Title: Death of Superman
Author: Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson, Roger Stern, Jerry Ordway
Publisher: DC Comics
Notes: First graphic novel adaptation of the Death and Return of Superman. Includes crossover issues from Superman, Superman: The Man of Steel, Adventures of Superman, and Action Comics.
The Death of an American Icon - 3 stars - a book review
In 1992 DC Comics killed off the superhero who brought comic books to their glory days. In a similar fashion, the death of Superman brought thousands upon thousands of new readers to the genre since Superman had become an American cultural icon. While short lived, this collection of comics represents a turning point in the comic industry, where no superhero was safe any longer. Shortly thereafter, DC Comics pulled a similar "stunt" with their other flagship hero, Batman, with the Knightfall story arc. Regardless, what transpired in the pages of these comics would be talked about for years.
Introduce Doomsday, a mysterious and sinister alien killing machine, with one thing on his limited mind: destruction. After escaping from being buried beneath the Earth's surface for who knows how long, Doomsday stages a one man mayhem show across half the United States.
Doomsday first faces off against the Justice League of America, quickly leveling them to nothingness, rendering them obsolete with his power and strength. Their combined powers do little to stop Doomsday, who time and time again proves he cares nothing for anything, killing birds in the palm of his hand and strangling a deer for no reason. What happens next would be the fight of the century against this beast and America's cultural icon, Superman.
The Death of Superman story arc is long in the action scenes and short in the storyline.
Absolutely no information is given about Doomsday at this point and the only focus of the remaining storylines is stopping him from destroying Metropolis (and everything else in his way). There are a few brief moments of reflection among minor characters about how Superman saved them or what Superman means to them. The virtue of the mysterious nature of Doomsday is appreciated, since it adds to his allure as a supervillain; similar to the recent movie, The Dark Knight, and the villain Joker. The reader is absolutely unaware of any motivation, making Doomsday that much more treacherous. Readers wouldn't find out about the history of Doomsday until the Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey story arc published in 1994.
While Superman is one of my personal least favorite heroes, this collection is a must read for the same reason it sold out overnight with a starting number of published issues that had never before been dreamed. With Superman being such a cultural icon, watching his fall is a must anyone. The action is unparalleled as it had to be since the stakes had never been higher. How do you create a monster worthy of killing a Superman? The satisfying answer is in the Death of Superman.
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