Who is the doppelgänger Clark Kent?
Early in the new Action Comics run, a new version of Clark Kent showed up — one that didn't appear to know he was secretly Superman and had a story about the former Superman telling him to go into hiding.
He didn't belong, but there was no way to check his story, since New 52 Superman was dead, and he seemed to check out as a powerless version of Clark.
Now he turns out to be a villain, and although his true identity hasn't been revealed, readers have seen a few clues:
- During the character's earliest appearances in Action Comics, Superman scanned and examined the "other Clark" at the Fortress of Solitude. But he was found to be 100 percent human with no Kryptonian DNA. To Superman and his advanced technology, he appeared to be a truly human version of Clark Kent.
- At the end of Action Comics #974 — which led into the beginning of "Superman Reborn," the duplicate Clark Kent saw the current Kent/"Smith" family (the pre-52 Superman with Lois and his son Jon). And suddenly he said "it's all coming back to me." He said that he "remembers." He says about Lois, "You've ruined my life." And he's ticked off.
- He does appear to have powers. He can disappear into thin air, it seems — even beyond the perception of Lois or Superman — and he has some type of ability to make a car work without anyone driving it.
- He's drawn to Lois — so much so that he bought her a ring and acts like an obsessed creep by following her. He often has an awkward manner of speaking, even annoying at times. And he appears to be a Clark Kent whose parents are still alive.
- He knows about the pre-New 52 Superman. He's aware of his life pre-Flashpoint, so much that he somehow produced a photo album of pictures from his life in that other universe.
The leading suspects:
New 52 Superman: Readers have been wondering when the New 52 Superman might return, and some fans suspect the Clark Kent doppelgänger might be him. However, this character's relentless pursuit of Lois doesn't fit well with that theory. New 52 Superman was in love with Wonder Woman. He also never came across as a creep, and it's unlikely that he'd blame Lois for ruining his life. Plus, how would he know details about the pre-52 universe?
Villain from Superman #52: Some readers have guessed that the Solar Superman dude (the one who glowed orange in "The Final Days of Superman") has returned. He was the last villain New 52 Superman fought before he died. He was annoying, so the speech pattern fits, and he truly thought he was Superman. But there's a problem — the villain showed up post-"Rebirth" in The New Super-Man. In this month's issue, in fact, he was shown rotting in a Chinese prison. So it doesn't fit for him to also be pretending he's Clark in Action.
Dr. Manhattan: This is a long shot, but the key to the theory is the color blue. After Clark, Lois and Jon looked at the photo album left behind by the other Clark, their house started disappearing in some type of blue flame. And eventually, Jon was engulfed by the blue energy too. With DC Universe: Rebirth #1 making it clear that the Watchmen character was involved in the creation of the New 52, his involvement in these events seems likely. However, the blue is also associated with the current, pre-52 Superman: The character left a blue handprint in both Superman #1 and Superman Annual #1 (the latter even turning Swamp Thing blue), and both stories hinted that the blue was connected to Supeman not being what he seemed. So…the blue seems connected to something bigger than just doppelgänger Clark.
Another Superboy: There have been a few Superboy characters, from the New 52's DNA-cocktail version of Kon-El to the pre-52 Conner Kent, that could have come back for "Rebirth." And the way that Jon Kent/Superboy became the key character to disappear would fit with a Superboy wanting his place back in continuity. Similar to the way that the pre-52 Wally West returned — and the way his fellow Titans have realized parts of their pre-52 life — Conner Kent could have been come back similarly. But neither Conner nor New 52 Kon-El had any romantic ties to Lois Lane, and their knowledge of Superman's past surely wouldn't include photos.
Superboy Prime: OK, nobody's dialogue is more annoying that this character, so that fits. The character, who was originally a hero from Prime Earth (pre-New 52), turned villainous, so his attack on Superman and his family also makes sense. And it would be just like Superboy Prime to think Lois and Clark ruined him. But when Superman took "other Clark" to the Fortress of Solitude, Superboy Prime would read as a Kryptonian, wouldn't he? Even if he was from Krypton in the pre-52 Earth Prime universe?