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.