What makes a hero, especially in the world of comics? Does it boil down to super powers alone? In Superman, you have an iconic character that everyone can acknowledge has stood the test of time. So why does a story where this character dies, have the life behind it to continue as one of the historically most important story lines in comic history? That is a question that can only be answered by the multitudes of Superman fans. The death of this beloved character has a different impact on every fan, but here at 812review we have a theory. The reason it was, and still is so impactful, is due to Superman had no option but to make the ultimate sacrifice, and he did this without hesitation. Even though Superman may not actually be the most power DC character in just raw power (although I am sure this may be a point you reading this may want to debate) his combined various abilities paired with his intellect makes him the most formidable Hero in the DC Universe. So, when you have built up a character to such heights, that fall is tremendous.
This review of the DC produced Comic collection named Superman: The Death of Superman, is part of a five part collection series detailed at the end of this review. Be forewarned this is going to contain spoilers, so if you have not read this collection, or the individual comics comprised in this collection, we advise you do so before continuing. We will break down each comic as they follow the most relevant story leading up to the final battle between Doomsday and Superman.
This first comic in the collection is about the introduction of Doomsday. Throughout you get a real feel for just how distructive and powerful this monster is. After breaking out of a container and literally digging himself out of the ground, with one arm tied behind his back, Doomsday is free to reak havoc on the people of earth. Our story begins in the same way I think every Superman story begins, Lois caught snooping around and kidnaped this time by the Under Worlders. They are steeling Metropolis electricity, Lois finds this out, but is caught by them while snooping around. Superman comes to the call of a youth named Keith who says the Under Worlders have kidnaped his mom and needs Superman to save her. While this is going on we see Doomsday is starting his rampage. By the end of this comic we see the word is getting to the Justice League about a raging monster and the stage is now set for a showdown to mark the beginning of the end for the Man of Steel. It is difficult to fairly explain just how well setup the character of Doomsday is in this story. He has not yet encountered our hero’s but his malicious intent is clear, murder, and destruction seems to be the only thing on his mind.
The Justice League: Blue Beetle, Bloodwynd, Maxima and Guy Gardner (Green Lantern) are following the path of destruction left by Doomsday, when suddenly their ship is taken down by Doomsday uprooting a tree and throwing it through their ship. Yes, you read that right, Doomsday, with one arm, uprooted a fully grown tree and literally threw it threw Blue Beetles ship like a missile. Guy Gardner is the first to attack Doomsday and in an instant is so badly brutalized by him he is down, unable to fight back. Maxima and Bloodwynd take a double team approach to give the rest of the team time to enter the battle. It does not take long and Doomsday takes out Bloodwynd and Blue Beetle, with Blue Beetle receiving such a beeting the rest of the team thinks he is dead! It is clear, Doomsday is the most dangerious villain they have faced, and till this point Superman has not entered the fight. During all this he has been in a live interview conducted by Cat Grant. It is not until the news breaks into the interview with a Special Report that Superman realizes what is happening and he rushes to assist the team.
At this stage of the battle Doomsday has made quick work of The Green Lantern, The Blue Beetle, and Bloodwynd. The focus for The Justice League of America (JLA) is to get their wounded medical attention. Doomsday has already moved on from the site of the confrontation and we find ourselves at a housing development in Ohio. We see a teenager named Mitch fighting with his mom, and just being a stereotypical teenager until Doomsday turns their world upside down. Mitch turns out to be an important character later on in the story arc, so if you intent to read the next need in the series keep Mitch in mind. Ice, who was engaging Doomsday is thrown through their Kitchen, when finally we see Booster Gold and Superman make it on the scene. Doomsday throws a powerful left hook into Superman that simply doesn’t move him, but is followed by a side kick into Superman so power it blasts him through the house and completely destroys it. Doomsday then shoves Boosters face through a tree, yes, through a tree! By this time the JLA has had time to reunite and working together they poor it on Doomsday, but it seems to have no effect. If anything he seems to be getting stronger, in fact he responds back by demolishing the entre group of Superman, Booster, Green Lantern, and Maxima, all at the same time.
At this stage Superman realizes he has to step up and get Doomsday away from people, and to answer the cries for help, he slams Doomsday into the sediment of a lake bed hoping to trap him long enough to help those in need from Doomsday path of destruction. This does not last long and we see Superman and Doomsday going at it once again, but at every turn Superman is worried about saving those innocent people who are finding themselves in the patch of the fights destruction. By this point the word is getting around about the monster Doomsday, and we see Maxima is able to catch up to Superman to lend a hand by giving Doomsday a beatdown of her own; the only problem is all the people she seems to have no concern about. The two of them fight Doomsday till Maxima makes a mistake at a gas station and ignites the fuel tanks, causing an explosion that allows Doomsday to get away. By the end of this story we see a new Super Hero join Superman, Guardian.
By this point Superman has realized this fight with Doomsday is the most challenging he has ever had. This monster is not only able to take every punch, but seems to be increasing in strength as the fight continues. Doomsday finds himself inside a Lex-Mart store and standing in front of a television showing an ad for a wrestling show in Metropolis; this gathers his attention and the stage is set to fight in Metropolis. The media coverage is all over the news now so we are also introduced to Supergirl and Lex Luther as she wants to help Superman, but Lex convinces her to stay in the city to protect it. Superman does everything he can to keep Doomsday away from the city and throws him into the side of a mountain that actually turns out to the a lab for Cadmus. The fight levels the Cadmus Tree City, and the Guardian is called in by Cadmus to gain control of the situation. As we conclude the end of this battle, everything is leveled and both Superman, Guardian are buried under the rubble. Doomsday heads off to Metropolis.
Superman catches back up to Doomsday and the tone is growing more darker. Guardian figures out he is unable to make any connection with the monster, and his only thought is of hate, destruction, and death. Superman is growing wary as this battle has been raging for a while now and he has already taken a massive beating at the hands of Doomsday. Louis, Clarks Parents, and those watching are all very concerned for Superman as the beating he is taking is just simply brutal. It seems that no one is safe from the destruction of Doomsday, as he enters the Underworld now, where this entire comic started, and proceeds to murder those living there. Untill Superman shows up to save them, there is not any of them able to match the raw power of Doomsday. The next best plan is for Superman to fly Doomsday into the air to even the field since he cannot fly, but as he is taking him up Doomsday almost gets away when suddenly Supergirl grabs him to deliver a beatdown of her own. The only problem is Doomsday hits her so hard, that with one punch he completely takes her out of the fight! Everyone that can help is doing what they can to assist Superman, the problem is everything they try seems to have no effect.
When reading this story you clearly feel the severity of the situation. Superman is beaten, bloody, exhausted, and everything he tries seems to have no effect on the monster. Superman performs his last heroic task by saving the life of Lois and Jimmy Olsen whos helicopter is damaged during the fight. Superman takes a brief moment to spend a moment with Louis, they kiss, and we know this is the end. Superman puts everything he has into an attack and the two go at it like Superman never has before. As the battle nears its end Superman surprises Doomsday while he is distracted by Jimmy and Lois, using the opportunity to finally hurt Doomsday. Yes, this is the first moment in the entire multi-comic series that anyone on the JLA actually did anything that appeared to hurt Doomsday. Superman snaps one of his protruding bones and realizes Doomsday can be hurt. After slugging it out, a final blow is delivered, and we see both Superman and Doomsday fall.
The Death of Superman was a colossal event in the world of comics. We at 812review suggest you pick up a copy of Superman: Death of Superman today. This is a compelling story arc witnessing the struggle Superman has in accepting the reality of Doomsday, and what he must do to stop the creature. Once he realized it will require the ultimate sacrifice, Superman never hesitates, he acts. At the start of this review we suggested the reason why this story is so impactful was due to the reaction of Superman over this story arc. It may be fair to acknowledge the supporting factor to all of this is Doomsday himself. The creative team at DC came up with a villain who was so outside the box, so unbelievably powerful, there was really no choice left but for the hero’s in this story to put everything on the line. Above them all, only one hero actually had the physical ability to withstand and deliver the necessary battle to stop Doomsday. There are many points through the story we purposefully left out of this review so these can be discovered when you read this great story. In the end, it was wonderful to see all along that Superman stayed true to who he was during the entire confrontation; he was constantly worried about those whom Doomsday effected. Rather than not caring about those around him, and pouring everything he had into the fight such as Maxima did; to his detriment he was not only fighting Doomsday but he was saving Super Hero’s and non-Super Hero’s alike.
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