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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.
Previously, I reviewed Adventures of Superman #498 (1993) and Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (1993) which were chapters of the Funeral for a Friend storyline. In Superman: MOS #20, a large funeral took place which involved several special guests as well as other DC superheroes who paid tribute to Superman. The entire city of Metropolis is struggling to move forward as the sudden of Superman really impacted all the people, especially on Lois Lane.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Superman #76, published in 1993 by DC Comics with a story written and illustrated by Dan Jurgens. This comic book marked the fourth chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline.
The story begins with Shazam (AKA Captain Marvel) arriving at the rooftop of the Daily Planet where the Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Maxima and others are present. The whole city is experiencing a very somber Christmas season as the death and burial of Superman remains very strong on the people.
On the streets of Metropolis, a long-haired guy named Mitch walks down in the rain feeling troubled not only because Superman died but also due to the fact that their home got smashed during the encounter with the unstoppable Doomsday. Mitch then arrives at a gathering of people outside of a building’s front door. There are several reporters covering a lady speaking to them with a microphone. She tells them that she is Mrs. Superman…
Being the 4th chapter of the Funeral for a Friend storyline, Dan Jurgens crafted a story that not only dramatized the post-disaster situation of Metropolis but also had notable twists and developments that proved to be worth reading.
For one thing, this comic book has Lois Lane reunited at last with Clark Kent’s earthly parents Jonathan and Martha which was not only really dramatic but also had very rich dialogue written. By this point in this particular storyline, Lois Lane has gone through waves of deep emotions and pain, while getting stressed with journalistic work. As such, there is this dramatic pay-off that happened during the reunion with the elderly Kent couple.
What is most notable here is the scene in which Superman’s super-powered allies visit a local post office that literally got flooded with lots of mail from around the world addressed to the Man of Steel. On face value, such a scenario looked silly but the way Dan Jurgens crafted the dialogue and the images, the post office scene became believable and sensible to read. This shows that superheroes like Aquaman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and others do have hearts to be caring and sensible to the people.
The scene of the ordinary guy Mitch is significant as well. Clearly the character symbolizes the poor and struggling American who remembers how a complete stranger like Superman came along, stood up to fight for Mitch’s family and died in the process (while Mitch’s father was absent).
This comic book is also a Christmas tale. How Christmas was dramatized here has to be seen and you readers should get a copy of this comic book to find out why. It should be noted that there are themes of reconciliation and the nuclear family that made the Christmas tale meaningful.
Even without the presence of the Man of Steel and no good-versus-evil conflict, Superman #76 (1993) is a great read as it pushed forward the Funeral for a Friend storyline while successfully telling a meaningful Christmas tale of its own complete with a very unique portrayal of the Justice League and Superman’s allies. How people deal with emotions and stress over Superman’s death was portrayed as highly believable and Dan Jurgen’s writing here was done with really high quality.
Overall, Superman #76 (1993) is highly recommended.
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