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Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a key chapter in the post-Crisis era of DC Comics through a Superman comic book.
To put things in perspective, the Death of Superman which climaxed in Superman #75 (1993) was a major comic book event published by DC Comics and it sure involved a whole lot of risks taken by the creative teams. To put the storyline’s concept short, Superman was beaten by an overwhelming, deformed alien humanoid from outer space who caused massive destruction around. Having no real choice and knowing that his fellow super-powered allies could not stand a chance against the alien called Doomsday, Superman went all-in fighting and stood up against him while defending Metropolis and its people. Superman #75 went on to sell many millions of copies and became an instant collector’s item.
Of course, just because Superman died does not mean that the shared DC universe at that time would come to an end and DC Comics had to keep on telling what happened afterwards.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Adventures of Superman #498, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written by Jerry Ordway and drawn by Tom Grummett. This comic book marked the first chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.
The story begins just moments after the Superman passed away in Lois Lane’s arms. Jimmy Olsen, the body of Doomsday and a few of Superman’s allies were near them. Bloodwynd and Dubbilex shared their respective findings that there is no life left in Superman. As emergency personnel slowly approach Doomsday’s body, Lois Lane turns emotional stating that someone has to do something for Superman. More emergency personnel arrive and attempt to revive the Man of Steel who remains lifeless.
Nearby, a man spots an unrecognizable human-like body among the rubble which turns out to be alive. Suddenly the red-headed tycoon Lex Luthor arrives to take care of the ruined being and walks away carrying it. Luthor refers to the being as a female…
As a post-death Superman story, it is clear that the creative team carefully explored how the many people of Metropolis would react to the sudden death of the Man of Steal while also leaving some room to set the stage to develop Lois Lane – who at this stage knew Superman’s true identity and kept it all secret – in a new way. There were also sub-plots started here particularly with Lex Luthor and Supergirl, the people working for the Daily Planet and the Kents (Clark’s earthly mother and father). The way all the dialogue and character expressions were crafted, there is an undeniable tone of discomfort and uncertainty which dominated the narrative as I read from start to finish.
What I liked the most about this story was how the creative team showed the heavy toll of Superman’s death on Lois Lane who not only has to deal with the loss of her beloved Clark (perceived by her peers to be missing as a possible victim of Doomsday’s rampage) but also do her best to keep working professionally as a journalist of the Daily Planet. I felt Lane’s pain a lot as I read on.
In my view, Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) is a really gripping and highly dramatic post-disaster superhero tale to read. The way it was made, it strongly kicked off the Funeral for a Friend storyline with high emotions as well as an understandable amount of uncertainty that can be seen in the characters. Understandably, there is no good-versus-evil conflict in the story nor any superhero spectacle to watch out for but the sub-plots implemented added some depth which made this post-death tale worth reading. More notably, the creative team succeeded in making the people – both in the story and the reading public – start missing Superman.
Overall, Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) is recommended.
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