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Comic Book / Superman (Rebirth)

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The Super-Family.
Your parents here on Earth did the best they could, but they didn't understand what it was like for a boy on his way to being a teenager and dealing with...superpowers. With us, Jon's literally got the best of both worlds to help make sense of it all.

A relaunch as part of DC Rebirth, penned by Peter Tomasi. At the end of The Final Days of Superman, the New 52 Superman died. Luckily, however, there was another Superman already on Earth: the pre-Flashpoint Superman, who had been living secretly on Earth for the past nine years with his wife, Lois, and their half-Kryptonian son, Jon, as detailed in Superman: Lois and Clark.

The fourth volume of Superman was launched with a Rebirth issue that saw the older Superman bury the New 52 Superman and swear to uphold his legacy. While in Action Comics, Superman battled a newly revived Doomsday, however, the Superman book takes a look at the relationship between him and his son, Jonathan, as well as Lois, as they live their lives in secret on a small farm on the outskirts of Metropolis.

The first storyline, "The Son of Superman," deals with Jon's burgeoning powers and the return of the Eradicator. The story later crossed over with Action Comics for Superman Reborn, a story that addressed both the pre-Flashpoint and New 52 Supermen's statuses.

Superman's "Rebirth" ended in May 2018, with Brian Michael Bendis —fresh off his decades-long stint at Marvel— taking over writing duties on both Action Comics (retaining its numbering after issue #1000) and the main Superman title, relaunching with a new #1 and Ivan Reis on art.

Tropes included in the fourth volume of Superman:

  • Abusive Parent: Bizarro Lois and Bizarro frequently beat up, demean and neglect Boyzarro.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: Superman and Superboy have become this for Hamilton at the end of the series, and are honored with statues of themselves.
  • Alternate Universe: "Multiplicity" features Supermen from across the Multiverse teaming-up against a common foe, while "Boyzarro Redeath" features the classic cubed Bizzaro-Earth and the classic Bizzaro.
  • Alliance of Alternates: The Supermen in "Multiplicity".
  • Ambiguously Evil: Cobb Branden Kathy's Grandfather seems to give off these vibes but is just one of Manchester Black's lackeys.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Subverted. At first it appears a laser blast cuts off Lois' leg, but she is actually fine. Manchester Black only made it appear she had lost a leg as a way to further his plan to turn Superboy against his parents.
  • Author Appeal: The writers, Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, love writing about superheroic fathers and sons, having previously written over 52 issues of Batman and Robin.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Bizarro Superman and Lois.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The Legion of Fun from Bizarroworld manages to capture the Bizarro Leaguers and actually be a solid threat. They even end up indirectly causing the destruction of Bizarro-Earth!
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Kalibak, Granny Goodness and the Furies, and Steppenwolf are the main antagonists of "Imperius Lex".
  • Bizarro Universe: Present in all its backwards glory. This version's existence is tied to Bizarro's emotions, so when he gets fed up with the place...
  • Brains and Brawn: Issue #26 devotes itself to why Superman is not just Dumb Muscle, and how he's trying to impart the lessons taught by Jonathan Kent to his son.
  • Book Ends: The first part of the final arc is Bizzaro version of the first issue.
  • The Bus Came Back: These aren't the New 52 Clark and Lois. These are the post-Crisis, pre-Flashpoint Clark and Lois, who have been married for over a decade and now have a son. It's recently been implied that the two Supermen and Loises are actually two halves of the same people.
    • Manchester Black makes his Rebirth debut as well.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The story arcs vacillate between good-natured whimsy to serious and dramatic, usually starting with the Kents/Smiths living their normal lives, before being interrupted by Superman-level enemies threatening the family. The darkest moment arguably appears in Black Dawn when Lois gets her leg cut off — and gets even darker when Jon is forcibly turned into Superboy Black.
  • Clark Kenting: Jon follows in the footsteps of his father, the Trope Namer.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: "Boyzarro Redeath" has this in spades, as to be expected from Bizarro.
  • Continuity Nod: In Superman Rebirth #1, Superman and Lana Lang explore the Fortress of Solitude and find the message that Post-Flashpoint Superman left to Supergirl in The Final Days of Superman, entrusting his Fortress and the Earth's protection to his cousin.
    • Issue 45 (the finale for the Tomasi/Gleason run) has this in spades, including tons of references to the DC Rebirth run as a whole
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Manchester Black's goal is to turn Jon into the superbeing he wants to see, namely a Superman that is willing to kill.
  • Dare to Be Badass: In Superman #4, Jon's caught between helping his father against the Eradicator and helping protect his mom. He's also wary of using his powers after the death of his cat Goldie. Lois tells him that he has the best of both worlds and he can be great if he chooses to be. He zips up his Superman jacket, solders on Krypto's cape to his coat and charges into battle.
  • Disney Death: Krypto. He gets better.
  • Distant Finale: To The Just and The Mastermen chapters of The Multiversity as it reveals that several characters who were in ambiguously perilous situations at the end of those books managed to survive them.
  • Dysfunctional Family: The Bizzaros are this in striking contrast to the Kents.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: At the end of the series Hamilton has been freed of the poisonous influence of Manchester Black , and has become a refuge for alien and alternate dimensional refugees like Kathy, Boyzarro, and Robzarro.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Bizarro Earth at the end of "Boyzarro-Redeath".
  • Enemy Civil War: Darkseid's death in Darkseid War has caused his underlings to fight among themselves for his throne.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Jon's costume takes on darker colors while he's Superboy Black.
  • Experienced Protagonist: In contrast to the younger, greener Superman of the New 52 series, this series features the older, much more seasoned version of Superman from the pre-Flashpoint era getting back into action.
  • Flash Forward: A brief peak into the future shows Damian Wayne in his Batman costume from Batman #666, Jon as a grown Superboy or possibly Superman, and Kathy alongside them as a superhero.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: In issue #25, Lois' BFG against Superboy Black.
  • Good Parents: Clark and Lois are protective of their son, but also see the potential and desire within him to become a great superhero. So rather than keep him hidden (which would likely force him to sneak out doing superheroics) or let him completely loose, superheroing becomes a family activity for them. Clark and Lo have basically taken the lessons learned from Ma and Pa Kent, and taken it to the next level with their son.
  • Grand Finale: "Superman" #45 is this for the series, focusing on the Kents' last days in Hamilton before they move back to Metropolis. Pretty much every character that played a role in the series makes at least a cameo including Manchester Black still trapped as a cow.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Jonathan has heat vision that can hurt his father Superman, yet gets a mild concussion falling from a broken tree branch. It's implied, however, that this is less due to being weaker due to being half human, and more to do with him just starting to develop his powers, so he doesn't have his father's nigh invulnerability just yet. "Black Dawn" reveals that this isn't the case at all — an alien creature is purposely suppressing Jon's powers.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Lex Luthor as of the "Imperius Lex" arc. He tears off the S-shield as a result of Superman's inability to trust that Lex's attempt at heroism is genuine, ultimately returning to villainy.
  • He's Back!:
    • At the end of Superman #6, the world has accepted the pre-Flashpoint Superman as this.
    • At the end of Superman #25, Lois says, "Looks like we got our Superboy back."
  • Heel–Face Turn: The Super-Elites may or may not have been Trapped in Villainy by Manchester Black, but they consider Hamilton their home, and will rebuild it as part of their amends.
  • Humiliation Conga: After being defeated by Superman and his allies, Black's powers go haywire and his mind gets transferred into a cow's body. For extra humiliation, he attempts to brainwash some teenagers into giving him some cigarettes but they throw off the mind control and throw him onto his side.
  • Kid Sidekick: Jon takes on this role to Clark throughout the series.
  • Legacy Character: Jonathan eventually takes the name "Superboy" with Clark's blessing. A Flash Forward reveals that Damian becomes Batman and Jon becomes Superman.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The first major encounter between Jonathan Kent and Damian Wayne ends with the two kids slugging it out when Damian keeps taunting Jon over the death of his cat.
  • Mama Bear: Don't mess with the pre-Flashpoint Lois Lane and do not threaten Jon. The Eradicator learns this the hard way when Lois dons Batman's old Hellbat Armor from the Robin Rises storyline and starts pummeling him.
    Lois: Get your hands off my son!
  • Mook–Face Turn: Cobb turns on Manchester Black when he's about to kill one of his children, calling him a monster.
  • Moving Angst: The Kents decide to move back to Metropolis after deciding that the commute from Hamilton simply isn't feasible anymore (nevermind their recent struggle with Manchester Black). While Clark and Lois are perfectly happy with the arrangement, their son Jon isn't. He simply isn't interested in the wonders of the big city and would much rather stay on a farm with his friends from school. Although he eventually relents, it takes time for him to acclimate to living in Metropolis.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The blurb of Superman #22 states, "Superboy wonders what is so great about Truth, Justice and the American Way" as the comic revisits its themes.
    • Issue #28 shows the license plate of the rented RV is "AC1-1938".
    • Robzarro, the Bizarro version of Damian Wayne, has a pencil-thin mustache, just like the evil version of Dick Grayson in the Super Friends episode "Universe of Evil".
  • Oh, Crap!: Superman and Lois both have this at the same time from separate locations when Doomsday suddenly departs from fighting Superman, and they realize the other nearest Kryptonian he would sense and go after is Jon.
  • Papa Wolf: Threaten Superboy, you face the Superman. Also inverted, in that Jon often gets to come to his father's rescue as well.
    Superman: (punching Doomsday) Get away from my son!
    • Superman and Batman both show signs of this at the start of the Trials of the Super Sons arc, with Superman looking to "have a word" with Damian for kidnapping his son and Batman telling Damian to get behind him and grabbing Kryptonite Batarangs (because of course he had those) to protect his son from a vengeful Kryptonian.
  • Parental Abandonment: Bizarro leaves Boyzarro to die with Bizarroworld.
  • Parent-Child Team: Clark, Lois, and Jon all get in on the superheroics.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: Superman #10-11, as In the Name of the Father storyline serves as a backdoor pilot for Tomasi's Super Sons.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Lex Luthor in the "Imperius Lex" arc. It is Superman's continued mistrust and accusations that prompt Lex to Face–Heel Turn.
  • Refusal of the Call: Up to the end of Superman: Rebirth, the pre-Flashpoint Superman doesn't bother donning the red and blues, essentially twiddling his thumbs until the New 52 Superman returns. When Superman learns that there's no Regeneration Matrix for his New 52 counterpart, he averts it and decides to return to being Superman.
  • Returning the Wedding Ring: Bride of Frankenstein to her ex-husband. He wears both rings, and proposes again after their adventure with Superman. She gives it back yet again.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Kathy Branden witnessed Jon accidentally killing a hawk and his cat with heat vision. She visits the "Smith" household, ostensibly to confirm Jon lives there, but leaves without saying anything about the incident.
  • Shipper on Deck: Lois heavily encourages the precocious relationship between Jon and Kathy.
  • Shout-Out: The Multiplicity storyline, where alternate Supermen are being hunted by a multiversal group, is very similar in concept to Spider-Verse from Marvel Comics.
  • Space Base: Batman has a Batcave on the moon.
  • Stealth Sequel: Issue 14 and 15 serve as this for The Multiversity
  • Superpowered Evil Side: Superboy Black can fly.
  • Superpower Lottery: Jon inherits all of his father's powers, but has to be trained in their use.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Manchester's goal is to mold Jon into a Superman who doesn't adhere to this.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Hamilton County seems to this as the series goes on, which leads to Weirdness Magnet below.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Damian Wayne for Jon. He encourages Jon to sneak out of home, and all around just to not listen to Clark.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Superboy's cape originally belonged to Krypto, who sacrificed himself by taking the Eradicator's beam meant for Jon. Luckily, however, Krypto wasn't really dead and came back.
  • Unanthropomorphic Transformation: In "Multiplicity", Captain Carrot gets transformed into a regular bunny by the Gatherers. He still has his mask and cape though.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The townsfolk find out that Lois can hold her own, what with being a military brat.
    Mr. Martinez: (seriously dazed) She's a bit more well-armed than we originally thought.
  • Villainous Rescue: Superman gets possessed by Parallax and it's up to Sinestro to drag the monster out of him.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Deconstructed by Lois in issue #22. It's no fun to be one when all you want is a little normality once in a while.
    • Averted in Superman #27, where the worst challenge the Kent Family has to face while on vacation across the East Coast is getting a dickish waitress to allow them to invite a homeless veteran to their table at a Philadelphia restaurant.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Kathy revealing her telekinesis by telepathically holding Damian by the throat and choking him.
    • At the end of Superman #24, Superboy Black.
  • What You Are in the Dark: In Superman #2, Superman explained his son that wearing the S-shield means doing the right thing even when you think no one is looking.
    Superman: I'm afraid someday soon — too soon — you will have to pick it up and embrace the "S" for yourself. It's not about our powers, or strength, or heat vision. It's about character. It means doing the right thing when no one else will, even when you're scared... even when you think no one is looking.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Superman has a vision of a Bad Future in which an adult Jonathan kills him, saying he was never home for him.