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Comic Book / Superman: Truth

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Superman: Truth is a Superman family crossover story arc taking place after Convergence, as part of DC You. It is told in the Action Comics, Batman/Superman, Superman/Wonder Woman and Superman titles. The writers in charge are Greg Pak, Peter J Tomasi and Gene Luen Yang.

The story arc feature quite possibly the most unexpected change in Superman's status quo: his secret identity has been revealed to the world... by Lois Lane. His life no longer private and his powers decreasing, Superman embarks on a journey across the United States, seeking to rediscover his heroic nature.

Truth concluded in Superman: Savage Dawn.

The effects of Truth were reversed in Superman (Rebirth) and Superman Reborn. A Spiritual Antithesis storyline of the same name was later done in Superman (Brian Michael Bendis), this time with Superman himself revealing his identity to the world under his own volition, rather than someone else revealing it in circumstances beyond Superman's control.

Superman: Truth contains examples of:

  • Arc Villain: With each title:
    • HORDR_ROOT, leader of HORDR, is this for the "Before Truth" portion in Superman.
    • Wrath and the Shadow Beasts is this for Action Comics
    • Ukur for Batman/Superman
    • Alexander Bend for Superman/Wonder Woman.
  • Badass Biker: Superman becomes one in this story arc. After losing his power of Flight, he buys a bike for long-range transportation.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When the mayor is revealed to be a Shadow Beast, Superman and a bunch of cops busts in to rescue those who were being "interrogated" by her.
  • Blackmail: HORDR ensures loyalty from its members by blackmailing them with their deepest, darkest secrets.
  • Body Surf: Through technological means, HORDR implants his consciousness into different host bodies, killing the original minds who inhabited them.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: When confronted with the Sadistic Choice of allowing HORDR's specialized robots to absorb Superman's power via Super Flare or exposing his identity to the world, Superman did the former. However, Lois, absolutely refusing to let Superman be harmed, revealed his identity to the world as she felt exposing his identity to the world would be better than allowing HODOR to have a stranglehold on him.
  • Brought Down to Badass: An as-of-yet unrevealed event (currently believed to be Superman's latest "power", the Super Flare, as well as getting nearly killed in Batman/Superman Annual #2) caused Superman to lose a good portion of his powers. He can no longer fly and instead uses a bike for transport. That said, this is Superman we're talking about. Powers or not, he is never to be underestimated.
  • Civvie Spandex: Just at look at the picture. Superman's outfit in this story is similar to the outfit he wore at the beginning of the New 52, though his design looks more like Superboy's pre-Flashpoint look.
  • Cool Bike: Superman's bikes in the story arc. First, he uses a regular one but loses that bike during Batman/Superman and ends up "inheriting" one of Bruce Wayne's Batcycles.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Downplayed when Superman, with his powers decreased, faces a group of thugs. Although one of the baddies sneaks up on him with a crowbar, Superman knocks them all out with a single punch.
  • Darker and Edgier: Instead of being the Ideal Hero we all know and love, Superman is an angsty and brooding figure, although given what the story puts him through, you really can't blame him. His traditional suit is gone and his cape is ripped to shreds.
  • Darkest Hour: So far, this story arc is shaping up to be this to Superman. His secret identity is no more, he is on the run and has become a Hero with Bad Publicity.
  • Dirty Cop: Officer Binghamton, who is so tired of Superman's altruism, he's going to order his cops to beat him senseless just so Superman can snap and fight back and give them every reason to do even worse to him. Even after he's exposed as a Shadow Beast, he still demands that the police take everyone into custody.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: Steve Trevor, acting on behalf of Homeland Security in specific and President Obama in general.
  • Driven by Envy: Binghamton is jealous that the Metropolis citizens give more respect to Superman than they do to their own police force. He's so far gone, he's become a Shadow Beast.
  • Emotion Eater: This is the main power of the Shadow Beasts and their leader, Wrath, amplifying the hatred and jealousy of others, specifically towards Superman, to make them grow stronger.
  • Enemy Mine: Oddly, despite everything going on, Lex Luthor is willing to give Superman a hand, even though he thinks this is just Clark Kent trying to parade around as Superman with the real Superman missing.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Some cops disagree with Binghamton's order to attack Superman and use excessive force on non-violent protesters. One of them even attempts to end the violence and gets punched in the face for his efforts, by a fellow cop. This expands towards when Binghamton's exposed as a Shadow Beast.
    • At an earlier point, Lois decides not to reveal Superman's identity after she found a tape of him strapped to an electric chair and watched him being electrocuted, freaking her out immensely. However, when HODOR has Superman in a Sadistic Choice, she tosses that aside.
  • Floating Continent: The HORDR_PLEX, HORDR's headquarters, is one.
  • Handwraps of Awesome: After his Badass Cape is torn to pieces, Superman wraps its remains on his hands.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Superman might as well give Spider-Man a run for his money here.
  • Hidden Depths/What You Are in the Dark: Wonder Woman uses her Lasso of Truth on Superman's friends to know what they really think about him after his secret identity was ousted.
    • Jimmy felt glad Superman shared his secret with him, considering it a huge show of trust between them.
    • Perry felt betrayed Clark hid his identity from him and thought Clark only wanted a job in the Daily Planet to sell his story.
    • Mr. Santiago, an acquaintance from Smallville, is not happy about people turning on Superman even after everything he has done for them. He also points out the hypocrisy of people saying they want the truth but not wanting to hear it once they get it.
    • Lana feels Clark is special and his identity deserved to be protected but she still resents him from failing to save her parents in the Doomsday incident.
    • Steel says Clark was right in hiding his identity, considering he and Lana were kidnapped when his identity was ousted.
    • Mrs. Takahara, Clark's school teacher, says Clark wasn't exactly a remarkable student but realizes he was a good person. Now, she understands every time he asked permission to go to the bathroom, he did it to save someone in danger.
    • Cat Grant says she always knew Clark was hiding something, but she thought he was attracted to her, not that he was Superman.
  • Holding Back the Phlebotinum: Superman's caught off-guard by the fact that Bruce Wayne is missing and thought dead by the events of Batman: Endgame. In fact, it seems that he's completely missed a lot of events.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: This is essentially Lois Lane's reasoning for blowing his identity. Even as she keeps trying to check up on him, she still gives this reasoning as to why she did it. When lasso'd by Wonder Woman, she tells her that she's a reporter, if she finds news, it should be told.
  • Important Haircut: Goodbye, S-curl. Hello, buzz cut.
  • In Medias Res: The Convergence previews were pretty much this, with Superman/Wonder Woman's being the big one.
  • Ironic Echo: The new Batman chastises Superman for his actions, warning him over the consequences of his actions. However, when he accidentally causes a villain to declare war and the weakened Superman chases after him, he does realize that he made a huge mistake.
  • It's Personal: Superman loses patience when he discovers A.R.G.U.S. has placed his friends and loved ones under government custody and seizes the Kent Farm.
  • Irony: Perry White is upset Clark has been withholding his secret identity from him and asks Jim Gordon, the new Batman, how would he feel if one of his police officers was actually Batman. Consdering Gordon admits Perry has a point, this means the irony is not lost on him.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: The event ends up pitting Superman against the all-new Batman, former Commissioner James Gordon. And like all of the others, he's willing to take down the weakened Man of Steel.
  • Man Behind the Man: Barack Obama. Yes, that Barack Obama. While he had nothing to do with the way that Steve Trevor and the rest of Homeland Security treated Superman and his friends and family, he gave passive approval for them to act. When he learns just how bad things have gotten (from the mouth of Superman himself), he gives Superman his reassurance.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: Both Lex and the new Batman, former Comissioner Gordon, think Clark is just pretending to be Superman and the real Superman is missing, simply because his powers have significantly decreased.
  • The Mole: Contessa was forced to lure Clark, Lois and Jimmy to a trap set by HORDR under blackmail. Fortunately, Superman protects them from HORDR, giving Contessa a reason to switch sides.
  • Nebulous Evil Organization: HORDR, an organization that supplies criminals organization with advanced technology and gathers information on countless people, discovering their greatest secrets, Superman included.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Lois Lane's exposure of his identity is causing a lot of trouble, not only for Superman, but also for those who knew him personally. This ends up bleeding into the upcoming Superman: Lois and Clark series, as this also affects the pre-Flashpoint Superman and Lois Lane.
    • Superman tries to talk down Ukur realizing his actions when he was powered harmed Ukur's world, only for Batman to stab the villain in the back, causing him to run off and declare war on the surface world.
  • No Ending: Because Truth was only a way to establish Superman's new status quo, the arcs end without an actual resolution. The stories in the four books end with Superman foiling the villain's plot but the villain escapes to fight another day.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: This story arc ends the status quo featured in the past five years in the Superman stories. This is exemplified when Superman meets up with Dick Grayson, who is already going through his own Status Quo-altering events in his own title, and discusses what's gone on with their lives and Bruce Wayne's.
  • Premiseville: To show support towards the Man of Steel, a neighborhood in Metropolis went and changed their name to "Kentville".
  • Police Brutality: Binghamton orders his SWAT team to beat Superman senseless and to use tear gas on the Kentville residents when they're making a non-violent protest. Some of the cops disagree with Binghamton's actions and attempt to keep peace, but they are attacked by their fellow officers, appalling Superman.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: President Barack Obama. He expresses sympathy for Superman and agrees to release his friends.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Superman's New 52 suit is changed to a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, which goes to show his transition from idealistic superhero to dour vagrant.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Perry White, normally a Benevolent Boss and Reasonable Authority Figure, who is usually characterized as having great admiration for both Superman and Clark Kent, and even implied to be a Secret Secret-Keeper because he just respects Clark/Superman that much, behaves more like J.Jonah Jameson when Clark's identity is outed. To be fair to Perry, this is right after he was injured when the Planet staff were taken hostage to draw out Clark.
  • Undying Loyalty: As usual, Jimmy Olsen towards Superman. Backing him up is a whole Metropolis neighborhood that expresses their support for the Man of Steel.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Superman has saved the world countless times, and when his secret identity is revealed, how does the world thank him? The police has ordered his arrest, the banks have cancelled his credit cards and several lawyers are suing for property damage. Even Perry White fired him from the Daily Planet.
  • Villain Team-Up: Vandal Savage, Wrath, Alexander Bend and HORDR have been working together to systematically destroy Superman and everyone he cares about and, in time, Take Over the World.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Wonder Woman implies she will be this for Clark, as her inner monologue states that "no harm will fall him while she watches over him" while he sleeps. Sure enough, when the Suicide Squad open fire on Clark, she lets them have it. However, the trope seems to be Deconstructed as Wonder Woman goes behind Superman's back and uses her lasso to find out everything about everyone and it pisses Superman off even more.
  • Wham Episode: To the entire Superman franchise.
  • Wham Line: A line that set off a flurry of debate and speculation:
    • It gets downplayed once the scene actually arrives, where he says "I don't know if I love you anymore."
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Superman snaps at Batman for striking Ukur, telling him that he's "sure as hell not Batman!"
    • Superman loses it when Lois reveals Superman's identity to the world, feeling that she had no right to expose his identity when he could have figured out a way to save the day somehow.
    • He does it again towards Wonder Woman when she opts to use her Lasso of Truth to get information out of everyone. At this point, both of Superman's loves have essentially betrayed his trust.
    • When his identity got ousted, Perry lets Clark have it for supposedly putting the lives of his fellow reporters in danger just so he could he keep his "lie of a life" a secret. He even throws away Clark's glasses and fires him from the Daily Planet.
    • Lana gives Lois a very cathartic right hook for everything she'd done.
  • The Worf Effect: Actually used to Superman's advantage with his power loss. When the Parasite ambushes him when meeting the President, Superman has an easier time beating him because with his powers reduced, the Parasite can no longer absorb them as much as he could before.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! The other Lois in Superman: Lois and Clark is incredous about her counterpart's actions.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The look on Lois' face when Sam Lane congratulates her for exposing Superman's identity.