Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Trade Tales! - The Death of Superman

I think I'm going to try out a new title for now. It just makes more sense. 

The 90’s were a big time for comics. It was when I started reading them. It was also when DC Comics decided to shake up the status quo for their major characters. I’ve talked about Batman’s shakeup with Knightfall, so it’s time for me to finally look at The Death of Superman. I’m sorry if I’ve spoiled for you. Now, I didn’t read any of this when it came out. The podcast, From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast, somewhat fueled my interest in the storyline. I was actually able to find the complete storyline of the Death, the Funeral, and the Return at McKay’s in 2011, I believe.

Sometime later, I found out how this storyline came about. Originally, Lois and Clark were going to get married during this time. Then, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman came and killed that story for a long while. I think upper management wanted the comics and TV to have them get married at the same time or something. Anyway, someone came up with an idea of killing Superman and that idea came to fruition here. The issues in this trade are Superman: The Man of Steel #17-19, Superman #73-75, The Adventures of Superman #496-497, Action Comics #683-684, and Justice League America #69. We got some of the most well-known writers on the books. Dan Jurgens, Louise Simonson, Jerry Ordway, and Roger Stern handle the writing. The pencils are handled by Dan Jurgens, John Bogdanove, Tom Grummett, and Jackson Guice.

The Death of Superman
Writers: Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Jerry Ordway
Pencillers: Dan Jurgens, Tom Grummett, John Bogdanove, and Jackson Guice
Inkers: Brett Breeding, Rick Burchett, Doug Hazelwood, Dennis Janke, and Denis Rodier

The story starts out as Doomsday breaks out of his cage and begins his rampage. While Doomsday is reigning destruction, Superman is in Metropolis taking care of his own business. He deals with some under dwellers causing trouble. He also makes time to star on Cat Grant’s talk show. The Justice League of America… or at least some weird version of it (Bloodwynd????), hears about Doomsday being in their area. They find him and let’s say that it doesn’t go well for Blue Beetle or Guy Gardner. Doomsday decimates the team.
You really don't want to know what happens next.

Superman gets informed about the attack and heads off to join the rest of his teammates. The fight then gathers around a family’s house. The family has a pretty annoying teenager. Man, that kid was a prick. Anyway, Doomsday continues to stomp though our heroes even though Superman has joined the fray. When a gas main explodes, the family is put into more danger and the heroes (save for Superman) are knocked out. Superman tries to chase down Doomsday but has to deal with the burning house. Luckily, some of the JLA found their second wind and helped the family.
Oh man... I don't even want to know where that "Crunch" sound is coming from. I hope Guy Gardner healed from that!

Superman catches up to Doomsday in a small town. Maxima, another League member, joins the fight. She and Superman do what they can, but it’s no use. Doomsday heads off to another location and Superman’s the only one who can stop the monster. Clark follows the path of destruction to a Lex-Mart and the fight begins again. In a funny way, Doomsday gets the idea to head to Metropolis from a crappy wresting commercial. In order to keep him from populated areas, Superman throws him into an abandoned research facility. He and Guardian (of Cadmus) try to stop Doomsday, but it goes nowhere and they are knocked out by the monster.

Doomsday reaches Metropolis and does his destruction thing. Superman gets his second (or fifth?) wind and fights Doomsday again. He tries to get him out of the city but it doesn’t work. The two combatants throw down like it’s nothing. The military, Supergirl (Matrix), and some Cadmus soldiers try to help, but it’s no use. After saying a final goodbye to Lois, Superman jumps back into the fray and finally takes out Doomsday. Unfortunately, the fight has left Superman severely damaged and he dies right in Lois’s arms.
Hmm... this is a powerful panel, don't get me wrong. Still, did Lois just drop Superman? Also, is he posing so we can see his muscular self?

This is an okay read… yeah, I said it. It’s not really good but it’s not horrible either. While I like the story, it’s a little repetitive especially when Superman goes up against Doomsday. They fight, Doomsday gets away. They fight, Doomsday gets away. Do I need to go on? I also thought that Superman didn’t use all of his powers to his fullest. It’s a good fight towards the end, but I feel like Superman could have done more. Also, there really isn’t much to Doomsday. He’s just a walking mass of destruction who doesn’t talk or do anything else.

While there were things I didn’t like about the story, it was a good, fast-paced read. It’s like an action movie with little plot. I liked the fights. The fight between the League and Doomsday was brutal. Even though it’s not the League I’m used to, it was a good fight. I also liked the fights between Superman and Doomsday. They may have been repetitive at times, but they were cool. I especially liked the ending fight and how it all unfortunately ended. I especially liked the ending speech.

The artwork is pretty good for the most part. It’s full of balls-to-the-wall action. I really enjoyed Jurgens’ and Grummett’s issues. Those were the ones that really stood out to me. I especially like #75’s layout. It was nothing but full page splashes. I wonder if Jim Lee ever thought about it. While Bogdanove’s pencils are really stylized, at least it’s action-packed. Guice’s issue was the only one I really didn’t care for. His artwork wasn’t bad but it wasn’t really good either. I’ve read other issues penciled by the Action Comics’ team and it’s usually better than this.
"BDAMMM?" I can imagine Chris Tucker saying that.

While it’s not bad, I think it’s one of the weaker storylines in the whole Death/Funeral/Return trilogy. Check it out if you if you’re wondering about how Superman actually died. I will probably look at the other trades in the overall storyline later on but not this month. Well, it’s time for me to get out of the 90’s and look at a couple of issues from the 2000’s.

1 comment:

  1. This is the story that got me back to comics but true it wasn't not the strongest of the trilogy. But I think they wanted to make his death convincing and I really think they sold it