Comic Review – “The Return of Superman”

Here’s the third part in the Death and Return of Superman saga.

General Information

Title: The Return of Superman
Authors: Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern, Gerard
Pencillers: Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens,
M. D. Bright
Inkers: Brett Breeding, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier,
Romeo Tanghal
Colorists: Glenn Whitmore, Anthony Tollin
Letterers: John Costanza, Albert DeGuizman, Bill Oakley
Original Publication Date: 1993
ISBN: 1-56389-149-2
Cover Price: $14.95 US, $20.95 Can
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Following Superman’s death and funeral, four individuals appear
fulfilling his legacy.

High Point

Enter the Green Lantern. That issue convinced me that I need to track
down a good Green Lantern graphic novel. Any suggestions?

Low Point

This ends before his return is explained. How did he come back, exactly?

The Scores

This has an original streak to it; comic characters have come
back from the dead before, but I haven’t seen one return to find so
many fakes in his place. Apart from that, it’s another superhero
battle. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork is good if the pencilling isn’t by Bogdanove.
His style is simplistic and has inconsistent imagery, while the others
have turned in some great work, which is not only consistent within
their own issues, but it blends with the art by the other artists in
the other issues. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is well plotted, but it pulled its punches as the
earlier volumes did. They set up four possible versions of the new
Superman, two of which were obviously not the real one. The other
two, however, could have been the real thing. Either one would have
had huge implications for the future of the character. Instead, the
original Superman is finally restored exactly as he was before, but
with longer hair. Everything in Superman is returned to the status
quo at the end, but with two new characters. (The Green Lantern title
would have had some major changes.) I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is excellent. Not only do we get to
know the new Supermen, we also know how they differ from the
traditional Superman. When the original comes back, we know exactly
who he is and how he should act. The other characters were well
defined, too. The Green Lantern’s appearance was brief, but
excellent. I want to see more of that character, and I’m sure there’s
a lot to choose from. I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response was mostly positive. There was some
disappointment that some things weren’t explained properly, and that
the status quo for Superman came back as close as possible to what it
was before. Still, the high moments were high. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow from issue to issue was well done, as was the flow
during the storytelling within the issues. The only serious problem
was the repetition of one scene near the end, even though that scene
was great. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is an interesting collection, with a nice story
to tell. The trilogy definitely ended on a high note. I give it 5
out of 6.

In total, The Return of Superman receives 32 out of 42.

4 replies on “Comic Review – “The Return of Superman””

  1. How he returned

    DC really fudged on that one. They waited a long time before revealing which was the real Superman, and the reason was severely lame. DC was very clear that it was a one-in-a-billion convergence of events, and that it would never happen again.

    Superman’s body was recovered by his robot assistant, Eradicator, and moved to the fortress of solitude where it had access to advanced medical technology. Jonathan Kent, Superman’s “father” had a heart attack at the funeral and experienced a near-death experience. He met Superman’s spirit, which was in a limbo between life and death, and convinced him to return to his body. This brought Superman back to life, but he had lost his powers and was very weak. He donned a Kryptonian battlesuit, however, and became involved in a major battle with the Cyborg Superman. During this battle, Eradicator returned Superman’s powers by reversing the polarity of Kryptonite rays (from the Cyborg, intended to kill them).

      • Re: How he returned

        Wow, pretty much straight out of a Star Trek script.

        But where is the “time ribbon”?

  2. Green Lantern
    I’d recommend starting with the Emerald Dawn collected editions. They’ll give you a good start with Hal Jordan. You may also want to track down issue #46 of the current Green Lantern series for a bit more detail on the events in Return of Superman. Emerald Twilight (issues 48-50) describes what brought about Kyle Rayner being the new Green Lantern.

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