A Look Back at Superman #78 (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 superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1993 and explore a chapter of the Reign of the Supermen storyline through one of the issues of the Superman monthly series.

To put things in perspective, DC Comics fulfilled its promise to kill the iconic Man of Steel in Superman #75 (1993) which sold a whole lot of copies and the daring death concept made Superman a hot news item. After a brief period showing what the world is like without Superman, DC resurrected him in Adventures of Superman #500 which spawned the different Supermen and a new storyline (the Reign of the Supermen) which took effect on the four Superman monthly series of the time.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #78, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written and drawn by Dan Jurgens.  

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Lois Lane still thinking about Superman as she drives her car on a rainy night. At the moment, she still has not learned to live without him. As she is granted access into a facility of Lexcorp, she carefully thinks about the sudden number of many people around the country who claimed to have seen Superman.

Inside the facility, Dr. Meyer meets her and tells her that had met the Man of Steel sometime prior and he believes that the certain person who saved him and others was definitely the same person. Being skeptical, Lois Lane asked him if some other superhero saved them from certain death. In response, he shows to her an image of the heroic figure captured by security cameras. Lois recognizes the face and head even though some parts were shadowed…


Cyborg Superman in full appearance.

Starting with the storytelling, I can say that this is one solid tale that really pokes the curiosity regarding Cyborg Superman…is he the real Superman or some very clever and capable impostor? Dan Jurgens really knows his Superman stuff and he used a clever approach on arousing the readers’ curiosity while still managing to move the story forward. As one of the early chapters of the Reign of the Supermen storyline, it was very obvious that things were set in motion to set up future post-death Superman stories.

The most engaging parts of this tale were the scenes between Lois Lane and Cyborg Superman (note: he sure looks like a Terminator-inspired take on the Man of Steel which itself was a daring concept back in 1993). Lois Lane here is clearly intelligent and for personal and professional reasons, she would not settle for words as definitive answers but have evidence scientifically analyzed right in front of her. Once again, this is a lively reminder that in the post-Crisis universe of DC Comics, Lois Lane is persistent on verifying facts to realize the truth (which is something clearly missing in today’s world of social media and news media outlets serving as loudspeakers for political forces).

While the storytelling remains good all these decades, what really aged badly in this comic book was the bastardization of Superman’s iconic imagery with some robotic influences of the Terminator mixed in that made him look science fictional in appearance. Of course, Cyborg Superman was just one of the Supermen in this storyline and the Reign of the Supermen concept was clearly an extension of DC Comics’ dishonesty behind the death and return of the Man of Steel. This also shows DC’s irresponsible handling of one of America’s icons. Let’s be honest with ourselves here…how many of you really want to see Cyborg Superman in live-action form in a future DC superhero movie from Warner Bros. and James Gunn?


How many of you have this poster of a very bastardized image of Superman in your homes right now?

While Superman #78 (1993) has a good story told and added to the mystery about the resurrection of Superman, it ultimately served as a build-up platform to set up further stories not only about the Man of Steel but also that of Doomsday (note: a big rematch happened a few years later). The image of Cyborg Superman is clearly a defamation of the iconic look of the Man of Steel and that alone really brought the overall entertainment value of this comic book way down in my view. I find it baffling that there was no major backlash nor an outrage from Superman fans back in 1993 over this.

Overall, Superman #78 (1993) is serviceable.


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