The Baron Re-Reads the Whole Death and Re-Birth of Superman Storyline

Yeah, I know, another thing that isn't a "timeline" as such, although it will involve time travel of sorts, back to the wild and woolly days of 1992, when dinosaurs walked the Earth.  I hadn't read the Superman comics much for years when this story was announced, but I decided to follow it for fun.  I knew they weren't going to really kill him off, but I was interested to see what they would do.  I started offf with....

 

Superman: The Man of Steel #18 (December 1992): "Doomsday! Part One"

Written by Louise Simonson, with art by Jon Bogdnaove and Dennis Janke.

 

This story has two threads interspersed with one another:

  1. Lois and Superman get caught up fighting a race of sewer people who want to take over Metropolis. Supes handles them fairly easily - this is just another day at the office for him.
  2. Doomsday punches his way out of a box, them establishes his bad-arsehood by crushing a birdie, then disrupting traffic and smashing a truck. The story ends with Oberon overhearing a police report about it, and deciding that this is a job for the Justice League! I'm sur ethey'll be able to handle it no problem!

 

An interesting slow build. If I hadn't of known that this was going to be the critter that was going to "kill" Superman, I wouldn't of suspected it from this. I sometimes think that they do themselves a disservice by hyping these stories the way they do. Think of how much more of a mind-blower it would of been if the "death of Superman" had been a surprise.

 

I wasn't overwhelmed by the art on this - it's not bad, just not very good, either.  I tell you, I liked liked Doomsday's initial "containment suit" look better than his later Cranky Grandpa Zombie on Terrigen-Enhanced Steroids look.

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...I liked the mesh shirts (and what was under them) on the part of the SHADO women , myself , in the 70s !

Superman #75 (January 1993): "Doomsday!"

Written by Dan Jurgens, with art by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding.

 

This one came in a black plastic wrapper with a bleeding Superman logo on it. In addition to the comic, it contained a mini-poster of Superman's funeral procession (What's Darkseid doing there?), an obituary written by one R. Lowell Stern, some mock Superman "stamps", a black armband with an S-shield on it, and a prototype for a trading card.

 

The book has a gray cover with the S-shiled and "Here lies Earth's greatest hero" on it.  I guees it's meant to look like a gravestone.

 

The contents of the book itself are just a prolonged fight scene, with Superman and Doomsday each apparently taking one another out. The book is reasonably well-done, but I guess that I have lost my enthusiasm for endless carnage over the years, so it doesn't seem as affecting now as maybe it once did.

The Adventures of Superman #498 (January 1993): "Death of a Legend"

Written by Jerry Ordway, art by Tom Grummett and Doug Hazlewood.

 

Cadmus attemots to claim the bodies of both Superman and Doomsday, but Sawyer won't let them take Supes. Hamilton tries to revive Superman, but fails. The Planet team begins to deal with covering the story.

 

OK stuff, but this story seems really dragged out.  Funny it didn't seem that way at the time.

Seemingly lost in the shuffle during the big event was Superman Special # 1 by Walt Simonson. I believe it hit the stands just prior to the Death of Superman issue. It was Walt's remake of the early Seventies "Kryptonite No More" storyline. It is one of my favorite things by Walt. The giant size issue also includes some terrific pin ups by Barry Windsor Smith, Michael Golden, Curt Swan amongst others.

Interesitng. Don't recall ever seeing that.

Justice League America #70 (January 1993): "Grieving"

Written by Dan Jurgens, with art by Dan Jurgens and Rick Burchett.

 

Line-Up: Bloodwynd, the Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Guy Gardner, Ice, Maxima.

 

This is largely taken up with the League's reaction to the death of Superman,  Guy is a jerk, Ted is comatose and Booster's suit is wrecked.  A whole raft of other heroes show up, including Aquaman, Batman, the Black Canary, the Black Condor (Ryan Kendall), the Elongated Man, the Flash (Jay Garrick), the Flash (Wally West), the Green Arrow, the Green Lantern (Alan Scott), the Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Hawkman (I guess this was from the time that he was never in the League), Nightwing, Power Girl (in a hideous costume), Robin (Tim Drake), Starfire and Wonder Woman. As I beleive someone may have alrady noted, it might have bene more useful if they had been around when Superman was getitng his arse kicked.

 

There's also an odd bit where the Demon recites a poem mocking Superman's death, which is odd because

  • What is he doing there?
  • Why does no one react to him at all?

 

Oberon distributes armbands to everyone, and we end with a fairly touching scene where Booster is at Ted's bedside really hoping that he doesn't die, too.

 

Overall, not a bad issue.

 

 

This discussion is bring back memories, but I don't think I've ever re-read the original "Doomsday" story since its original publication. I have re-read several "Post-Doomsday Doomsday" mini-series and specials, however.

To be honest, it's not bad, but it's not quite having the impact it had 21 years ago.

Action Comics #685 (January 1993): "Re: Actions"

Written by Roger Stern, with art by Jackson Guice and Denis Rodier.

The cover is a riff on the original Action Comics #1 cover, with Supergirl in place of Superman.

Westfield makes anothe rattempt to claim Superman's body for Cadmus, but Luthor and Supergirl intervene. We see various cast members and people around the world mourning Superman, with one or two crooks somewhat happier about it. Luthor is secretly upset that he didn't get to kill Superman. Supergirl fights some crime and we end with Bibbo praying for Superman.

 

An OK issue. I'd forgotten how much of this storyline revolved around Cadmus.  Also of interest in this issue is an interesting PSA with Fire scolding Booster and the Blue Bettle about their ignorance regarding AIDS.

The Baron said:

An OK issue. I'd forgotten how much of this storyline revolved around Cadmus. 

Yeah, Cadmus was almost as bad an interloper in the Superman books as S.H.I.E.L.D. is in Captain America.

Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (February 1993): "Funeral Day"

Written by Louise Simonson, with art by Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke.

This is largely taken up with Suoerman's funeral, with several heroes marching behind the casket,  the crowd getting out of control, Batman stopping a would-be terrorist, and the Clintons speaking briefly, which makes this comic seem so dated. (Although, if Hillary gets in...)  I remember years later, when I saw Pope John Paul II's funeral, I remember thinking that it was like a real-life version of Superman's funeral!

There's a little in-joke where Bibbo harasses a guy for selling tasteless memorabilia - which happens to be the same sort of stuff that wa sincluded with the "Death of Superman" comic.

There's also a funny scene where Lobo learns about Superman's death from two aliens who look like Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton. We see the Kents burying Clark's stuff and we end with Lois reaching out to them.

 

The AIDS PSA this time features Wally West.  Do they still do PSAs like this in comics? I don't remember the last time I saw one.

 

Overall, not a bad issue. 

Superman #76 (February 1993): "Metropolis Mailbag II"

Written by Dan Jurgens, with art by Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding.

Various heroes gaather at the post office, where they find and try to answer various letters to Superman. One of these comes from Mitch's mother, whose house was destroyed in the fight with Doomsday. The heroes re-build the house, and bring her husband back, as well.  Meanwhile, Mitch himself goes to Metropolis, where he meets Jimmy and Bibbo, and encounters a woman who claims to be Mrs. Superman.

 

Lois meets the Kents and Lana at Clark's apartment, and they debate whether to tell the world that Clark was Superman, which is an interesting question when you think about it. The story ends with Cadmus stealing Superman's body.

 

The PSA this time out features the Teen Titans.

 

Overall, not bad. It features the kind of developments one might expect if someone like Superman died.

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