Clark Kent is Now the Center of Attention

The world knows Superman’s secret identity. Now what?

The secret is out and now we see the aftermath of Superman’s decision to reveal himself as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent.

Superman 19
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils by Ivan Reis
Inks by Oclair Albert, Julio Ferreira, Danny Miki and Joe Prado
Colors by Alex Sinclair

Following Bendis’ EVENT LEVIATHAN miniseries, where all the secrets of everyone in the DC Universe ended up in the hands of covert group Leviathan, only one guy decided to get out in front of it all. Superman, the first real superhero, last month revealed his secret identity to the world. It’s a major change to the status quo of the DC Universe, and I can’t imagine anyone but Brian Bendis doing something this big.

Up until this reveal, Bendis had gone a long way to push away all the changes to Superman’s life since Rebirth started. His pre-teen son was aged significantly and shipped off to the future with the Legion. His Kryptonian father, Jor-El, was sent back to the moment of Krypton’s destruction. Clark and his wife, award-winning writer LOIS LANE, have been somewhat separate as Lois works to unravel the mystery of who’s trying to kill her. The reversions have managed to clear the way to make this a significant change to Superman’s life without any of those other changes overwhelming readers. It’s a big risk that could alienate long-time fans.

The crazy thing is, not only does Bendis’ latest twist work, I think it really makes sense with the current state of the world. Whether the change stands the test of time remains to be seen, but I think it should stand… at least for a while.

The latest issue deals with the fallout of Superman’s announcement, mainly within the office of Daily Planet managing editor and my unabashed hero, Perry White. In a meeting with Kent, Lane and photographer Jimmy Olsen, White essentially sums up Clark Kent’s professional career of being a bumbling reporter that quoted himself as Superman in his stories. He then does what any good newspaperman would have done after discovering one of his employees has lied to him for years: he fires Clark Kent.

But in a world where newspapers are always looking for a hook and a way to bring in more revenue and even more eyes to their product and content, White does what any good managing editor would do to bring in the clicks: he hires back Clark Kent.

The interaction between Clark and Perry – and the decisions Perry makes in this issue – feel real and grounded in the modern reality of the news media. Especially the part where Perry asked if Batman wanted a gig writing for the Planet. My only gripe is that we never see Perry tell Clark he always knew about Clark’s secret identity, because he’s not stupid. But that’s minor at best.

DC Comics has a couple of specials coming to show how Superman’s big reveal has affected both his friends and his enemies, which means this story is nowhere near done being told. Much like everyone anticipating the interaction between Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson after Spidey took off his mask, the first full glimpses of Lex Luthor’s reactions should be a lot of fun.

I’m intrigued to see how much this changes the day-to-day workings of Clark Kent’s life. He’s not really going to get the chance to continue being an investigative reporter, since everyone knows who he is now. But I bet whenever his byline appears on the Planet’s website, the click rate goes through the roof.

This should be an arc that we’re all paying attention to. It could have make major waves throughout the rest of the DC Comics universe.