It’s truly the final days of Superman this week as “The Final Days of Superman” concludes with part 8! Can Superman beat death even though we’ve been told from the beginning he can’t? Most importantly, is it good?
Superman #52 (DC Comics)
The official DC summary of this issue reads:
“The Final Days of Superman” epic concludes in one explosive fight as the new master villain uses Superman’s own solar super flare power against everyone. Can even two Supermen, Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Batman be enough to stop this onslaught? And how will the tragic outcome of this battle change the life of one of the Lois Lanes forever?
Why does this book matter?
Anyone planning on reading DC Comics’ event series Rebirth should read this to find out how Superman will be changing in the coming weeks. Plus there’s the age old “hero is going to die” story to be read here too!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Peter J. Tomasi effectively brings together all the most important Superman characters in this issue as they converge to kick the pretender Fire Superman’s butt. In a way this feels like a team book with many of the heroes working together to end the threat of the fake Superman. This helps give Superman a bit of a farewell from each of his friends, but also establishes there are some jobs only Superman can accomplish. That his new solar power is used to win the day further proves that too.
While much of this issue is watching a solar version of Superman punch Superman in the face – and vice versa – Tomasi does well to make the solar Superman such a large threat that it has to play out as it does here. This makes Superman’s final moments all the more important and justified. Though we’ve seen heroes, and this hero specifically, die and come back Tomasi manages to make the final issue feel important and worth reading. It may not last – okay seriously it’s not going to last – but we aren’t lead to believe it will. With an actual version of Superman being there in the final moments – from Lois and Clark – one imagines this is only a shift for a time.
Somebody get him a Xanax.
Artist Mikel Janin manages to draw a lot of images with fire and energy in varying ways and it never gets stale. Seriously, that’s an achievement, especially when said energy is drowning out the environments around him. Much of the fight takes place in close up panels showing Superman trying to instill some reason into the faker, or the faker screaming in his face too. Janin effectively makes these interchanges feel chaotic and ultimately futile which helps sell the way the events play out.
It can’t be perfect can it?
If you were expecting answers, or at the very least progress (as far as who the person that created the fake Superman is) — you should leave your expectations at the door. It appears many of the developments that took place in earlier issues of the miniseries, were introduced only to be progressed later/more fully during Rebirth. It’s somewhat unfortunate because it makes this issue more of a punch fest that leads to the inevitable more than anything else.
When the inevitable does occur there’s some odd shifting of chess pieces in order to get Superman’s friends all together to say goodbye. While it’s nice to see they get to say their piece it seems a bit forced that Steel is there in time to say goodbye. It makes these final moments feel a tad awkward and forced.
This reminds me of a very bad date.
Is It Good?
An effective farewell and an earned last gasp effort to save the world makes “The Final Days of Superman” worth reading. There are more questions than answers – and ultimately this is a punch fest – but it’s a solid superhero comic through and through.