A Look Back at Superman #77 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superheo enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts, DC Comics fans and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the post-death period of post-Crisis era Superman comic books as published in the early 1990s by DC Comics. Specifically, this is about a tale that took placed between Superman #75 (1993) and the hyped return of the American icon in Adventures of Superman #500 (1993).

What you are about to see is a mix of drama and intrigue that took place sometime after Superman’s death as envisioned by Dan Jurgens. As with other post-death comics of the time, the supporting characters connected to Superman as well as his arch enemy Lex Luthor got their fair share of the spotlight.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #77, published by DC Comics in 1993 with a story written and drawn by Dan Jurgens. This is part 8 of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with the red-headed Lex Luthor (note: in a new physical body totally different from his previous one) in the middle of a combat session. Even though his hatred towards Superman drives him, he could not help but allow his recall of the past to distract him enough to allow one of combatants to strike him down. As Luthor recovers, the session gets interrupted when Supergirl (a clone) appears with Lois Lane beside her.

Lane shares to him a hard copy of a column that she made before it got trimmed down by the editorial team of the Daily Planet. With so much hate in him, Luthor reacts madly to the article which reveals that Superman’s dead body has been taken away by Project Cadmus. Lois tells him that they intend to cut the Man of Steel’s body for cloning.

Luthor then says he will work to get Superman back where he belongs and put Cadmus in its place for good. Moments after, as she walks away from Luthor’s building, Lois Lane expresses concern about how Martha and Jonathan Kent would react had they learned that their adopted son’s body was taken away…

Quality

Several photographs of Superman taken by Jimmy Olsen.

I am happy to say that Dan Jurgens crafted a really solid story in this comic book. Character development is easily the biggest feature here which is very notable on how Jurgens highlighted Lois Lane, Lex Luthor and Jimmy Olsen. Each of them had their own moments – Luthor’s obsession and hatred of Superman here will encourage you to revisit the early post-Crisis encounters between them; Lois Lane meanwhile struggles to move on as she misses Clark a lot (note: they were engaged to get married) while also trying to hard to find his missing body; Jimmy Olsen gets the big opportunity to play a major role on deciding the cover image for a printed media tribute of Superman while feeling really down as a result of the sudden death. Jurgens not only crafted the plot structure carefully, he also wrote down very rich dialogue all throughout and he cleverly used dreams and day dream sequences as exposition to give readers notable visions of the past. This is a very compelling read.

Conclusion

Visions of Lex Luthor’s past accompanying his modern day self shows cleverness and efficiency on the part of Dan Jurgens.

Superman #77 (1993) really is a great read thanks to Dan Jurgens delivering high-quality work. At this particular stage of DC Comics’ publishing history, Jurgens not only really knew Superman but he knew how to emphasize the supporting characters (all of which were impacted by the death in Superman #75) and what direction to take the Funeral for a Friend storyline to. If there is anything that negatively affects the impact of this comic book, it is the dishonesty and betrayal (towards the fans) that came within Adventures of Superman #500 (1993).

Overall, Superman #77 (1993) is recommended.

+++++

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