As Superman #6 concludes “Son of Superman,” the status quo is restored when the Kryptonian oversoul is set free—but not after their pit stop inside The Man of Steel superfuels him—and Superman, not wanting to leave his dog inside such a cruel kennel, rips Krypto body and soul from the parasitic Eradicator. While Jon and Lois had the best seats to this battle, the audience for this bout turned out to be vast, as the world pointed their cameras toward the Kryptonian struggle on the moon.
When the Superfamily’s lunar adventure is at an end and they return to Earth, Clark, seeing this Earth is accepting him as their Man of Tomorrow, decides to reveal Jon to his new friends in this Earth’s Justice League. But he doesn’t introduce Jon with his given name, but as Superboy, a revelation paired with a cool costume retread and a sense of wonder at whether DC Comics has worked out a deal with the Siegel and Shuster heirs so that they can use representations of the Boy of Steel in their media again. I should mention also that Clark gives his son not one new identity, but two, as before the costume debut, he gives his son glasses that he doesn’t need and a suggestion that Jon live his life with the secret of the S like his father.
Will this Superboy myth be as reassuring as the 1940s original, in which the child readers, seeing meek and mild Clark Kent become the Kent’s good son and Smallville’s favorite son, Superboy, had an immediate tonic for their insecurity and anxiety? Or is this variation on the Superboy myth more for parent readers this time around, a reassurance that a child of steel lurks within every offspring, ready to prove true every parental aspiration? The two-sided message of Superboy at the opposite ends of this historic continuum is nearly as ambivalent as Clark’s gifts to Jon: glasses for the express purpose of hiding his gifts, and a flamboyant costume for the express purpose of holding his torch aloft.
While the conclusion of this storyline marks not only a victory but satisfying beats for Clark, Lois, and Jon’s story arcs, there is the usual sense of foreboding that you feel after happy moments in a Tomasi “season,” i.e. that the icons are being set up like so many bowling pins in preparation for a tumble a few issues later. Hopefully Jon isn’t just being puffed full of admiration for his dad so that this respect can be deflated during Super Sons, but there is that sense here of looking into a shaking glass house. Additionally, Clark is currently able to juggle Best Superhero and Best Dad Ever, but will his upcoming attempt to be Best Justice League Team Player unbalance this?
Superman #6 marks another superb issue from Tomasi, Gleason, and co., with not only exciting superhero fights, but also more thought-provoking events and emotionally satisfying character beats. It may very well be the best of the first completed story arcs in DC Rebirth, and both those interested in adding a new comic to their pull list, as well as lapsed Superman fans looking for a reason to come back, will find something good here.