Exclusive: Dan Jurgens And Peter J. Tomasi Reveal The Consequences Of ‘Superman Reborn’ [Interview]
"Superman Reborn" has been a wild ride full of surprise returns, emotional action, and huge status-quo shifts for The Man of Tomorrow. Action Comics #976 --- the conclusion to "Superman Reborn" --- is in stores today, and ComicsAlliance had the chance to talk exclusively to Dan Jurgens and Peter J. Tomasi about what its events mean for Superman, his roster of supporting characters, and the ongoing mystery of DC Rebirth.
NOTE: This interview contains some spoilers for Action Comics #976. You should read that issue first to see the big changes to Superman's continuity for yourself.
ComicsAlliance: How was Mr. Mxyzptlk chosen as the bad guy for Superman Reborn?
Dan Jurgens: Back when we were pulling the Lois and Clark series together, I realized that part of the problem of integrating that version of Clark/Superman into the DCU was the fact that Superman’s identity (New 52 Superman’s) had been exposed. The world knew Clark and Superman were the same person.
As I moved onto Action, I knew we should deal with that right away. So, from day one, I said, “We need a second Clark Kent, and the guy who can pull that off is Mxyzptlk.”
We set it up as a longer term play, and as the story got bigger, we decided to cross the story over with Superman and make it a big event. It really worked out well.
CA: Mxy is somewhat terrifying in this story, but not so much that it’s a drastic reinvention that does a disservice to the character. Was it tough to walk the line there?
Peter J. Tomasi: In my mind, this is all part of the "Rebirth" initiative. Take a strange character like Mxy, yet still maintain his foundational DNA, and play with him a bit. Shake him up. Add some shadings and craziness.
What's great about a character like Mxy is that he can be several things within the blink of an eye: fun, scary, childlike, psychotic, etc. Within the context of the story, Mxy has been imprisoned, everything he knows and loves was taken from him --- especially the number one element that makes his life complete; the attention and focus of Superman. At our summit several months back, Pat, Dan, and I realized that without that central factor in Mxy's life, he would become unhinged, so we took that concept and ran with it.
So in other words, no, it wasn't tough to walk the line with Mxy's character once we all starting exploring what it meant for him to live in a world without Superman. And in regards to Pat [Gleason] and Doug [Mahnke]'s artwork, I feel they beautifully captured a whole spectrum of emotions that only make Mxy an even more interesting character as we move forward.
CA: In Paul Dini and Ian Churchill’s back-up, we see that there’s only one Mr. Mxyzptlk across all incarnations and media. Does this signal the return, even inadvertently, of Hypertime, which was built off a similar idea?
DJ: I think it’s much more a reflection of Mxyzptlk’s true nature as an other-dimensional being. He’s capable of almost anything, which is one of the things that makes him fun!
CA: How exactly has reality changed? Do Clark and Lois walk back into the Daily Planet and everyone knows they’re married and have a kid?
DJ: In effect… yes.
The events of Action #976 reset and reshape the entire Superman timeline. Where there had been two Superman, their realities have now been fused into one timeline with just one of them. And, yes, Clark and Lois are back at the Daily Planet. Not only does everyone know they had a child; they were there shortly after Jon was born. The Daily Planet crew has known Jon his entire life.
Action Comics #977 and #978 will delve a bit more deeply into that timeline, so readers have a common understanding about Superman’s past.
CA: What kind of knock-on effects does this have on the larger DC Universe and on the other books DC publishes? Do the changes to Superman’s continuity effect the memories of his Justice League teammates and his enemies?
PJT: Obviously, that's a loaded question that I can't get into too deep at this juncture, but as we've been presenting "Superman Reborn" and all that follows in the coming months, each and every DCU book has threads that they're going to pull and tug in the own distinctive way regarding "Rebirth," until sometime soon when all the questions will be answered.
CA: Where does Superman go from here? There are still lots of unanswered questions, especially relating to Mr. Oz. Where should fans look next for answers to the bigger DC Universe mystery?
DJ: I’ve always believed that a good story ends with a satisfying answer and conclusion, while also setting up and hinting at the next big story.
It’s no secret at this point that Mr. Oz has been a key player in everything that’s happened --- as well as a presence beyond. It played with Superman’s entire timeline, which of course touches on areas well beyond the Man of Steel’s. That sets us up with an amazing story going forward!
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