Comic Review – “The Death of Superman”

There are spoilers below. Heck, there are spoilers above, thanks to the people who named the book. To give them credit, though, most people looking for this story arc are looking for it because they already know how it ends.

General Information

Title: The Death of Superman
Credited to: Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern,
Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Brett Breeding, Rick
Burchett, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier
Original Publication Date: 1993 reprint of 1992 material
ISBN: 1-56389-097-6
Cover Price: $9.95 US, $15.50 Can
Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Premise

An incredibly powerful beast, who just happened to be buried on Earth,
breaks free and heads to Metropolis destroying everything in its
path. Various heroes try to stop it, but only Superman stands a
chance against it.

High Point

The splash pages in the final issue.

Low Point

The villain, Doomsday, couldn’t be more shallow. Superman has a long
history of enemies who deserved the right to do Superman in. Instead,
we get a new, boring villain. This did not feel like it should have
been the end of Superman.

The Scores

The idea of killing Superman is fairly original. The way
they did it was original only in the fact that it was so blase. I
can’t think of a less poignant death of a superhero in any comic. I
give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork is of varying quality, which is to be expected
when all seven issues in here have different creative teams. It
ranged from good to excellent though, so I’ll give it a 5 out of 6.

The story is practically nonexistant. Strong bad guy show
up, Superman spends six issues trading blows with it, and they both
fall down. That’s it. 2 out of 6.



The characterization was as complex as the story. Superman
is determined to save as many lives as possible, and only uses
violence to acheive that end. Lois loves Superman, and Guy Gardner
doesn’t get along with people. This is about the extent of the
characterization. This is really a big, big battle. (As uninspired
as his manner of death was, they at least had enough sense to choose
not to make it a quick death.) I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response was crippled by the fact that they put
the ending in the title. The fact that it’s a ten year old story
also means the reader knows he’s coming back, especially since it’s
generally shelved next to The World Without Superman (which
I’ll review soon) and The Return of Superman, which makes
sense since they’re really a trilogy. There were no surprises, and
the impact of the ending was ruined by the foreknowledge. I give it 3
out of 6.

The flow was actually very smooth, considering it’s one huge
battle. The panels didn’t seem to be overrun with dialogue, as the
conversations usually happened during brief pauses in the action. I
give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is best viewed as a preface to the larger
story. On its own, it doesn’t really stand up very well. I give it 3
out of 6.

In total, The Death of Superman receives 24 out of 42.

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

  1. Dave says:

    shock? surprise?
    What surprise?

    When the original comics first came out (nine, ten years ago, I don’t remember other than "I was in high school" at the time), it was fairly common knowledge that, at the end of issue whatever, the big S buys it.

    It was on Entertainment Tonight, for Nyarlathotep’s sake!

    Even non-comics fans knew what was coming (and I don’t think anyone, anywhere, was surprised by the shocking revelation that he’d be coming back from the dead either). If TV didn’t take care of things, geeks wearing those black armbands packed in with the "special edition" of the aforementioned death issue would.

    (I was one of those geeks, by the way. The book did score bonus points for the freebies — the armband, a "newspaper clipping," credited to Lois Lane, I believe, and something else — I’m wanting to say "commemorative ‘postage stamp’".)

    If you want to take points off because of the ham-handed way they handled that story, be my guest. But don’t blame it on the TITLE of the book spoiling things for you.

  2. PerlStalker says:

    Novelization
    My first (and only) exposure to this story was the novelization. They do a better job of fleshing out the characters and fill in a bit of Superman’s history with the other heros who get brushed aside like so much kitty litter. That’s nice for those of us who never got into the comics.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Novelization

      My first (and only) exposure to this story was the novelization. They do a better job of fleshing out the characters and fill in a bit of Superman’s history with the other heros who get brushed aside like so much kitty litter. That’s nice for those of us who never got into the comics.

      I originally bought Roger Stern’s novel when the story first came out, thus avoiding spending over $100 to collect all of the issues involved. I remember liking it, but that’s about all. If I have time, I’ll review that after reading all three graphic novels (including the one I haven’t purchased yet) and compare the two.

  3. JANET says:

    Doomsday *grumble*

    I remember way back in the day when the original comics came out (mine are still upstairs). Fizko touched on this, but it deserves repeating.

    Doomsday was a joke. It killed me the ham-handed way he was trotted out without any introduction for the express purpose of killing Superman. I can still remember the beginning of the story when Doomsday was carving a path of destruction towards Metropolis, he did so with one hand tied behind his back. I really wish I was making that up, but I’m not. Comic-dom hasn’t seen a such an obvious plot-device character since.

    Wait a minute. Strike that last part. I just remembered Nicholas Scratch.

    JANET
    http://groomlake.net

Comments are closed.