- Writers: Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern
- Pencillers: Jon Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, Jackson Guice, Dan Jurgens
- Inkers: Brett Breeding, Rick Burchett, Doug Hazlewood, Dennis Janke, Denis Rodier
- Letterers: John Costanza, Albert DeGuzman,Bill Oakley, Willie Schubert
- Colourists: Gene D’Angelo, Glenn Whitmore
Despite it being one of the biggest stories in DC Comics history, perhaps even comic book history as a whole, I have never read The Death of Superman, but I have watched the animated movies and for a time, for me personally, that was enough…until now!
I have always been so grateful for the friends I have made within the comic book twitter community, as they have always been so kind and supportive, but they will always find ways to surprise you further.
One my earliest followers and fell bloggers John (@JohnHammond73) posted a photo of his collection of The Death of Superman series of graphic novels together in order, so I mentioned that I had not yet read the first book (The Death of Superman) and John offered to send me his spare copy of the book for me to add to my own collection. I cannot thank him enough for such a kind gesture, so this review is of course dedicated to you John!
Something has awoken beneath the earth, breaking it’s way out of it’s confinement, carving a path of destruction in it’s wake. Doomsday is coming!
It begins with the usual type of story for a Superman comic. A gang is trying to take over Metropolis, Lois Lane finds out about it through a secretive source and decides to investigate on her own. After leaving a note for Clark Kent about where she’s going, Superman is on the scene to rescue Lois from her captors, stopping them from carrying out their plans before anyone gets hurt.
Superman is the world’s greatest hero, being able to overcome any and all foes that threaten the Earth. Alongside him are the Justice League, a team formed of heroes of all shapes, sizes, origins and even species. From Humans such as Guy Gardner, to meta-humans like Fire (Beatriz Bonilla Da Costa) to alien beings such as Maxima. These heroes are the only ones that stand between Doomsday and America, but they’ll soon discover that Doomsday is on a whole other level than any foe they’ve come across before.
Superman has to fight with everything he’s got, as he discovers that even he isn’t fast enough or strong enough to save everyone, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop until Doomsday has been dealt with, and that means no holding back…Doomsday is destruction incarnate, it has no emotions, no conscience, no morals, it is designed to destroy and nothing else.
The story of Superman’s most dangerous foe is one that has the reader on the edge of their seat. After seeing what Doomsday is capable of, including taking out various members of the Justice League, you begin to wonder how even Superman is supposed to deal with it.
There are moments where Superman must make hard decisions, such as ignoring the cries of a teenage boy who needs help to save his mum and baby sister from a fire caused by Doomsday, which really gives the reader a sense of how tough it is being a hero that EVERYONE depends on.
There’s also moments where you fear for anything that crosses Doomsday’s path because this comic shows us humans being killed at the hands of a true monster.
With most stories as dark as this one being published these days, the tone of the story is often seen within the art, especially with darker colours and heavy shadows. However, this was still the 90’s and so the colouring of this book is bright and eye catching, but I don’t feel like the brightness of the art takes away from the plot at all.
The real art is in the details of this book, from the design of Doomsday being menacing and monstrous, to the smaller details such as Superman’s chest hair, which all help to bring the book to life. Moreover, the book is filled with powerful imagery especially towards the end, as we see Superman battered and his clothing torn, which gives us a sense of the power of his fight with Doomsday, since most stories have barely every shown a scratch on Superman, but here he is in this book, barely able to remain fully dressed as his hairy chest, nipples and all, are exposed. Not to mention that iconic image of Superman’s torn and tattered cape waving in the wind like a flag of broken hope.
After seeing the animated films, I can now say that the book is certainly very different! There are so many characters in this book that weren’t included such as Bloodwynd, Booster Gold and other Justice League members that were replaced with the bigger names of the JLA for the animated movies, such as Batman, The Flash and Wonder Woman.
It’s a story that has real impact, even to this day where we all know Superman is still alive, so you can imagine how it might have felt back when it was first being published in 1992, when many fans would be reading this story believing that their favourite hero could be dead in the comics and replaced by various imposters (The Reign of the Supermen).
It’s a story that hits hard because you get a true sense of not just how much the world means to Superman, but of course the more important factor of how much Superman means to the world, from the big shots to the little people who only ever see him on TV or in the newspapers. He is the world’s greatest symbol of hope and heroism, so to see him struggle is the hardest experience they have ever had to deal with.
If like me, you have only ever seen the animated films, then I would highly suggest giving the book a read because it hits different and is such an enjoyable experience.