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Superman: The Death and Return of Superman Omnibus Hardcover – March 26, 2013
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Premiering at Number Three on the best-seller list of Hardcover Graphic Novels -- the New York Times
"I really liked [the Death of Superman] storyline, but in retrospect the subsequent World Without a Superman stories were much better. The actual death of a character is a simple thing ultimately ... but the post-death stories of characters are always very emotional and complex. There was one story in the "Funeral for a Friend" arc where the Justice League answered Superman's [annual] Christmas requests, and it took all of them to accomplish what Superman could do in one night ... well written and very touching."-- Pat French
"The other "Replacement Supermen" have gone down in myth, but while all of that was going on there was an un-praised, hardly noticed at all, 5th Replacement Superman in the form of Bibbo Bibbowski. The thing that set Bibbo apart from the others was that he was the only truly normal man to try to fill Superman's shoes -- he wasn't a cyborg, a super-powered clone, or a Kryptonian war machine ... even Steel was an engineering genius -- no, Bibbo couldn't do much at all really, but he believed in enough in what Superman stood for to go out and try anyway." -- Elvis Dutan
"If you're actually willing to read a story in a single 1000-page hardcover, then this Death and Return of Superman Omnibus (978-1401238643) will see you right. It starts at Man of Steel #18 ... and goes all the way [through] Action Comics #692 (which is included in full for the first time, as is The Legacy of Superman), with covers for each issue included to boot. It looks damned fine on the shelf." -- Seb Patrick
From the Author
"To this day, I still encounter people who believe that the Death and Return of Superman was a market-driven publicity stunt. But, quite to the contrary, these stories -- and the attention they received -- all just sort of snowballed.
"The publicity came later, and then only because we'd come up with a (you'll pardon the expression) killer story. The word got out on a slow news day, and the media storm that followed was greater than anything we could have hoped for. But it was all thanks to the story's power.
"Doomsday smashing his way through a suburban Lex-Mart. Lois Lane cradling the fallen Superman in her arms. An enraged Lex Luthor breaking a chair over Doomsday's body. Bibbo Bibbowski kneeling in prayer on a barroom floor. The honor guard of Earth's super-heroes, following Superman's coffin through the streets of Metropolis. Jonathan Kent collapsing in a field. Lois and Inspector Henderson finding Superman's tomb empty. Coast City being wiped off the face of the Earth.
"Powerful stuff. And I got to see it all, long before you did.
"You see, each week, every Superman writer and artist received copies of each others' work in progress, so we could coordinate the stories for the [then] four monthly Super-titles. It was like a relay race, with the Man of Steel team handing the story off to the Superman team, who would pass the baton to the Adventures of Superman team, who would hand it off to the Action Comics team. Team-Action would then shoot the story to the Man of Steel team, and we'd start all over, always under the watchful eye of 'Coach' Carlin.
"I was so lucky to have worked with these wonderful, talented people. It's great to see our stories collected under one cover. For those of you reading them here for the first time, welcome.
"And for those of your who remember these stories from before, welcome back."
-- Roger Stern
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However, this edition blows all those away with its excellence. The full story is collected here. When it was first solicited, it was believed portions would be left out but that is not the case. The story is reprinted in full and there are a few extras within that make this a purchase worth getting.
The binding on the book is good, not as good as some of the other recent DC Omnibus collections in that its tighter due to being sewn/glued and while not as good as say the sleeper omnibus it is still far better than when DC was starting out.
The art is reproduced lovingly here and at an oversized level it truly shows. The pages are sturdy and thick unlike some other collections, and there is no bleeding of art.
The story is a large saga that led into other storylines beyond Superman, including the infamous Emerald Twilight in Green Lantern, but also introduced many new characters to the DC universe who have become a large part in stories, especially the modern Superboy.
While this was the 90's and the art does seem like typical 90's art at first, it actually goes above it and helps draw you in to the stories. You come to appreciate the characters more and really get a feel for what they are going through.
Many comics in the 90's were subpar for lack of a better term, hence the term the dark age of comics, but this storyline actually stands out as a gem. We see superman fighting against the unstoppable and falling in what was a comic story the media hyped up. While every knew he was coming back it was the story of how he came back and how his death impacted the world around him that made this amazing.
The three parts that make up this story are death of superman, world without a superman/funeral for a friend, and return of superman/reign of the supermen. This collects all of the material needed to enjoy the storyline and will provide many hours of enjoyment. It does not collect Justice league 70 which leads into it but the story can still be appreciated very much.
All in all, this is the definitive collection of the Death and Return of Superman.
The "Death of Superman" represents the shallowest writing Superman ever experienced. DC wanted media exposure for Superman so they decided to kill him (facts expressed in interviews). And this was the best they could come up with.
As a character, Doomsday is an empty shell. He's literally nothing more than an evil, dumber Hulk. And the story is nothing more than a ridiculously long punchout. Superman fights like a thug. He uses almost none of his other superpowers (certainly without any ingenuity or effectiveness) and absolutely none of his brains. His "super-speed" alone should have made him untouchable. So on almost every page, the writers painfully shackle Superman into a foregone conclusion. Even as Superman grows more aware that Doomsday is stronger and can kill him, Superman idiotically insists on fighting toe-to-toe in the streets. And what's worse, no other DCU hero can help (which makes no darn sense at all).
I cannot express the frustration that this Superman cannot outwit such a limited, mindless creature. This mind-numbing "epic of futility" took six whole issues. Had this been told in the previous Julius Schwartz and Cary Bates era, Doomsday would have been neutralized in a clever fashion in less than three pages. If you can, compare this fight to the Superman-Hulk fight from the second Superman-Spider-Man team-up. You'll see what I mean.
From there we get to read another slew of issues mourning Superman's death and four false "returns" (a few months of super-standins). I won't pass judgment on them here. I guess they're okay.
The last part is Superman's return. By this point I didn't care just so long as Superman was back. But the explanation was the last straw for me. It was nothing but a pure, dumb gimmick that not even the cheesy Weisinger era of the 50s/60s could match. The gimmick was a new twist to being a Kryptonian. As it turns out, Kryptonians can return from the dead--once, but only once. What sense that makes, I don't know. Seems to me that on page 1 of Action Comics #1 Jor-El would have been aware of this, and rather than send his son into space he would have build a series of super-protective bunkers wherein all Kryptonians could go if the planet blew up, giving the Kryptonian race a chance to survive since killing them wouldn't have been permanent. Of course, since this story was dumb from the beginning, DC didn't extrapolate at that time what effect they were having on the Superman mythos. If DC followed up later, I don't know. I quit buying Superman at that point. (And when DC upped the stakes with Green Lantern's equally-dumb death in 1994, I quit the DCU for over ten years.)
From a historical standpoint, this story also began a tradition for Marvel and DC that every halfway important character MUST be given his or her own "death and return" storyline. For that alone, this story shall live in infamy.
I cannot recommend this story for any purpose other than simply experiencing a historical event for yourself. I only give it one star because I cannot give it none.