The Superman Problem

SupergeographyOn any normal day in the DC universe, Superman flying over Wyoming and noticing a huge red orb covering the town of Riverrock wouldn’t be remarkable. It’s the kind of thing Superman would do. It even make s a strange bit of sense that Superman would be so geographically-inclined to know precisely where Riverrock, Wyoming is located, despite having no reason to need to know it. Superman would fly down and investigate it. He’d use his X-Ray vision, maybe even try to zap it with his heat vision. If that didn’t work, he might call in a buddy, like Green Lantern.

So why is all that remarkable on this particular day? Because it happened one year ago. By the current DC timeline, that means it happened shortly after Infinite Crisis ended. Which means there is no Superman, just Clark Kent.

One of the most impressive things DC has done in the last year is holding together the concept of a cohesive universe in which all their stories take place. With so many writers, artists and editors working on so many different books, that was no easy task. With elements from story A impacting titles B, C, D, and E (and sometimes even more), it’s a wonder there weren’t any major screw-ups. There were a few minor bumps in the road, but for the most part, nothing ever contradicted what was taking place in a different part of the universe and nothing was unexplainable.

Shadowpact 1Until now.

In the beginning of Shadowpact #1, Superman’s flying around. We know it’s post-Infinite Crisis. The Shadowpact has formed, the Spectre has rampaged, Detective Chimp even had time to be fitted for a new costume. The Shadowpact was involved in summoning the Spectre in Infinite Crisis #6, and they’re seen fighting in the big Metropolis battle in IC#7. There’ no denying that this takes place after the end of Infinite Crisis. Yet Superman is flying around as if nothing has happened.

How is it that the biggest character in DC Comics can show up in a book, an appearance which so clearly contradicts the continuity that has been the cornerstone of the company of the last year, and no one associated with the book could notice that there’s something wrong with it?

Just when I think I’ve got this all figured out, they go and throw me a curveball. Marvel’s supposed to be the ones with glaring continuity errors, not DC. What’s next, a likable Joe Quesada?