The review of the second part of the trilogy.
Title: World Without A Superman
Authors: Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger
Pencillers: Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens,
Inkers: Brett Breeding, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier,
Trevor Scott, Walter Simonson
Original Publication Date: 1993 (original and reprint)
Cover Price: $7.50 US, $9.95 Can
Buy from: Amazon.com
The world mourns the loss of Superman.
Batman’s role in the funeral procession. If I didn’t know a thing
about Batman before picking this up, that single page would have been
enough of an introduction to understand virtually everything about
him, except perhaps the details of his origin.
I think they dropped the ball on this one. By the end of the volume,
nobody doubts that Superman will return. However, the book is primed
to allow him to return to the status quo. This should have been an
event that changed the face of Superman comics forever. This should
have been the event that finally revealed his secret identity to the
world, so that he’d be forced to deal with the repercussions when he
This was not terribly original, but this particular story
didn’t need to be. This was about a funeral, and about the reaction
of the world to the death of someone who is essentially seen as a
god. The superhero funeral has been done a few times, but not to this
degree. The grave robbing is a pretty standard part of any “returned
from the dead” setup, so it doesn’t feel original now. (If my memory
of the novel I read ten years ago is accurate, that event will take on
an entirely different meaning in the third part of the trilogy.) I
give it 3 out of 6.
Most of the artwork is very good, and surprisingly consistent
across the different titles with different creative teams. Walt
Simonson’s art, which looks good in my old issues of Thor, is
just jarringly out of place among the rest. I give it 4 out of 6.
The story is much more developed in this portion of the
trilogy. We no longer have two undeveloped characters at the front,
but a rotating, developed cast that provide various perspectives on
the situation at hand. There is a minor mystery to solve, and
mourning to have. There are twists and turns in the story, even
though there’s never much doubt about those outcomes. I give it 5 out
The characterization is pretty good for the six or seven
major players. With only nine issues of comics to fill out, six or
seven relatively fleshed out characters is impressive. We understand
Supergirl’s naivete (although those of us who know her mainly from the
movie may get confused by her dramatically different set of powers,)
Lois Lane’s determination to protect her trust with Clark even in
death, the Kents’ ability to take on the parental role to fulfill
their own needs while grieving, Lois and Lana’s mutual respect and
friendship, and Lex’s new machinations. Batman is not a major player,
and has no more than three full pages devoted to him, but those pages
are just incredible. I give it 6 out of 6 for doing such a nice job
in such limited space.
The emotional response this produced was limited by the lack
of plausible suspense. When a dead character still has his name on
three different weekly titles, there’s little doubt that he’s coming
back. Apart from the Batman moment, nothing elicited a strong
response. That moment, however, inspired me to finally buy The
Dark Knight Returns, so that moment alone earns this book a 3 out
The flow was excellent. Scenes melded together with
symbolism and dialogue. My only complaint was that overlapping
dialogue was really abused in this collection, as though they were
trying to show off their ability to make scenes flow together. By the
end of the book, it gets irritating. I give it 5 out of 6.
Overall, this is worth reading in its own right, and not just
as a preface to the following parts. I give it 4 out of 6.
In total, World Without A Superman receives 30 out of 42.
Additional Notes and Comments
I’ll probably pick up a copy of The Return of Superman in the
next few months, but I don’t have it yet, so the third part of this
trilogy will be reviewed well after the first two parts. (This is
part two; the review of part one is here.)