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Superman (vol. 2) #75 [Back-Issue Review]


Doomsday!

Words & Pictures: Dan Jurgens
Finished Art: Brett Breeding
Colors: Glenn Whitmore
Letters: John Costanza
Assistant Editor: Jennifer Frank
Editor: Mike Carlin
Cover: Jurgens & Breeding
Triangle #: 1993/2

This is it: this is THE comic that most affected me in my youth as a young, new comic reader. The issue that promised “The Death of Superman.”

Opening with Superman locked in a savage combative embrace with Doomsday, the issue moves us quickly through the final blows of the fight, while allowing Superman a last moment with Lois as he explains that he must match Doomsday down to seeking the death of his opponent–something Superman once swore never to do. We move into a “silent” scene as narration takes an outside-of-things tone, describing the nature of the final blows of the battle, of the feelings experienced by those near and far, related and unrelated, all watching as Superman and Doomsday both fall.

The art throughout this entire issue is superb–it is eye-catching, character-defining, and allows us a much more personal view to the desperate nature of the battle. Images from this issue have often been used either directly or as inspiration for moments seen for years in flashbacks to Superman’s battle with Doomsday; other images from the issue have been reprinted on trading cards, used in ads by various comic retailers and mail-order companies of the time; and on the whole, these images have all been extremely memorable to me, personally, having been an impressional eleven-year-old at the time these saw print.

The story is at once minimal yet phenomenal. It’s easy to lay the kind words for the issue at writer/artist Jurgens’ feet, but the praise is due the entire team, as well as those of the other Superman books that brought the story to this issue. The ending of the issue–the “voiceover narration”–is particularly touching and powerful…and memorable. The issue closes with a final moment between Superman and Lois…and then Superman is dead.

It’s hard to find words to do this issue justice, particularly on the “meta-textual” level. This single issue–and the entire story arc–can be pointed to as sparking a number of things known in comics through the 1990s through the present. It’s also the single issue I have read more than any other comic I own, in all its formats. For whatever its objective weaknesses/problems, I cannot fully separate myself from this comic.

From cover to cover, every part pertaining to the story itself proves memorable and meaningful, as this issue has gone down as one of my absolute favorite single comic books of my lifetime…and provided one has dared to actually read it, this might be one of the most widely-read single comics out there, carrying much impact regardless of continuity and context from previous chapters.

My favorite cover, my favorite moments, and my favorite issue of the story…the issue is greater than the sum of its parts in the eyes of this now-a-late-20-something adult.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8.5/10
Whole: 9.5/10

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