Heroes and Villains React to Superman’s Secret Identity Reveal

Superman: Heroes

In “Superman #18” Superman held a press conference to tell the world that he was Clark Kent. Now, in two different one-shot specials (“Superman: Heroes” and “Superman: Villains”) we find out how the rest of the world reacts to the revelation.

In an interview with ComicBookResources.com, writer Brian Michael Bendis talks about which character’s reaction has been his favorite so far…

Bendis: I gotta tell you, I love all of them. And I’m not just saying that. I completely enjoyed this expression of their character, because they all deeply love each other and they’re a family. And so they’re just handling it like a real family among the Daily Planet.

And then the villains. Some of which, no matter what they thought about Superman’s strength, a lot of them thought of themselves as smarter or clever than him. And this threw that all off. Now, they don’t know what to do. The rulebook has been thrown out, and around the same time that Lex Luthor threw out his rulebook, too. That was separate. That was from [Scott Snyder], but Luthor is working on a different plane, and now Superman’s working on a different plane.

Superman actually says the line in the Villains special, which you haven’t seen yet, but he says, “You know, I guess, really for the first time, neither Lex or I knew what the other was going to do. And that’s pretty frustrating.” And then he says, “And refreshing.” Like, it’s both things.

So everyone from Lex Luthor to Toyman to Bizarro gets to reflect and react. But the heroes – all of them look up to Superman. He’s the gold standard on which they all have to either, you know, apply or react; now see him differently and relate to him differently. Some feel closer to him. Some feel scared for him. Some heroes cannot help but think of the worst-case scenario. That’s where most of their brains go, whereas Superman goes most of the time to the best-case scenario. So trying to maneuver a man who’s looking at the world through the best-case eyes, while the real world might be coming for him is in itself a great story to tell.

Read the entire interview at CBR.com

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February 13, 2020 4:10 pm

My favorite part about superman is that he is himself as superman and his disguise is Clark kent. A way to get close to the action and learn things that a man in a bright red cape can’t do. Lois and Clark researching a story to find out WHERE superman needs to rush in and save the day is what makes superman so unique. Yet they’ve been pushing away from this for years. Lois and Clark tv series pushed away, Smallville seemed like it was on par but Clark should have learned much sooner to act different as himself. Man… Read more »

February 13, 2020 4:54 pm
Reply to  micah

I think whether you view Clark or Superman as the real identity probably comes down to where/when you first encountered or fell in love with the character. I really enjoyed the Chris Reeves Superman films, where Superman was “real” and Clark the character, but it was the post Crisis Superman comics that grabbed me. In these Clark was the real person long before he took on the character of Superman. He was an everyman who happened to have amazing powers and was brought up to do what’s right. It was almost like this Clark then spent his time playing two… Read more »

February 13, 2020 11:36 pm
Reply to  StuB

I’ve always preferred golden age. Bumbling oaf, Fleischer cartoons Schuster and Siegel. This is where he came to be. Its the best.

February 15, 2020 8:37 am
Reply to  micah

I have a bit of a preference for the Post-Crisis approach but that isn’t to say I don’t enjoy the other. I think both are valid and depending on how they’re written they work well. Ideally, I’d enjoy an equilibrium, I guess I would describe it as a middle ground between George Reeves and Christopher Reeve if that makes sense. In either approach it lets the reader have that transition from the ordinary self to the extraordinary one and back again. It’s not a literal transformation in the Billy Batson Shazam sense but still the idea of transformation. Yes we’ve… Read more »

February 15, 2020 3:10 pm
Reply to  MattComics

I would agree with this overall statement.

February 13, 2020 8:04 pm

Words cannot express how much I dislike this man and want him off the Superman books.

February 13, 2020 11:12 pm

I don’t think the concept of a superhero secret identity and what its function is in a superhero story works at all as any sort of parallel for a person in the real world struggling with coming out. Also, I think if the only idea you have for a classic character like this one is to destroy the basic premise, then maybe you don’t actually have any ideas. You’re just trying to look “edgy” by “breaking the rules”. I don’t think he should be making his about George Takei or anyone else’s experience. This really just seems to be about… Read more »

February 14, 2020 1:18 am

Dear DC,

You won’t be getting any more of my money while Bendis is on these books. Not even for trades/reprints of older material. At the end of the month, when there are only lousy, store brand bagels in the employee kitchenette, you will know who is to blame.


February 14, 2020 11:10 am
Reply to  afriend

I hope that the next writer to come along will write a story about Mxy fixing this by changing reality and having it be all a dream. So Clark would say to Lois,” I had the weirdest dream last night. I dreamt that Jon aged 7 years in the coarse of a few days, my biological father Jor-el was alive and evil, and I gave up my secret identity.”

Then Lois would say something like,” That does sound weird Smallville. It’s just a dream. Don’t worry about it.”

To the next writer at DC, please, please, please make this happen.

February 15, 2020 8:13 am
Reply to  Superman2878

I’m at the point where I don’t even need an in continuity explanation, magic or otherwise. Just start the next issue like it never happened and leave it in the dust.

February 15, 2020 3:12 pm
Reply to  MattComics

I would rather a fresh start sometimes with each new writer. Kind of like else worlds. A writer comes in….tells a story, if the next writer wants he/she can expand or start fresh.

February 15, 2020 6:13 pm
Reply to  micah

I just want this Clark giving up his secret identity story to be finished. Superman needs his Clark Kent persona.

February 14, 2020 11:58 am

When I was a kid growing up reading Superman comics they’d have off the wall stories that were titled as an “Imaginary Tale” of what if. An example of that would have been a story revolving “what if” Jor-El, his wife and Kal had all escaped to Earth. This would have fit into that category.

February 14, 2020 12:54 pm
Reply to  redcape

And also in that instance it would have been a story lasting for a single issue or maybe 2 instead of something that slogs on and on as the “new status quo” or at least the status quo until the sound of wallets closing finally reaches DC’s ears.

February 14, 2020 5:38 pm
Reply to  MattComics

In Action Comics #593, John “The Devil” Byrne wrote a story in which Superman was literally raped. It was handled exceptionally poorly. Like with less sensitivity to that subject than Superman IV shows subtlety to the nuclear arms issue.
And STILL showed more respect for Superman’s legacy and mythology than Bendis has.

Super El
February 14, 2020 7:12 pm

Bendis doesn’t write good comics regarding anything stronger than Daredevil or Moon Knight. He had this problem with Avengers, he had this problem with X-Men, and he’s having this problem with Superman. Give him Batman, for all I care.

February 15, 2020 8:14 am
Reply to  Super El

He’d probably do to Bruce what he did to Tim Drake. Bruce would throw the cape and cowl away and the title would be changed to WAYNE. Though I wonder if current DC powers that be would be much more willing to exercise some actual editorial control when it comes to their real fav’rit.

February 14, 2020 7:14 pm

So from what I understand of this is,

Some super heroes feel closer to Superman for letting his secret identity out, or feel concerned for Superman’s well being for letting his secret identity out.

Some super villains are confused by the news that Clark Kent is Superman.

And a lot of the fans including myself feel that this was a bad idea……..

Was this really a good idea DC???

Because I don’t think it was.

February 15, 2020 12:30 am
Reply to  Superman2878

Agreed. They keep doing things to separate superman from what he was. Hes getting more generic the more they jack with him. I want boy scout superman and shy kent back. Not the same stories other characters have….but with superman’s name attached…