By Peter J Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray and John Kalisz
There have been a ton of interesting things going on in the Rebirth Superman titles, but perhaps one of the biggest mysteries is who is this second Clark Kent? He’s mostly been a harmless character, but things took a turn for the weird in last weeks Action Comics when he proposed to Lois. As “Superman Reborn” kicks off, we start to see some of the consequences of Lois’ rejection and the effect it has on the previously good-natured, mysterious Clark Kent.
One of the focal points of Peter Tomasi’s run on Superman has been the bond between the family. This issue shows us how close and well-knit the “Smith” family is as Superman and Lois celebrate their wedding anniversary. Tomasi is bringing over the other Clark Kent dilemma from Action Comics to this issue, as he shows up and potentially throws a monkey wrench into the celebration. Tomasi does a great job of showing us Superman in a vulnerable state. For as many disasters as he can stop and all his brute strength, he is unable to figure out what is happening to his own son once the chaos starts. Another interesting thing in the issue is the first couple of pages dealing with Mr. Oz. This is one of the more intriguing aspects of the Rebirth launch and the Superman books have been a perfect vehicle for it. While there still isn’t much information on why Mr. Oz is doing what he’s doing, it still remains the most bizarely intriguing thing in these titles. Which is saying something.
The pencils this issue are handled by Patrick Gleason with inks by Mick Gray and colors by John Kalisz. It almost feels like we have two different styles in this comic. The first couple of pages deal with Mr. Oz and they’re drawn dark and gritty. After that, Gleason gives us the family portion of the issue and it’s drawn and colored a lot lighter. In the family portion, Jon’s eyes seem large, almost cartoon like. This style could easily remind you of Sale’s work in Superman: For All Seasons. There is a page in this issue that details some of the more memorable moments of Superman’s life. We clearly see the cover for Action Comics #1, which looks great, as well as several prominent people in Clark’s life. Gleason does a fine job on this issue, but the color palette by Kalisz is a little lighter in tone and in practice than what we are used to.
Superman #18 is a good read, but is almost entirely set-up even as it continues to be one of the true winners to come out of DC’s Rebirth line. These are the kind of stories that got lost in the crowd when Superman was being written as an object of mass destruction. The care that Tomasi and Gleason are putting into this title shows with every new issue, and they’ve really made Clark a likable and relatable guy. Whether you’re a Superman fan or not, this is definitely a book that should be read consistently.