The Death of Superman - Mike Carlin (Editor)

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The Death of Superman - Mike Carlin (Editor)

The advent of Doomsday an unstoppable relentless engine of destruction spells disaster for Superman and for the people of Metropolis. It's the Man of ...

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Review of "The Death of Superman - Mike Carlin (Editor)"

published 05/11/2013 | Warpspeed
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"Superman - RIP"

The Death of Superman - Mike Carlin (Editor)

The Death of Superman - Mike Carlin (Editor)

First up with a title like this you know death is an important part of the story. The Death of Superman was a series of comics that was originally printed from October 1992 to November 1992. This was an epic in terms of story telling by DC as it literally dealt with a subject that was only ever been previously told in “What If…” stories dating back to the 1960’s, a story that usually ended up with a character waking up from a dream or a thought of the events that the comic has just told. In other words a reset button was pushed. It was obvious that something had to be done, the comic book sales were falling every month and people just weren’t buying the titles anymore and so something had to be done, something that was fresh for the Superman legacy.

The story opens with a large monster escaping from an underground cavern in the vicinity that Justice League has been dealing with an issue, when this creature escapes he causes carnage in small towns across America and slowly making its way across the countryside towards Metropolis; the only man that can stop him is Superman. Superman is drawn into this after seeing the Justice League fast approaching defeat as members of the team who have one up against the creature have been seriously injured when coming face to face with the creature now named Doomsday, a creature who it appears is making his way to Metropolis for a reason after seeing the signs at the side of the road. After a vicious fight between Superman and Doomsday in the streets of the city the Man of Steel is severely injured by the exoskeleton of Doomsday and is killed in action. The world comes to a standstill in a single heartbeat as the world knows it has lost a protector. This time it’s the real deal as the hero has been killed off.

From the beginning as well as the title you know that this is going to end in a bad way for Superman and so from the moment that he is catapulted into the story you do get the idea that it is downhill all the way. In fact as the story evolves you do get to see Superman in a position that he has never been in and that is seeing the man being scared for what he is trying to do and slowly coming to terms with the consequences he might not be bale to change to achieve the desired action. He tries to stop Doomsday at every opportunity, but the creature being twice the size of Superman knows that Superman can be beaten and can take the punishment that the Kryptonian is giving him, bottom line is that it’s just a case of how far both participants are willing to go. This carries on till you see a bloodied and injured Superman being cradled by Lois Lane, a Superman that speaks to Lois before passing away having achieved his goal.

In reality this final part of the book was Superman #75, an edition that sold out over four printings and still remains the highest selling comic of all time to this day. The story throughout the book builds up and up as the figure of Doomsday is initially shown in a green overall suit with facemask that only has reflective eye goggles and so each part of the story uncovers more of the creature as his outer clothing is damaged and his exoskeleton made of sharp pointy bones slowly gets exposed, bones that when used in battle will decimate the enemy and can even pierce Superman’s skin. With the tension building from the first frame to the end conflict set in Metropolis, the artwork is at a consistent level that changes and adapts throughout to the extent that the final part of this arc is simply 22 one page frames of artwork that projects power and energy whether punches are being inflicted, cars being thrown and buildings being destroyed. Further issues would deal with the issues such as a funeral being held for the world to be allowed to mourn, with the coffin bearers are made up from the ranks of the Justice League and a eulogy given by President Clinton. From this story the entire planet turns into a different place overnight with the sorrow being vented and also the uncertainty of what is going to happen without the Man of Steel to protect them.

In the world of comics it’s going to be obvious that the dead don’t remain dead for long, all that happens is they do die, but are bought back by means that firmly only remain in our imagination and in this case they tend to come back with long hair! However it was painfully obvious that the dead wouldn’t remain so for long as from a business point of view you don’t kill off for good your strongest asset without ensuring you have a plan to reverse the death when necessary.

The artwork itself throughout is very good and does have a credible level of belief rather than an artist taking the story in his own direction, the continuity is held throughout the collected edition and the level is good enough to allow the reader to recognise the characters throughout without having to perform some kind of mental connection as the artists have done things in their own way. The methods used do convey incredible sadness and incredible emotions altogether as the story unfolds. The punches that are deployed certainly do have power to them and come across as powerful when used; in fact this was the case where the street fighting between Superman and Doomsday takes place and is continued throughout to the end, although seeing Superman in a condition where he is weak, bruised, bleeding and trying to win a battle that cant be won really does show what he believes in and the faith he has in the city that he is protecting. This story was what DC needed to do to rejuvenate sales and bring in a new audience. It was this story that single handedly re-launched Superman for DC to a new audience and was able to take Superman foward in terms of character development.

The repercussions of the death of the main character would be felt across the DC Universe for years to come, however its here in this story that you see a distraught Lois Lane with her lover dying in her arms and some of Superman friends impacted by what they saw happen in front of them, for me the most painful thing was Superman’s parents Jonathan and Martha Kent watching it unfold live on television, which isn’t a nice thing to see when your son suffering at the hands of a creature who seems to be indestructible. The emotion on Superman’s face alone when he finds a weak spot on the creature is a turning point and the screams the creature makes can only be interpreted as agony and as the reader I felt sorry for it.

This is a consolidation of a number of series released on a weekly basis that DC printed over the course seven issues. This book collates all seven issues together in one book and runs for 160 pages in length and is a corker to read with what you know the end result is going to be given the picture on the front of the book itself, however the story was printed over 20 years ago and so to some readers the story will be fresh. By that I mean the fact some readers who may have recently just got into comics and Superman will be lost by the number of heroes they see as most aren’t around today since DC performed a full reboot two years ago.

One thing that hits you straight away is the decline in Superman as the story reaches its climax. At the beginning you see Superman in his full costume, Blue, Red and Yellow with the mighty S shield standing out as bright as day. By the end the costume is in tatters, Superman body is cut to ribbons and his face is bruised with black eyes. This is new territory completely for the character, usually the writers have him lose his powers so that his mortal and the story goes down the line that he will be hurt in some way or another. Here its different as the decline starts as soon as the first punch is thrown and takes the plot to a new level where things change and the surroundings relating to Doomsday starts to come into focus in more ways than one.

As the reader of this story, you do get absorbed by what you are reading and after I first read this I realised what a monumental moment this was in Superman’s history and I have a full collection of comic editions as well as the collected editions and each time I read it I can away feeling very sad and quite emotional and I’ve never had a comic book have that effect on me…ever. Which I think is testament that a story which was released in 1992 can still have that effect on me after all these years and thinking about it you would never be able to film something like this as the cast would be epic.

For £12 its a bargain to get a piece of comic history, however be warned that if you buy this you will need to purchase the Return of Superman just to find out what happens next.

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Comments on this review

  • Deesrev published 02/12/2013
    Superb review indeed xXx
  • brokenangelkisses published 14/11/2013
    Thoroughly reviewed.
  • Graygirl published 10/11/2013
    Excellent review x
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Product Information : The Death of Superman - Mike Carlin (Editor)

Manufacturer's product description

The advent of Doomsday an unstoppable relentless engine of destruction spells disaster for Superman and for the people of Metropolis. It's the Man of Steel's darkest hour a tale of triumph and tragedy unequalled in the history of comics. The world will never be the same again!

Product Details

EAN: 9781852864804

Type: Non-Fiction

Genre: Art & Music

Publisher: Titan Books Ltd

Title: The Death of Superman

Author: Mike Carlin (Editor)

ISBN: 185286480X

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