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Superman #51 Review: What’s going to happen to New 52 Superman?

superman 51 review spoilers

Apparently Superman can’t catch a break in his movies or his comics. Superman #51 kicked off the Super League crossover event, and it was quite the dramatic beginning. So let’s discuss Superman #51!

Spoilers follow.

We know that DC are planning their next big change, with Rebirth getting ready to launch in June. They have kept a lot of things close to their chest, including what’s happening with Superman.

Superman #51 opens with the revelation that Superman is dying. From the panels we know that this issue takes place after the events of Darkseid War and JSA. He’s been through a lot, so really it’s not surprising that he’s dying.

Similarly to All-Star Superman, Superman wants to make sure that after he dies that Earth will remain safe. I love what a Superman moment that was. He isn’t angry he’s dying, he’s angry that he can’t save people anymore.

superman 51 review

So he goes off to see Lana, his oldest friend. I think it’s really important that in a story like this, to showcase Superman’s humanity. To show that even though he may be this dying god, he’s still that kid who grew up on a farm.

Even though the whole “Superman is dying” thing has been done many times, it’s still emotional to hear him talk about where he wants to be buried. You have to love the addition of the Kents in the Fortress now.

We see throughout the issue events of other people. One is trying to hack into the Fortress, and looks to be making her own Superman. Another is of a criminal who gains powers (and a S on his chest). We know that a big part of this arc is about Clark forming his own Super League, to take over when he’s gone. So I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more from these people.

And in a very classic Superman moment, we see Clark pay a visit to Lois (Lois and Superman flying together never gets old). This is a relationship that has had its ups and downs over the past 5 years, but for now they’re back to being best friends. He tells Lois that he wants her to tell the world about Clark Kent and Superman.

superman 51 review lois superman panel

Okay so what’s going on? The biggest theory going around right now is that New 52 Superman will be killed off. He will then be replaced by pre-Flashpoint Superman. You know the one we’ve been seeing in Lois & Clark, and the one Dan Jurgens will be writing about in Action Comics come Rebirth.

Now I know a lot of people don’t like New 52 Superman, their Superman is pre-Flashpoint Superman. That’s fair enough. I’m the opposite. I enjoy pre-Flashpoint Superman, but I love New 52 Superman. His character has evolved from an immature and naive guy, to a selfless and inspiring hero. We’ve seen this character grow over 5 years to a point where he is at his peak in terms of characterisation.

He’s not overly powerful, is relatable, and has interesting relationships and stories. And what now? They’re just going to pull the rug out from under us and just replace him? New 52 Superman is the one whose a founding member of the Justice League, is friends with Batman and the rest of the League, worked at the Daily Planet and had his identity revealed to the world. How do you go about just replacing that with a different Superman? (Yes I understand the irony in the situation, but this isn’t a reboot this is having the same universe and just changing the Superman)

superman 51 review spoilers

I don’t mind there being 2 Supermen at the same time. And it is difficult to have them on the same Earth. But there are plenty of Earths out there in the Multiverse that don’t have a Superman. We could have 2 different Superman stories, that aren’t limited by the presence of the other Superman.

I know DC are re-evaluating things that didn’t work in the New 52, and maybe not everyone feels the same way, but I believe the New 52 Superman did work. It may have taken some time, and some creative teams to work out the kinks, but we did get an amazing Superman, let’s not take that away now.

Now of course nothing is permanent in comics so if they do kill him to replace him with the other Superman, New 52 Superman could always come back later. But we can’t keep switching out the 2 different Supermen, it would be confusing and won’t allow for a proper connection with these characters.

I know I’m sounding very defensive right now, but I’m feeling the need to protect my Superman! Obviously with characters who have been around for so long, people resonate with different aspects of the character and the mythos. Why not continue to grow this Superman? Why not commit to this new world you have created and improve upon it?

superman 51 review

Hopefully they don’t outright kill off New 52 Superman, and instead have him maybe be de-powered, hanging around as Clark Kent. Maybe not hanging around as Clark Kent seeing as everyone knows who he is. We know that the New Super-Man (written by Gene Luen Yang) will be absorbing New 52 Superman’s powers. So perhaps instead of death, he’ll have no powers. Which will allow pre-Flashpoint Superman to hang around a while, until the eventual powering up and return of New 52 Superman.

Again this is when things start to get convoluted and weird, but it is comic books so what can you expect?

Right now we really don’t know what’s going to happen, but hopefully all characters are treated with respect.

Need to also mention that the art for Superman #51 was absolutely gorgeous, done by the wonderful Janin. It’s good to see Superman actually look like Superman again!

Overall Superman #51 was an emotional ride that set up the big event that is to come. It’s quiet moments with Lana and Lois which really showcase the kind of character he is. Crossovers can be annoying, I know, but this seems one that will be worth it. You know as long as they don’t kill of my main Supes… 8.2/10

Superman #51
Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Mikel Janin
DC Comics


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