Apparently this is the look Superman will be sporting in Action Comics, which will be telling the tales of his first five years as a superhero. Apparently this period will be defined by his desire to look like a reject from the Village People. A more armor like version of his classic super-suit, sans exterior scarlet undies, will be in all the other Superman related titles.
But that's not what I'm here to rant at you about.
What I'd really like to talk about is some of the changes being made to the Superman story during the DC Reboot.
So let's take a quick look at some of them.
1. Superman and Lois Lane are no longer man and wife. That I can understand. Do a reboot, have them meet for the first time, and slowly fall in love, etc... etc... Not sure how they're going to incorporate all the back-story that they're not getting rid of into all this, but that's a problem for DC and the audience to furrow their brows about in a feeble attempt to understand.
2. Ma and Pa Kent will be dead. I can understand this as well. Being a double orphan was a key part of Superman's original origin story back in ye olde Golden Age, so it makes sense to me.
3. Superman is "going to me more Kal El than Clark Kent," and feel like an outsider from normal Earthling humanity, something that will cause him to feel the dreaded ANGST.
This I'm not so keen on because it probably misses the point of the entire character.
What was the point of the character of Superman?
Essentially he is a big blue-costume-wearing-crime-fighting metaphor for the Jewish experience in America.
He wasn't intended to be a metaphor which is why he is so good at it. Unintended metaphors are the best ones.
Think about it, Superman was driven from his home by disaster (the destruction of Krypton/pre-Holocaust Diaspora), he's taken in by America (personified by the Kansas farmers Ma & Pa Kent), and thanks to his new home realizes his true potential (The sun giving him his powers / American society giving the Jewish people a pogrom free home) and becomes a great asset to his new home (patriotic superhero / Jewish American scientists, artists, jurists, etc.).
Because of this Superman's supposed to embody optimism, be a symbol that there isn't a problem that can't be solved. That's why he clicked with audiences during the Great Depression, that's why he remained popular during WW2 as a symbol of democracy's battle with fascism.
Despite his origins as an alien, Superman was not created as a misunderstood angst-addled outsider like the members of the X-Men, nor an angry emotionally scarred vigilante like Batman. He's a supremely gifted immigrant, who was assimilated into the great melting pot, and is now using his gifts to give back, big time, which makes him a beloved figure.
So the first question is, does this desire to inject "outsider angst" into Superman spring from the intentional pursuit of a once original idea turned lazy cliche, or does it unintentionally reflect some sort of spiritual and/or philosophical ennui on the part of the creative team now behind the long running character?
The second question then is, if this is an unintentional reflection of the creative team's ennui, is it right for them to re-imagine Superman this way when the greater audience might want or need him in his more traditional role as an optimistic ideal?
Only time will provide the answer.