Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Review: The Death Of Superman 30th Anniversary Special, Pt 2

The Death of Superman 30th Anniversary Special came out last week and it was chock full of great stuff. I covered the Dan Jurgens story earlier this week. That was a solid tale, a flashback to a time when Jon was still a tweener and learning about the famous Death story. Baked within that was a bunch of homage panels as Jurgens introduces the story to a whole new generation of fans.

What I love about the rest of this book is that it also looks backwards but now to the actual time of the Death of Superman. And it also brings back a bunch of the major creators of the time, allowing them another swing. Even better, it has those creators once more writing some of the characters they are best known for. As an old time fan, and in particular a fan of this classic arc, this was just wonderful.

Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummett give us a story focusing on the Kents. Ma and Pa are witnessing the Doomsday fight and reminisce on a little known aspect of Clark's heroism.

Roger Stern and Jackson Guice give us a Guardian, Dubbilex, and Metropolis SCU story. I didn't know I needed another Guardian and Dubbilex story. I did know I needed to see more Guice art.

Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove give us a deeper look into John Henry Irons origin and how he always has had the art of the hero. 

And if that wasn't enough, we get a bunch of pin-ups, including one I'll highlight below. 

It is a hefty $10.99. But you know what? It was worth it.

On to the book. 

I am a big fan of both Jerry Ordway and Tom Grummett so seeing the two of them on this Kent story was great.

As Doomsday and Superman slug it out on TV, Ma and Pa talk about how this fight feels different. How it feels like the stakes are significant.

But to add to that, Ordway has the Kents talk about the major arcs of the time.

We hear about the 'Pocket Universe' arc. (No mention of the fact that Supergirl was in that arc, aptly called the Supergirl Saga.) Of course, it would be hard to explain the Matrix Supergirl in the context of the now returns Kara Zor-El.

We get reminded of the Exile arc, meeting Mongul, and freeing Warworld.

We get this great shot homaging the Panic In The Sky finale. 

Even though she wasn't on this cover, I was hoping we'd get Supergirl in this riff given how important she was to that arc.

Now it would be enough to have Ma and Pa just relaying the greatest hits of that period.

But then Ordway brings in another plot. We see how Superman has become, when needed, a sort of rapid transit for organs being transplanted. Out of death comes life.

What a nice little new wrinkle, showing how heroic Superman is.

And given how death and life are a huge part of the Death storyline, 

Roger Stern teams up again with Jackson Guice to give us a look at the supporting cast of Metropolis.

I was never a huge fan of Guardian or Dubbilex. But in this story, Guardian is trying to help out however he can while the city falls down around him.

We get the classic scene where he and Dan Turpin do their best to perform CPR on Superman.

I have always loved Guice's art so seeing his stuff again made me smile.

But it isn't just Guardian and Dubbilex.

We see Maggie Sawyer and the Metropolis SCU as well.

I love this last panel as they vow not to let Cadmus get their hands on Superman's body. They will defend their hero even after his death.

Such a great story and I love that Stern chose to focus on the supporting cast. They were a huge part of what worked in that triangle era. And I feel like supporting casts are something I don't see enough of in today's comics.

The last story is taking a look at John Henry Irons while the Doomsday fight is happening. Again, it is wonderful to see Louise Simonson and Jon Bogdanove, the two creators responsible for Irons' early stories back with him. 

And a nice way to start that is to give us this image of Irons rising from the rubble much like we saw back when this story was first released.

Irons is determined to catch up to the battle to try and help Superman. 

But as works his way through the city, he keeps running into people trying to deal with the destruction. He frees people trapped in a car, He uses his muscle to work his way into a burning building to save people.

He even uses a sledge hammer to help get to others trapped. 

It show what a hero Irons is.  He is willing to risk his own life to save others.

I do love this ending page.

He is clearly battered. He looks exhausted leaning on his hammer.

But when he hears about others in danger, he is knows he needs to help. He is like his namesake, folk hero John Henry, not stopping. 

Such a great story reminding me why 'The Man of Steel', what Steel was called back then, caught on and remains a vibrant character today.

This is probably my favorite story of the bunch.

I said there were great pin-ups in the book. 

I truly thought this one by Jamal Campbell was powerful. You feel the anguish Lois is feeling.

But I loved how Campbell outs in Daily Planet front pages showing what comes out of the Death arc. We see the four Supermen, vying for the title. We see the iconic coffin. 

And look in that lower left side.

Finally a Matrix/Supergirl sighting. 

Campbell is a great artist. How fantastic is it to see his take on Supergirl in my favorite costume! Yes, she was a lackey of Lex at the time. But it was in the Death of Superman (and more importantly in Funeral For A Friend) that she began to shake free of those shackles.

What can I say a superb book all around!

I hope big fans of Superman and that era of the super-books can grab a copy.

Overall grade: A

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