In SUPERMAN #38, Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. made a few new things happen. While the issue wrapped up the Men of Tomorrow storyline, a few changes occurred as a result. With these changes, we’ll have to keep an eye on the series and Superman to see how he’ll be affected. One of the developments offers a big change to Superman’s history.
If you haven’t read SUPERMAN #38, be sure to check it out. There will be some spoilers for the issue below.
The big news for the issue was the addition of a new superpower for Superman. We saw it in action in SUPERMAN #38 but we’ll have to see what that means for the Man of Steel. Having a super solar flare seems more like a last resort power. It has a pretty devastating affect but it also leaves Superman drained. Chances are he’s not going to use it too often.
As a result of the power, Superman’s Kryptonian costume was destroyed. He does get a new costume although it’s not explained yet how or where he got it. We'll have to see if anything is mentioned in issue #39.
The other big change is Clark Kent revealed his identity to one of his closest friends. In all of Superman’s history, for over seventy-five years, Superman never chose to share this secret with this character. What Superman has decided is Jimmy Olsen could be trusted to know that Clark Kent is Superman.
In some ways, this is a bigger deal than Superman gaining another new power. He’s gained new powers over the years. Sharing this secret with Jimmy Olsen changes the relationship these two will have. Jimmy’s always been “Superman’s Pal.” Superman always looked out for Jimmy and even gave him a signal watch to call him if he was ever in danger. Jimmy absolutely can be trusted with this news but what effect will it have on him?
The truth is, Clark Kent does need someone he can confide in. He may be in a relationship with Wonder Woman and has Batman and the other members of the Justice League he can talk to. It’s not exactly the same. For Batman and Wonder Woman, their superhero guise is who they really are. Superman’s always tried to embrace his Clark Kent person more. With his adoptive parents dead, the only other human/non-superhero connection he has is Lana Lang, and she’s busy with her own life.
Clark Kent has been friends with Jimmy Olsen for a few years now. We saw their friendship grow since Superman started making public appearances in the early issues of ACTION COMICS. Jimmy and Clark were even roommates for a time. Jimmy may seem a little flakey at times, but as shown in this issue, he does have a big heart when he donated billions of dollars (from his parents) to those in need.
Of course the big questions is, what about Lois Lane? Long time Superman readers and Lois Lane fans obviously feel she should be the one Clark confides in. The fact is, where things stand in the current New 52 stories, Clark and Lois just aren’t that close. We may have seen a bit of a connection in the pages of SUPERMAN UNCHAINED but Lois is busy in her own life. As far as we know, she’s still in a committed relationship with Jonathan Carroll. We can assume and hope that someday Lois and Clark will find each other in the way they did before. As it happened in the past, it’s more important for Lois to fall for and appreciate Clark Kent before realizing he is actually Superman. That way it’s clear she’s in love with Clark and not just with Superman.
Hopefully this knowledge Clark bestowed upon Jimmy doesn’t cause any problems. While Jimmy, or Jim, might be a little more mature, he’s still doing some of the same things he did before. He’s still trying to get a great shot of Superman to sell to Perry White. If Jimmy’s going to make it and be known as a great photographer, he should earn it. He doesn’t need a big favor from his pal in order to make a name for himself. It’s important for friends to help each other out but Jim doesn’t need his career handed to him just because he happens to be close buddies with Superman. Also in the past, Jimmy constantly needed to be rescued by Superman. Hopefully he won't become more reckless having this knowledge. He'll need to be sure he can keep the secret from Lois, Perry, and all of Superman's enemies. Having this knowledge could have some repercussions.
It might not feel like too big of a deal but for Jimmy to finally know Clark's secret, it really shows that he is Superman's Pal. How he adjust to this knowledge and whether or not he can handle it is something we'll have to stay tuned to see what happens next.