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Superman will ditch his secret identity in December, no takebacksies

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Bendis: ‘I don’t do fake out stories’

Superman apprehends Firefly and Killer Moth in The Man of Steel #1, DC Comics (2018). Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis/DC Comics

This December, Superman will reveal to the world that he and mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent are one and the same. And, according to writer Brian Michael Bendis, it’s not a trick, a twist, a joke, or an alternate universe — it’ll be the new status quo of Superman.

“On some level, this is what DC brought me here for,” Bendis told the New York Times in an interview about the change, revealed in solicits for December’s Superman #18. But he “didn’t want to stir things up right away. I had to earn my place.”

It won’t be the first time Superman’s secret identity has been public knowledge. A 2015 story arc had Lois Lane out him as Clark Kent on the front page of the Daily Planet, but it didn’t last particularly long. (Technically, that Lois and Clark aren’t even the same versions as the current DC Universe’s Lois and Clark... look, it’s a long story.)

And this isn’t the first time Bendis has handled a big identity reveal with long-lasting consequences, either. Under his pen, Daredevil lost his secret identity for years, only reinstating it after some global mind-control shenanigans. And it seems like he means this one to also have wide-ranging ramifications.

“Everybody who’s ever been in contact with him is going to have a completely different perspective and reaction to this,” Bendis told the Times. “Some heroes are going to be thrilled, some heroes are going to be livid, some villains are going to change their ways.”

There’s a lot going on in Superman’s world right now. His wife, Lois, is on the trail of a massive story; his son, Jon, is heading centuries into the future on a kind of time travel exchange program with the teenage super team the Legion of Super-Heroes. Meanwhile, a mysterious group called Leviathan has taken over the super spy underworld and is planning something very big and bad.

Revealing that Clark Kent and Lois Lane, internationally recognized reporters for their work on Superman, are, in fact, Superman and Superman’s wife — would add some real professional headaches to Superman’s already full plate. But, it seems like Bendis — and the other writers currently working on Superman-adjacent books — are well aware of the ramifications and eager to explore them.

“We wanted to do this because behind it is 1,000 brand-new Superman stories that have never been told,” Bendis said.

The big change will happen in Superman #18, out on Dec. 11, and also tie in to December’s issue of Lois Lane #7, out on Dec. 1.