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August 6, 2008

“Where were you the day Superman died?”

Last week we saw that something was trying to break out of an underground vault. Well now it’s free and the gigantic creature is heading straight towards Metropolis. On its way towards the city, the Justice League of America tries to stop it, only to get their pants beaten off. Guy Gardner and the Blue Beetle are severely hurt and when Superman finally arrives at the scene, the League has been defeated. An incredibly long and furious battle ensues between Superman and the so-called Doomsday (the heroes think he might be a doomsday device). Both seem to be equals in strength and speed and it looks like Superman has finally found his match. When the two super-beings finally reach Metropolis, Superman is already exhausted, but in order to save his city he channels all of his power into a final blow. A blow that would kill Doomsday and ultimately also the man of steel himself.

Killing one of the greatest superheroes around was not a simple thing to do. First of all you can never really kill a hero (Supergirl and Flash are just two examples of this rule). They tend to come back in some way or another, be it as a clone, or in form of a successor. Still, the idea of killing the invincible man must have been an idea that had been floating around for a long time. After all, who wouldn’t want to know, how somebody could finally kill Superman? The art of this storyline is nothing special, but it fits the style of the time. By letting the creature first battle against the entire Justice League, the writers (Dan Jurgens, Roger Stern, Louise Simonson, Jerry Ordway, and Karl Kesel,) managed to show us how incredibly strong Superman really is – as he is the only one who can take a punch of the beast and still stand up – only to kill him moments later. Although I don’t think it is one of the best Superman stories ever written, I still think it is very courageous to tell such a tale. The chance was there, that such an event would alienate the fans, but it turned out to be a success, with millions following the events in the following issues: Superman: The Man of Steel #18+19, Justice League America #69, Superman v2 #74+75, The Adventures of Superman #497 and Action Comics #684.

As this is a collection of several artists and writers, I won’t rate Doomsday. I will keep this up for all the events that cross several different comic series.


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