of his timeline by being in Gotham City when Brainiac and Telos imprisoned the city under a dome that suppressed all superpowers, Superman and his wife Lois Lane had a son named Jonathan Kent. At the end of "Convergence" the three of them were transported into the modern DC Universe, but nine years in the past, where Lois and Clark have been raising their son while trying to avoid detection from the superheroes of this brave new world.
That's the Superman Lana Lang finds in "Superman: Rebirth" #1, and with whom she works throughout the comic. The relationship between the New 52 Clark and Lana was one of the high points of that character's existence, as she served not only as a confidant but also someone immensely capable in her own right. Her presence in "Superman: Rebirth" #1 is a good sign for the books. She's the one who ultimately seems to convince the post-"Crisis" Superman to dust off his proverbial cape and reassume the role he's been hiding from since his escape from "Convergence."
With this swapping of Supermen now official, there's a lot of promise going forward. Having an older, wiser Superman back in the role allows for a maturity that few of the New 52 heroes have; he's positioned here as being a voice of reason. He's also one of the only heroes to be married and with a child -- one who at the end of "Superman: Lois and Clark" is shown to be developing superpowers.
The heroes of the DC Universe need someone to lead them through the upcoming trials -- someone who embodies hope. The post-"Crisis" Superman definitely can fill that role.