11.13.2009

The Return of Superman : 3 of 5

I started reading the classic Death of Superman saga just about a year ago (finishing The Death of Superman and World Without a Superman pretty quickly), but when I received The Return of Superman and saw it was 480 pages long, it ended up on my shelf for a long time while I read shorter books! Once I started reading it, though, the time just flew by, and I really enjoyed working though this collection of 21 different issues (from several Superman titles and even an issue of Green Lantern). Most of this book covers four different "replacement" heroes who take up the mantle of Superman after his death, so there are several side stories about each one. There's Superboy, a young version of Clark who is a clone from Kryptonian DNA, and Steel (or the Man of Steel), who is an ordinary weapons expert who creates a supersuit to fight crime (and atone for the terrible weapons he has created). Next is the visored Superman, who is all about justice to the point of being cruel (actually he's the Eradicator from Krypton), and finally the Cyborg Superman, who turns out to be the big villain after all (along with Mongul, who wants to recreate Warworld). There are lots of sub-plots about public reaction (some cults spring up to claim allegiance to the "true" Superman) and even copyright battles as different news networks chose which Superman to back, but pretty much all Lois does is worry. The story gets a little out of hand at times, such as when the DC equivalent of Los Angeles, Coast City, is totally destroyed - I guess they figured a huge event like the death and return of Superman warranted a giant catastrophe! The artwork and writing styles vary drastically over these 21 issues (as you would expect), which is both good and bad, since it's fun to enjoy the differences, but a shame when a particular issue's artwork is less than stunning. Overall, there's no way this third story arc could be as amazing as the original death battle itself, but I still had a great time reading this massive saga, and I feel like my comic book cultural literacy score just jumped up a few points!