As writer of the twice-monthly series Action Comics, Dan Jurgens thinks of the current, post-"Reborn" Superman as a "new person," one formed from the history of both "New 52" Superman and post-Crisis Superman.
As "Superman Reborn" revealed, someone messed with Superman in the past and split him into two, causing him to live two distinct lives - one as the "New 52" Superman and the other as the post-Crisis version
But DC's "Superman Reborn" crossover put those two lives back together, creating a new gestalt version of character (and his continuity) that now serves as DC's Superman going forward.
"As for how and why [Superman's] past was altered, that’s a story that will unfold down the road," Jurgens says, hinting at the "Rebirth" mysteries that appear to involve characters from Watchmen.
Now that DC's continuity has morphed around this "Reborn" Superman, DC is going to be revealing aspects of his history within upcoming stories, with the first hints coming in Superman and Action Comics this month. So far, a new, definitive history of how Superman's parents sent him off the planet Krypton and toward Earth was established.
While Jurgens wouldn't talk about the status of the recent relationship between Wonder Woman and Superman - indicating that the answer will be revealed later - he did talk about some of the other questions concerning the post-"Reborn" Superman and Lois Lane.
Do Clark and Lois remember what happened? Are Ma and Pa Kent dead? And was this morphing the plan since Jurgens first brought back post-Crisis Superman during "Convergence"? Newsarama talked to Jurgens to find out more about his upcoming issues with Carlo Barberi, Patrick Zircher, Jack Herbert, and Viktor Bogdanovic.
Newsarama: Dan, this must have been quite a journey for you, following the married, post-Crisis version of Superman through the "Convergence" storyline, his pre-"Rebirth" existence as a secret Superman and his current role now. How long have you known that he might become Superman again?
Dan Jurgens: Quite a while.
Going all the way back to “Convergence,” we knew that Jon was going to survive to make it into the DCU. There were a lot of different ideas about how to do it and what might work best, but we knew that one way or another, we’d have him long term.
After that, we started to pull together the Superman: Lois & Clark series. From the beginning, we knew they’d survive to become the principal versions of the current versions, though the exact methodology had not yet been determined.
But the broad ideas were in place, and it’s been a pleasure to see it work out as well as it has.
Nrama: The "Superman Reborn" story involved several writers and artists. What was it like to put together this type of story that would be so important for fans of both "New 52" Superman and the post-Crisis Superman?
Jurgens: When it comes to shaping a story of this magnitude, a lot of people have to get involved. The entire Superman editorial team, Geoff Johns, Pete Tomasi, Pat Gleason, and I barricaded ourselves in a conference room and worked through the details.
We didn’t want to put off an entire segment of fans by selecting just one version of Superman to go forward. It seemed better to select the best elements of both to build the best Superman possible.
Nrama: How would you describe what's happened now to Superman - is he truly a new person, or kind of a mix of what he was before?
Jurgens: In a way, the answer would be, “All of the above.”
I think of him as a new person. There are adventures in his past we haven’t seen. Yet we selected some of the best possible aspects of his past to include, selecting from both the "New 52" Superman and pre-Flashpoint Superman, to make everything work.
And, yes, to make that work right, we discarded some elements as well.
Nrama: A lot of fans are explaining this in a lot of different ways, using "Superman Red" and "Superman Blue" and the idea of "merging" their essence. How do you explain it? What happened to Superman and Lois?
Jurgens: Superman’s past was messed with for a period of time. During that time, he was separated in two, living two distinctly different lives as two distinctly different characters.
During “Reborn,” those timelines were merged and rebuilt as one. There was essentially one Superman and one Lois.
As for how and why his past was altered, that’s a story that will unfold down the road.
Nrama: Do they remember all of it? Part of it? What are their memories of what just happened?
Jurgens: They do not remember all of it.
Superman knows that his reality was fractured for a time. He no longer remembers the details or every aspect of it.
For him, it’s somewhat like waking from a bad dream. For a brief second or two, you might remember it but the memory fades. All you know is that something has left you with an unsettled feeling.
So shall it be for Superman.
Nrama: It looks like you're going to be examining the origin story of Superman. Is this a new, definitive origin? Or just a refresher for "Rebirth"?
Jurgens: This is definitive.
By the time people have read Action Comics #977 and #978, they’ll have a much better understanding of Superman and Lois’ history and how Jon fit into it. It’s “classic” at its core but still accommodates the need for our new reality.
Nrama: Why is Superman reviewing his history in this week's issue? Does he not remember things clearly?
Jurgens: The farther away that Superman has gotten from “Reborn”, the more faded his memory and knowledge of events have become. Same for Lois and Jon.
He realizes that a power beyond Mxyzptlk messed with his life, but has no idea how far or drastic it was. As a result, he has an unsettled feeling that he’s trying to reconcile.
Nrama: The death of Ma and Pa Kent happened differently for the two sides of Superman. Will we see the definitive story of Ma and Pa Kent in this Superman's life?
Jurgens: We certainly touch on that in this story.
Nrama: Wait, are either Ma or Pa still alive in "Rebirth," now that continuity has morphed a bit?
Jurgens: Ma and Pa Kent died the night of Clark’s senior prom.
Nrama: It looks like Superman and Action are each exploring different storylines again. Can you explain what's coming up in Action Comics for the next few months?
As Superman remains troubled by what happened with Mxy, a group of his greatest enemies have banded together to take him down.
I like to think of them as an all new Superman Revenge Squad.
Nrama: There have been hints that Mr. Oz is going to be central to upcoming stories. Is that accurate?
Jurgens: Oz will have a role, yes.
Nrama: What are the biggest challenges for Superman now, as he and Lois (and Jon) begin their new life as part of this world?
Jurgens: The biggest challenges will come as they leave Hamilton County and move to Metropolis. That’s a bit down the road, but very much a part of what will be happening in their private lives.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about what's coming up in Action Comics?
Jurgens: I’ve always seen this as a book that has to reflect its title - Action Comics - and a book that should really be building a steady course that resets the stage for Superman while driving to issue #1000, which is really an epic achievement.
Laying the path work for that is really what drives us, along with making the best Superman stories possible!