Just when you thought that the post-Crisis Superman was done, DC brought him back, and then waved the continuity wand and made him front and center.
This map covers the Tomasi and Jurgens runs of Superman and Action Comics, and the volumes are specifically designed to work around (and sometime share) volumes in the larger DC Rebirth set that follows the larger meta-narrative of the reboot.
To clarify the volume numbers of the Superman series:
-Volume 1 was the original Superman series that began in 1939, was renamed to Adventures of Superman in the 80s, reverted to Superman in 2006, and was ended by the launch of the New 52 in 2011.
-Volume 2 was the post-Crisis series that ran for 226 issues between 1987 and 2006.
-Volume 3 was the New 52 series that began in 2011.
-Volume 4 was the Rebirth series that began in 2016.
-Volume 5 is the series relaunched by Bendis in 2018.
Unless otherwise noted, any Superman issues in this map are from volume 4. Issue numbers in parentheses are the legacy numbers, adding the various volumes of a series together.
Convergence: Superman #1-2
Superman: Lois and Clark #1-8
The backup story from Convergence: Superman #2 can be cut out.
The Final Days of Superman (HC)
Superman #51 (765)
Action Comics #51 (955)
Superman/Wonder Woman #28
Action Comics #52 (956)
Superman/Wonder Woman #29
Superman #52 (766)
The issues in this book are from the New 52 volumes and feature the New 52 Superman in the lead, although the post-Crisis version makes an appearance.
DC Rebirth #1 occurs here.
Superman Rebirth #1
Justice League #52 (last issue of New 52 JL series)
Action Comics #957-962
Superman #1-6 (767-772)
Justice League Rebirth #1
Superman #7-9 (773-775)
The order of the opening arcs here is determined by Superman’s facial hair. He still has a beard in Superman Rebirth #1, shaves it in Action #957, and doesn’t have it in Superman #1. Justice League #52 is a story by Dan Jurgens focused on Lex Luthor, setting up his role in Action Comics, and could have just as easily been released as “Action Comics Rebirth” #1. Justice League Rebirth #1 is optional, but included as it shows Superman learning to integrate with the Justice League. It’s placed here based on an indirect reference to the League in Superman #7. Justice League vs. Suicide Squad likely fits in between these volumes.
Men of Steel
Action Comics #963-972
Superman #10-11 (776-777)
Superman Annual #1
Superman #12-17 (778-783)
There are probably a few different ways to organize the arcs between the two series up to this point, but the only significant chronology placement is that Superman #12 needs to take place at some point after Action #966.
Action Comics #973-974
Superman #18 (784)
Action Comics #975
Superman #19 (785)
Action Comics #976
Action Comics #977-978
Supergirl #8 (minus last three pages – “Days Later…”)
This volume is also part of the DC Rebirth event map. The backup feature of Action #975 can remain in place.
“The Button” occurs here.
Superman #20-26 (786-792)
Action Comics #979-984
Superman #27-28 (793-794)
Action Comics #985-986
Superman #33-36 (799-802)
Superman #29-32 are fill-in arcs that feel more like they should go with other series such as Green Lantern and Deathstroke, so I opted to skip them.
The Oz Effect
Action Comics #987-991
Detective Comics #965-968
Action Comics #992-998
Superman #37 (803)
Teen Titans #15
Superman #38 (804)
This volume is also part of the DC Rebirth event map. The Detective Comics arc is “A Lonely Place of Living”, and spins out of the ending of Action #987, although the arc doesn’t feature Superman. The Oz Effect Aftermath in Action #992 continues directly into the “Booster Shot” arc that runs in Action #993-998. The last five issues of this volume contain the Super Sons of Tomorrow crossover, which picks up on plot threads from the first two arcs in this book.
“Dark Nights: Metal” occurs here. Not specifically part of the Rebirth narrative, but back story for the ultimate conclusion in Death Metal.
These last few volumes went through a number of revisions as I kept figuring out how all of the various arcs fit together. Here’s all of the continuity notes:
-”Imperius Lex” in Superman #33-36 was referenced as already having happened in Action Comics #997 (part of “Booster Shot”).
-”A Lonely Place of Living” in Detective Comics #965-968 spins out of the conclusion of Action Comics #987 (part 1 of “The Oz Effect”). While that arc doesn’t feature Superman, it does set up the plotline for “Super Sons of Tomorrow” (beginning in Superman #38).
-”The Oz Effect Aftermath” in Action Comics #992 continues directly into “Booster Shot” in Action #993-998. Technically, there could be a break between Action Comics #991-992 to fit other Superman stories in, but it would be a big stretch based on how Superman’s acting in Action #992.
-Writer Scott Snyder is on record saying that “Dark Nights: Metal” takes place after “A Lonely Place of Living” and “The Oz Effect”.
-The only clue to place “Super Sons of Tomorrow” after “Metal” would be the publication order of the Teen Titans series (#12 is part of “Metal” and #15 is part of “SSoT”). But my logic is that if “Super Sons of Tomorrow” had been published as a standalone mini-series, I would have no problems placing it before “Metal”. Since Teen Titans #15 was not written by the regular writer and I don’t plan on collecting any further issues of the series, I don’t have a problem with those issues being out of publication order.
Family of Steel
Superman #39-44 (805-810)
Action Comics #999
Superman #45 (811)
Action Comics #1000.09 (Meltzer/Cassaday story)
Action Comics Special #1 (main story only)
Superman Special #1 (main story only)
Action Comics #1000.01 (Jurgens story)
Action Comics #1000.02 (Tomasi/Gleason story)
Action Comics #1000.08 (Mxyzptlk story)
The backup features from the specials should probably be left out of this volume. Action Comics #1000 started off with two stories by the outgoing creative teams that should be included in this set. The final story in the book was a prologue to the Bendis run and should be included in that set. The rest of the stories are anthology type stories. Some could fit in current continuity and I have added them. Others should be set aside for other specials. There’s a couple of stories that might be able to fit here but share pages with stories that aren’t in continuity, so I dropped them.
“Heroes in Crisis” and “Doomsday Clock” occur between this run and the Bendis run.