EDITOR’S NOTE: We continue with our exploration of DC Rebirth with this second review, covering another key event that occurs before the introductory REBIRTH giant-sized issue. Our first article, reviewing LOIS AND CLARK can be found at this link . . . . . http://bcrefugees.blogspot.com/2017/03/bc-looks-at-dc-rebirth-part-1-where-to.html
SUPERMAN #51 (DC Comics, June 2016) Part 1 of The Fall Of Superman. Story by Peter Tomasi. Art by Mikel Janin. BATMAN/SUPERMAN #31 (June 2016) Part 2. Story by Peter Tomasi. Art by Doug Mahnke. ACTION COMICS #51 (June 2016) Part 3. Story by Peter Tomasi. Art by Paul Pelletier. SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #28 (June 2016) Part 4. Story by Peter Tomasi. Art by Ed Benes.BATMAN/SUPERMAN #32 (July 2016) Part 5. ACTION COMICS #52 (July 2016) Part 6. SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #29 (July 2016) Part 7. SUPERMAN #52 (July 2016) Part 8.
If you knew with certainty that your final days were upon you, what would you do and how would you spend them? What would you do if you were Superman?
That’s what this eight-part storyline attempts to tell (and does a good job) across the four DC titles that feature the Superman of New 52. Because he is the Superman who is dying, in order for a pre-Flashback version of Superman (complete with wife Lois and young son Jonathan) to become the dominant player in the DC Rebirth universe.
However, as we have learned post-Rebirth, things don’t become simpler in the Superman universe. Seems like there are as many versions of this character after Rebirth as there ever were. In addition, before the eight issue story of The Fall Of Superman concludes, yet another version is introduced and soon after is retired after serving as one more nail in New 52 Superman’s coffin.
Confused? Reading it might help. But I can’t guarantee that. Although, I haven’t been following Superman on a regular basis, and was still able to understand the who, what, when, where, and why of this one. I picked up the individual issues based on the strength of the excellent LOIS AND CLARK mini-series that came before these events.
I hate to admit this next statement, since I really admire the skills of writer Peter Tomasi, especially the way he played up the complicated family dichotomy in BATMAN AND ROBIN, often tugging at readers’ heartstrings with some very emotional scenes. I think the storytelling of Dan Jurgens does him one better in LOIS AND CLARK, especially when comparing it to the emotional scenes of The Fall Of Superman. However, to be fair about it - - Tomasi is tasked with a lot more in this story, wrapping up the final days and tying everything together. Plus, there needs to be more action to carry the story forward, which sometimes pushes the emotional story to the background.
I don’t want to spoil the story by telling too much here. I recommend this crossover series to anyone who plans to read deeper into the new Rebirth titles. It helps readers understand some of the later events that occur and sets the stage for many of them, especially the emergence of the Chinese version of a young Superman. It also provides more detail surrounding that shocking panel in the introductory REBIRTH book that shows a fallen Superman.
Basically, it’s a combination of battle fatigue from three key events that leads to the downfall of the New 52 Superman, especially after he tackles the newest threat that arises. He’s lost some of his strength and power, is slower and often tires out as the Kryptonite poisoning inside him eats away at his core like a cancer. In his final days he reaches out to family, friends and loved ones to say goodbye one last time. Before it ends, he meets the pre-Flashback Superman who will eventually take over his role as Earth’s protector.
Some highlights for me:
- Superman’s admission (“I’m dying”) in super-small font on the opening splash page of SUPERMAN #51. The scene with Lana Lang is especially touching. Artist Janin does the best job of the entire series at conveying sorrow and regret here, and also in the final issue of the story, SUPERMAN #52 (is that issue # just a coincidence?).
- Batman and butler Alfred’s silent reactions after Superman breaks the news to them, just after leaving the Batcave in BATMAN/SUPERMAN #31.
- The wrong assumptions and miscommunication between the two super-powered cousins in ACTION #51.
- The emotional punch behind the cover to ACTION #52.
- New 52’s words to faux solar Superman, to the black-suited Superman, to Wonder Woman — - heck, all his words to everybody in SUPERMAN #52.
If you’re interested in reading this, it’s not necessary to track down the individual issues - - unless you enjoy the thrill of the hunt. The Fall Of Superman story has been collected in both hardcover and trade paperback editions.
BC RATING SYSTEM
STORY: Very well done It helps that Peter Tomasi is the one and only scripter on all the titles involved in the story. He covers all the bases and throws in a few neat add-ons. 2.5 POINTS
ART: Pretty consistent considering that four different artists illustrated their respective parts of the story. Mikel Janin is my favorite of the bunch, as he really conveys emotion well through facial expressions: sorrow, regrets, fear, anger, etc. 2.5 POINTS
COVER: While the covers are good and indicate the story inside, I expected a little more impact considering the nature of the story. Only 2-3 of 8 covers really hit that mark. 1 POINT.
READ AGAIN? Yes. I’ve read this at least four times over the past year, and still find something to appreciate in each reading. 1 POINT.
RECOMMEND? Yes. If you want to explore DC Rebirth, this series and LOIS AND CLARK are excellent, but not necessary, starting points. They will enhance your appreciation and understanding of the main event. 1 POINT.
TOTAL RATING: 8 POINTS. A solid read. Recommended.