Back in 2011, the DC Universe was rebooted with the launch of The New 52. Among the changes, Superman no longer wore his iconic red trunks. The sleeker look of his new Kryptonian “armor” made more sense and appeared more practical, but it didn’t sit right with a lot of fans.
As we saw the return of some classic attributes of the Man of Steel, including Clark and Lois being married once again (and even having a son named Jonathan), the red shorts finally came back in Action Comics #1000.
Many rejoiced but were left scratching their heads. There wasn’t any explanation why Superman was suddenly wearing his “underwear” on the outside once again. The only major acknowledgement was in the final story written by Brian Michael Bendis with art and color by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair (as seen in the header image at the top of the page).
With about three months passing, it felt as if it was just a welcomed changed we should simply accept. People change their outfits all the time. Why shouldn’t Superman be allowed to do the same?
Then came Man of Steel #6 by Bendis, Jason Fabok, and Sinclair.
**There will be spoilers below!**
Throughout the main story of Superman and Supergirl’s battle against Rogal Zaar, there’s been a backstory hinting at the disappearance of Lois and Jonathan. In the previous issues, it was revealed who dropped in on the Kents and made the declaration that Jonathan had to leave. (You’ll have to read the series to find out why he has to leave).
Because of Superman’s responsibilities, he knows he can’t leave Earth. Lois is able to make arrangements for work and decides she’ll go with their son. As Superman struggles with this decision, he gives Lois his costume to help protect her.
Because of the Kryptonian technology of the suit, it can adjust to fit her frame. Clark just says he’ll “find something” else to wear. That means he decided to go back to his classic outfit (even though because of the mix of continuity in the New 52 and Rebirth eras, it’s unclear whether or not he actually wore this costume in the current timeline).
It’s a great and simple answer. It makes perfect sense. We don’t need an overly contrived explanation. The red shorts may look weird, but it’s part of who Superman is. Like it or not, the shorts are here to stay. That is perfectly okay with me.
Be sure to read the entire Man of Steel miniseries and get ready for what’s to come with more secrets of Krypton’s destruction to be revealed.