Comic Book Reviews: Superman Month!

It’s that time again folks! As I mentioned in my previous article I’ve been in a Superman mood lately. The news that Henry Cavill will frontline the Superman reboot just went live, and with that tons of rumours have started hitting the web. Superman is one of the most iconic characters of all time, he’s known in every single country around the world. Yet for some reason, there’s only been one modern movie of the Man of Steel, and it was one of the worst movies you could ask for. What makes a great superhero flick is lots of action, a menacing villain and interesting plot elements thrown in for good measure. While Lex Luthor is no doubt Superman’s arch-nemesis, I feel that he doesn’t really lend well to the big screen. That or he hasn’t been handled properly.  With the technology we have available today, there’s no reason not to make an epic film with a villain that could take Superman on in a fist fight. That was my problem with Superman Returns, there was barely any action scenes at all.  When there finally was, Superman was fighting natural disasters or lifting shit up. There was only one scene that I actually enjoyed. The whole movie should have been about Superman getting hit in the eye with bullets! That was awesome!

Cover to the graphic novel.

The reason I’m talking about this is that the comic I’m going to review today seems like the perfect fit for a truly outstanding Superman movie. I will be reviewing four classics (well three, plus a fairly recent one) Superman stories all recollected in trade paperback form over the next few weeks. I don’t usually give out scores at the end of these, but just to compare, and for the fun of it, I will score each book based on a 5-star scoring system. These are more or less impressions than an actual critique, and will concentrate more on the impact the books had on me when I first read them. Let us start this week with one of the most iconic stories of all time, The Death of Superman!

I have to admit that I’m unfamiliar with 75% of the characters featured in this book, but that doesn’t matter. One of the reasons comics tend to scare new readers away is because of the 50+ years of continuity involved. However, great stories transcend time. This is a universal story that only benefits from the Superman mythos. When I first read this, I only had basic knowledge of Superman or DC as a whole. I heard good things about the book and decided to plunge in knowing fair well that it could lose me quickly with characters and plot points that I wasn’t aware of.  It didn’t.  I strongly encourage anyone who isn’t an avid comic book reader to pick this one up. Any comic book store carries this around and it’s fairly cheap too.  You could also hit up Amazon and have it delivered right to your door.

Iconic cover to Superman #75.

The book has one of my favourite fight scenes I’ve ever found in a comic book. This says a lot as I don’t dig most action scenes in comics. It usually goes like this. Villain kicks the hero’s ass in the first arc, and then the hero wins in an anti-climatic fashion in the end. What we have here is an epic fight between two god-like figures that battle it out during most of the book and don’t let out. The outcome is fair, everything makes sense. Again, this is the movie I want to see! Just like the Green Goblin to Spider-Man, Doomsday is the perfect villain to feature in a Superman picture.

I don’t have that much to say about this book without spoiling everything. What I will conclude with is that every time I think about the comic’s last panel, it sends shivers down my spine. The build-up is fantastic. I have included some images below but be warned, it contains omega spoilers (which is ironic considering I just said I didn’t want to give them away). There was no better way to end the book. The Death of Superman is not only a must for Super-maniacs; it’s also a book that any comic book reader would do well in checking out. It’s also a story I use often to attract new readers to the medium. There is simply no better introduction to the character. Love the book, love the ending, I have to give it the maximum score.  Well done!

********* Spoiler Warning *********

********* What follows are the last six pages from this classic tale.  Click to enlarge. *********

10 thoughts on “Comic Book Reviews: Superman Month!”

  1. I had to edit in the final pages where the caption is one of the most moving ever written in a comic. Dan Jurgens wrote what I consider to be a modern classic. There’s a reason it’s the highest selling Superman comic in history, it was just so touching. Read the yellow captions again, and if you don’t feel anything than I’ll be shocked. Honestly readers, READ IT! I included it here just for you!

  2. My only fear with them even attempting this story is what happened with the cartoon version, which is to say it SUCKED! They essentially put the Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend and The Return of Superman together in one animated movie that was around 1.2 hours. Yeah, awesome O_o

    Now if a director was able to convey the same emotion that was felt in this storyline, along with the non-stop action and the desperation that Superman felt, then yes this would be kick ass. The only problem though, how do you make a good sequel? I can’t imagine any story of them bringing him back being anywhere near as good as the story of them killing him off.

  3. The answer is simple Jarrod, you don’t. This movie should end with the death of Superman and that’s it. The next movie should simply start over.

    The problem with a movie version of this comic book is all the characters they would have to introduce. I wouldn’t mind a Hulk-intro in the first 5 minutes as quite frankly, I’m tired of origins in superhero movies, they take too much time.

    They could also not include the JLA in the story and only have Superman and Doomsday, which could work as well.

  4. See that’s the thing though, to Hollywood this wouldn’t be a workable idea. They always want to franchise their movies, and if they started with this that would be the end of it. I wouldn’t want them to do prequels and crap like that. Ideally they would have a trilogy or something where this story is essentially built up upon until the final film where it ends with Superman saving the day, and that’s that. Again though, I can’t imagine Hollywood actually killing off their lead unless they were planning on a Returns story all over again.

  5. They would never reboot the franchise after just establishing it. They want to move away from what happened with Superman Returns, thus why we’re getting a reboot right now. Same will happen with Batman in another 5 years.

  6. All they need is a great movie. People won’t care if they don’t get a sequel after that, they’ll just be happy to get another Superman movie as they’ll see no reason for it to suck considering the success of the previous one.

  7. At this point Steven, I just want a kick ass Superman movie myself. You’re 100% right that people are just dying to see a good Superman movie with today’s visuals. Whatever comes next, we’ll take it in stride.

Leave a Reply