Starting in May, an alien infant from the planet Krypton will be blasted into space by his loving parents and eventually grow up to wear blue tights all the time. The origin story of Superman is being rebooted by DC comics again. But, this time, the current canon in the comics isn’t being changed. Instead, a new canon will exist, very briefly, before vanishing like a speeding bullet.
On Thursday, DC announced that after the release of the landmark one-thousandth issue of Action Comics in April, former Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis will actually helm three separate Superman comics series.
First is Man of Steel, arriving May 30, a six-issue series that will retell Superman’s origin and the last days of Krypton. Then, there’s the title just called Superman, a new volume beginning with a new number-one issue on July 11. And finally, the Action Comics title, which will continue with issue #1001 onward. Of these three, only Man of Steel will be a self-contained reboot/retelling of Supe’s origin, which DC promises will unearth a “terrifying” secret behind the end of Krypton.
If you’ve been reading Action Comics or Superman regularly, nothing will change other than the person writing the stories. And if you haven’t, well, there’s this guy named Superman and he’s from another planet and he can fly…
Since 1986, the title “Man of Steel” has carried a significant weight in comics, going back to John Byrne’s 1986 The Man of Steel, also a six-issue series that explored Superman’s origin in a modern context. Short version: Byrne scaled back Superman’s powers and gave Lex Luthor crazy mane of red hair. In 2013, Zack Snyder did the same with his movie, Man of Steel, only Lex’s hair was a little more in check.
Now, Bendis will contribute to that legacy with his own rebooted Man of Steel. Bendis is known mostly to regular comic readers, but he left quite an impact on popular culture in his long tenure at Marvel. It was Bendis’s comics that inspired hits like Spider-Man: Homecoming and Jessica Jones on Netflix.
Although Superman is starting all over with a new #1, fans who have kept up with all the reboots can rest easy. Depending on how you look at it, the canon of DC has been reset several times. 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and 2011 New 52 spring to mind. But since 2016’s Rebirth most of the “old” DC canon and New 52 have been integrated. And that canon is going, along with work left by current writers Pat Gleason and Peter J. Tomasi, as Superman will be “building on popularity already generated” by the current Superman team of Peter J. Tomasi and Pat Gleason.
It’s also pretty normal for there to be multiple Superman comics running at the same time. During the Death of Superman in the nineties, fans had to pick up issues of Superman, Superman: The Man of Steel, The Adventures of Superman, and Action Comics, and one Justice League issue just to keep up. But it is noteworthy that it’s Bendis, who also wrote multiple series while at Marvel, that’s got his hands on Clark Kent.
So that’s Superman in 2018: Written by Brian Michael Bendis. And it’ll begin in Bendis’s first ever DC Superman story, which will be in the jam-packed Action Comics #1000. From there, it’s a whole new beginning…that’s mostly the same.
Action Comics #1000 will be released on April 18. Man of Steel #1 hits shelves on May 30. Superman #1 will go on sale July 11. Action Comics #1001 will be available July 25.