Manchester Black may be the key to the Supermans' secret identities being restored

art from Action Comics #1050
art from Action Comics #1050 (Image credit: DC)

For months DC has been teasing December 27's Action Comics #1050 as a "milestone" and the launch of a new era for both the Superman Family of characters and the Superman family of comic book titles.

And just a few weeks ago it revealed at least one of the ways an attack from Lex Luthor will has the potential to alter everything and "change the planet itself."

The world will forget Clark and Jon Kent are the Supermans.

That's right, once a long-time core tenet of Superman's mythos, his secret identity is going to be restored. And Jon will get one for the first time.

Action Comics #1050 main cover by Steve Beach (Image credit: DC)

"Some elements of the Lois and Clark dynamic can only be there with the secret identity," revealed writer Philip Kennedy Johnson to last month.

"The truth is a very important thing for Clark Kent," added upcoming Superman writer Joshua Williamson.

"For someone to steal that from him is a tragic moment and created a lot of interesting drama and story possibilities for the Superman line in 2023. We wanted to play with all the pieces of the great and iconic Superman mythology that we all love. When this challenge was presented to us, we wanted to make sure it was not just magically being put back in the box. There are dangerous repercussions to how this happens that lead to more story to explore. And you'll see the start of that in Action Comics #1050!"

And now a preview of the opening pages of the 48-page issue might have revealed exactly how Lex does it.

As you can see by the preview pages below, Lex has got former Superman adversary and more recent Superman ally Manchester Black hooked up by the brain to a nasty old-school science-y machine straight out of Frankenstein's lab.

After some tough talk between the two, Lex throws the lever, turning on the machine that seems to amplify and broadcast Black's telepathic and/or telekinetic abilities around the globe (and maybe killing him in the process).

What metahuman powers does Manchester Black have that fit into the secret identity scenario? Well, he just so happens to be able to create psychic illusions, erase memories, and control people telepathically at a vast scale.

See where we're going with this? Check out the preview to peer review our theory:

And if there's anything to this, last week's Superman: Son of Kal-El series finale might play a key role in how it all plays out. Look at the story very carefully for a clue as to where this might be going.

Action Comics #1050 is written by Johnson, Williamson, and Tom Taylor, with art by Mike Perkins, Clayton Henry, and Nick Dragotta, colors by Frank Martin, and lettering by Dave Sharpe. 

The issue features a main cover by Steve Beach and more than 25 variant covers which you can check out in the gallery below.

Action Comics #1050 goes on sale December 27. 

Lex Luthor has always been one of the best Superman villains of all time.

I'm not just the Newsarama founder and editor-in-chief, I'm also a reader. And that reference is just a little bit older than the beginning of my Newsarama journey. I founded what would become the comic book news site in 1996, and except for a brief sojourn at Marvel Comics as its marketing and communications manager in 2003, I've been writing about new comic book titles, creative changes, and occasionally offering my perspective on important industry events and developments for the 25 years since. Despite many changes to Newsarama, my passion for the medium of comic books and the characters makes the last quarter-century (it's crazy to see that in writing) time spent doing what I love most.