Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman- A Few Thoughts

 One of the greatest qualities of Marvel’s on-again, off-again series “What If?” is that it explored places that a monthly comic couldn’t or wouldn’t normally go. Famous storylines in the company’s history were revisited with different scenarios and outcomes. There was often more death, more genuine shock and some pretty thought provoking stories. It was great fun. An animated “What If?” series for Disney+ is currently in development, which I think will be an awesome addition to their lineup. DC seems to be trying to get in on the action with their recent “Tales from the Dark Multiverse” line, not an ongoing (yet) but a series of six one-shots. There is a Watcher-like character from the dark multiverse who provides the narration, which is a nice nod. Like its Marvelous competition’s counterpart, the series revisits famous moments in DC Comics history, like Infinite Crisis, Knightfall, and the Judas Contract. Unlike What If?, however, the different turns these stories take are still thought provoking but exclusively darker (hence the title). I didn’t care for Dark Nights: Metal, which is why I didn’t jump on this series right away, but the “Death of Superman” issue definitely caught my attention. The premise of “Tales of the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman” was essentially exploring the idea of how Superman’s death and return would have played out if the Eradicator had joined with Lois Lane. As we know from the original “Reign of the Supermen,” the Eradicator was the only one of the four Supermen that appeared after Supes’ death who openly embraced violence to defeat criminals. His approach to Superman’s mission was often not unlike that of many other Wolverine/Ghost Rider/Punisher-esque heroes of the ‘90s, very fashionable for that period. But combine this with Lois Lane’s agony over her fiancé’s death, and you have a character who basically comes unglued from the beginning. How she would stop crime, carry on the fight for truth, justice, and the American way, and what Superman would think when he finally does come back, are some of the waters the book dives into. I was shocked by how much I enjoyed this story. I am still riveted at seeing a bloody, battle-damaged Superman going toe to toe with Doomsday, even though I know how the story ends. To see a writer/artist team up to pay it further homage and explore a darker angle is tremendously fun and exciting. The quality of the book is solid too, with writer Jeff Loveness keeping everyone in character for 1992-1993, fused with great art from Brad Walker, a Superman vet. In my time reading the 50 or so pages, I was completely zoned in to what was going on, which I can’t say about a lot of books nowadays.The success of this one-shot, and that DC would ever consider writing it, is a testament to the staying power of the landmark event that is The Death of Superman. I love that this special even exists because it means that there is still an audience for this story. And in this business, that’s saying something!I highly recommend this issue to anyone who loves The Death and Return of Superman, What If?/Elseworlds comics, or Scott Snyder multiverse stories. Myself, I hope they do a lot more Dark Multiverse stories with Superman and would even buy this type of book if it became an ongoing. For now, I’m definitely looking forward to the hardcover collection of all six books next year. 

Who knew someone in 2019 writing about Lex Luthor II could be so fun! 

2 thoughts on “Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman- A Few Thoughts

  1. Henry Martinez

    I believe DC started all this ”What If” “Elseworlds” genre in the 1960’s with their “Imaginary Tales” stories where they would tell a story-usually a Superman story-as a different reality. The Story of Superman Red and Superman Blue comes to mind as an example.

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