When it comes to DC Rebirth books, the Superman group, the Superman group stands apart. I’m not saying that as a longtime and devoted Man of Steel fan (though I am), but because the headline character is actually the version from the previous universe, as explained in Superman: Lois & Clark. Some time after that book, the New 52’s version of Superman seemingly died before DC launched their Rebirth initiative. In Superman Volume One: Son Of Superman and Superman: Action Comics Volume One: Path Of Doom, the previous incarnation of Superman leaves the black-and-silver suit behind, takes up the more familiar colors and makes his presence known to a world still reeling from his predecessor’s death.
If you’re diving into these books like I did, it makes sense to start with the Superman volume because it starts with the Superman Rebirth one-shot, which succinctly recaps what’s up with both versions of Superman and sets up both books pretty well. As you can imagine, Son Of Superman — by Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, Doug Mahnke and others — focuses on Superman’s relationship with his son Jon, who displayed his own burgeoning powers in Lois & Clark. With Superman taking a more public role in this world’s super-heroics, he also intends to start training his son in the use of his own abilities. In doing so, they wake the Eradicator, who plans on killing Jon’s human side so he can recreate Kryptonian society.
Meanwhile, over in Action Comics: Path Of Doom (which means this first volume collects #957-962 thanks to a return to the original numbering), Superman also makes his presence felt after Lex Luthor starts flying around Metropolis, calling himself Superman in the process. Supes is none too impressed and thinks Lex is playing an angle, but all that gets blown out the window when Doomsday attacks!
Because of his abilities to track down Kryptonians, Doomsday’s even more dangerous to Superman because that means the monster’s after his son later on. Luckily, Wonder Woman’s around to help keep Lois and Jon safe. After lots and lots of fighting, Superman finally figures out how to send Doomsday into the Phantom Zone and thinks he’s marked up a clear victory. However, the mysterious character of Oz, who first appeared in the Rebirth one-shot, actually intercepted the transmission and grabbed the monster for his own reasons. Oh, and a non-powered Clark Kent also appeared, but that mystery will be solved another day.
It’s pretty impossible for me to judge these books objectively because they dive so deeply into material from my childhood. Superman‘s got a crazy Eradicator while Superman fights Doomsday in Action Comics! But they also feature plenty of new elements and takes that make reading these comics a lot of fun. Hopefully that continues on into future volumes.