I bought the “best selling graphic novel of all time,” the death of Superman.
Firstly, when Doomsday first appears, Superman is fighting some monsters under Metropolis. Later, when Doomsday is besting the JLA, he’s giving an interview to school kids.
It’s got to be difficult to have a character so powerful that you’ve got to make excuses in order to move a story along.
In a more recent comic, the city of Kandor was expanding, and that’s why Superman didn’t hear Pa Kent have a heart attack.
So if there’s anything to be learned from this, don’t write yourself into a corner. Don’t have a god as a main character.
In the last four issues of the story, the panels are rigidly controlled. Four panels a page for an entire issue. Then three. Two. The issue where Superman dies is entirely made up of splash pages.
I knew about this beforehand, and made a mental note to pay attention to it, but didn’t notice it until they were all two panels per page. And that’s only because the 2nd and 3rd pages are a weird kind of 3/4-splash that caught my eye. It was very subtle. I remember reading just the “death of” issue soon after it came out, but I didn’t recall the splash pages.
It’s an amazingly quick read. It’s almost all one long fight. It’s like what my friend Gary said when Maximum Carnage was going: “It’s the best story I’ve ever read that has no plot.”
I think if I was reading these issues as they were being released, I’d feel the storyline was wanting. But now, it’s been more than a decade since it’s been out, and discussed ad nauseum. There’s a certain mystique to it. And the creators have talked about how they wanted Doomsday to be this force of nature. This unstoppable unknown. But I still want to know more. Maybe later they give the answers.
My wife was flipping through the book when I got it. “Why does Lex Luthor have long red hair and a beard? And why is Supergirl in love with him?” Yeah. I didn’t know either. The hundreds of thousands who flocked to pick up these books probably didn’t, either. It definitely didn’t have a good jump-on point for new readers.
For coverage of the stories after this: The World Without Superman, and the Return of Superman, click here:
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