Episode 143: The Return of Superman

Short post detailing the return of Superman. Established heroes like Supergirl and The Guardian stepped into the spotlight to become the hero Metropolis needed. An entire group of emerging heroes appeared in their own series, “Superman: The Legacy of Superman” trying to fill the void. However, DC decided to four new characters emerge with the desire to become the authentic Superman. All four of the previously mentioned titles detailed the events of the storyline known as “The Reign of the Supermen”. Four characters with the iconic S logo on their chests appeared and they all vied to be the one true Superman. The Eradicator, Superboy, Steel, and Cyborg Superman as they are more commonly known all have a claim to the heroic mantle but the citizens of the comic world are split as to who they should cheer for, After a complex series of events that resulted in the destruction of Coast City and the death of its inhabitants, Cyborg Superman is revealed to be evil and with plans to destroy the world. The original Superman with very limited powers reemerges from his “healing coma” with only a fraction of his powers but with the help of the other Supermen he ends up saving everyone and getting back to top form. The explanation of a healing coma being a state which Kryptonians achieve when being near death but is indistinguishable from being dead to human perception made sense within the narrative world but not to the readers. The general reception of Superman’s return was negative as people felt their emotions had been played with and that it was all just a marketing ploy. For almost a full calendar year since the emergence of Doomsday, readers were taken on a wild ride but they ultimately arrived at the same spot of Superman saving the day yet again. Interestingly enough, the biggest effect that this storyline had on the grander scale of the DC universe was that the destruction of Coast City led to Green Lantern Hal Jordan becoming consumed with grief, turning evil, and destroying entire planets before being stopped by a large group of heroes, including Superman. And yet even this event was temporary and eventually erased from the overall narrative. You see, the death of Superman was a historic event that took away one of the most recognizable characters in fiction. A resurgence of comics followed as people believed that the story had run its course and suddenly the once disposable periodical of comic books had become a collector’s item. Upon Superman’s return the fans felt lied to and their disapproval was easily reflected in DCs rapidly freefalling sales numbers. The ripple effect of the Death of Superman inflated the comic book industry bubble which burst upon his return. Comic book collecting returned to being an obscure financial trade and big companies like DC and Marvel lost a lot of money, to the point that the latter had to file for bankruptcy. Still, these repercussions pale in comparison to the change that had now occurred in serialization. Superman’s revival had led the way for other characters to be killed off and brought back again. Perhaps Max Landis, the creator of the comedic retelling of The Death and Return of Superman” short film said it best: “The sacred suspension of disbelief, as far as death, had ended. ‘Death of Superman’ didn’t kill Superman; it killed death.” And for some reason the video has Korean subtitles, make sure to change that if you want. Be warned, the video has a lot of F-bombs throughout.

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