I love comic books. Particularly DC Comics! I’ve been
reading them ever since school and have been addicted. Despite having a very
short collection, naturally depending on what the bookstores would carry, I
would make it a point to get my hands on every major DC comic books out there.
Now with the internet and the power of torrents, I’ve
managed to get a plethora of comics dating back the ‘80s to date. I’ve read all
through Batman’s entire history and am currently amassing all of Superman’s
stories. I’m gonna use my new found love for yelling review some of the more memorable
storylines that changed the scope of comic books. Wonder if there’s anyone else here that loves
comic books as much as I do.
DEATH OF SUPERMAN (1992)
Now a lot of you are wondering? Death of Superman? How?! The guy could bend steel and no bullet could get through his steel-like
body. Heart attack maybe? Not likely, but lets review this story first.
As we all may know by now, Superman is the last of his species from the planet Krypton, when he was sent to Earth by his parents who
perished along with Krypton as the planet exploded. Fueled by the Earth’s yellow sun, and the lower gravitational pull, Superman develops extraordinary powers that allow him to be faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a speeding locomotive and of course able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Raised by the simple Kent family and ingrained with human ethics and values, Superman decides to use his powers to help all mankind by stopping disasters and fighting villains out to hurt the citizenry. His alter ego Clark Kent worked at the Daily Planet newspaper and lived in Metropolis.
However, one fine day, a monstrous creature broke free from underground. Covered in a protective layer of rock and bone, this
creature, dubbed ‘Doomsday’, started destroying and killing everything in its path till it reached Metropolis. This guy just had a deathwish for everyone around him as he destroyed any and everything in his path, even little birds chirping would get crushed. Its like he had no soul at all. I mean, just look at this guy:
It was seemingly unstoppable and incredibly powerful as it had already fatally injured a lot of other superheroes before finally meeting Superman at Metropolis. From there, the two fought in a titanic fist fight where both were at odds in strength. Superman would have given up, but only his concern for the well-being of his fellow man mattered as he fought Doomsday to his last breath. In the end however, both the Man of Steel and Doomsday were left lying in debris of broken buildings in the aftermath. Doctors tried to revive him but in vain. The Man of Steel was indeed dead.
AS the whole world mourned his death, including other super heroes and particularly Lois Lane, his co-worker and fiancé of Clark Kent, problems started arising. In the absence of the city’s watchful protector, crime started surging as petty crooks, gangs and the mafia started
getting more confident. Without Superman, the city of Metropolis was ripe for the picking.
In the days that followed, surprising new developments took place as four different Supermen came to Metropolis, all claiming to be
the actual Superman.
The first one is The Metropolis Kid: an adolescent clone of Superman that was developed by a clandestine Government agency. He was
only a teenager and sure enough, acted like one. Cocky, arrogant and reckless, he was still very powerful as he had Superman’s abilities as well as tactile telekinesis, which allowed him to move solid objects with his mind. He later on was known as Superboy.
The second one is The Man of Tomorrow: a cross between Superman and a Terminator exo-skeleton. Part man, part machine, this version
was scientifically proven to be Superman after a DNA test of his living tissue. He also had sophisticated Krypton technology that allowed him to create any mechanical or electronic device in his hands. He is widely known as the Cyborg Superman.
The third was The Man of Steel, who wears a suit of armor and used a badass hammer. He didn’t claim to be actually Superman, but
rather represented the spirit of Superman and continue his legacy. This version is more widely known as Steel (if anyone’s seen that Shaq movie, you’ll know)
The last was referred to as The Last Son of Krypton, who shared the similar physical appearance and powers of the actual Superman,
save for a visor over his eyes, a new “energy-beam” based power, and a much more violent mindset towards criminals, as he looks to exact lethal punishment.
All four ‘Supermen’ resumed the duties of Metropolis’ protectors, each laying claim as to which one is the true Superman. Citizens
formed cult groups, fan clubs etc all following either one of them as the true Superman. In reality however, the Last Son of Krypton was an energy-based life form from Krypton called the Eradicator that had stolen the actual Superman’s body and put it in a regeneration chamber of Kryptonian origin to power himself. Also, the Man of Tomorrow is a dead astronaut that used Superman’s DNA sample to create himself a duplicate body he could use. His consciousness was embedded in a machine by which he could create any form.
The story climaxed to the Cyborg Superman revealing his true colors as he destroyed Coast City and killed all the people in it with the
aid of an alien warlord Mongul. With thousands of precision timed bombs, they leveled the city to waste and killed the near 7 million populace. They then created “Engine City” on top of the debris and devised an evil plan to do the same to every other city around the world. It’s at this point where the actual Superman returns, his body regenerated but still very weak. With the help of the Eradicator, Superboy, Steel, Supergirl and the Green Lantern, Superman (wearing a solar power siphoning suit) challenged the Cyborg Superman. In the course of battle, Superman’s powers returned to full and he defeated the Cyborg, destroying his cybernetic body.
After this victory, Superman returned to Metropolis as the genuine article, whereas Superboy, Steel and the Eradicator were now his
allies supporting him in future stories. Superman/Clark Kent’s fiancé Lois Lane was skeptical about this version being the real one, but was convinced soon enough. Apparently Superman didn’t die as his body stored a massive amount of solar energy, which helped him to go into a hibernation state instead of dying after his battle with Doomsday.
“The Death of Superman” was a huge commercial success as comic book fans that had never read Superman before thronged to pick
up a copy. The story brought in millions of readers not just to Superman titles but also to all other DC Comics titles as well. Most recently, it was adapted in the animated movie “Superman: Doomsday”.
The story left a large impression in the minds of readers back then. As I read it again recently, it left an impression in my
mind too. The fact that the greatest fictional hero of all times, sacrificed himself to destroy an alarming threat just to save the rest of the world was quite a feat. Add to the fact that Superman wasn’t even human, and yet was selfless enough to use his power for the ultimate challenge. Makes you wonder how many of us would step up to realistic challenges in front of us, making a change for ourselves and not waiting for a savior.
That’s it for this review. Hope there are any comic book fans out there that like this. Your feedback would be really appreciated.