It's the conclusion of the Final Days of Superman story and no one could say this issue doesn't live up to its title. The New 52 Superman saves his friends from the pseudo-Superman determined to steal his life. And the imposter does steal Superman's life, but not in the way he intended - and he loses his own at the same time. Superman dies after a massive battle also involving Supergirl, Batman and Wonder Woman, with a series of touching goodbyes.
This is a fine issue. Artist Mikel Janín grabs the attention immediately, with page after page of searing battle scenes, then reminds us he's equally adept at quiet moments. The farewells Clark gives to Lana, Lois, Kara, John Henry, Bruce and Diana are touching as all get-out, while a post-death peek at Jimmy Olsen breaks my heart.
Oh, and am I reading too much into the words writer Peter J Tomasi gives Lois here?
Almost like a wedding...
I don't think I'm reaching by saying Tomasi is giving us deliberate nods to much-loved Superman lines in every panel of this fabulous spread, which sees pre-Crisis Clark arrive to help out.
As for the presentation of Denny Swan as someone with the powers of Superman whom no one will accept as the real deal, what can I say but, goodbye New 52?
In a story full of big 'hero moments' my favourite is the arrival of Supergirl - DC have done a great job recently of making Kara and Clark loving cousins, a status so different from that of 2011
And that look on her face - sadness at the loss of her cousin, trepidation at the prospect of now being Earth's number one super-person. It's really well-judged work from Janín (and perhaps Miguel Sepulveda, who gets a thanks). The issue's colours are by Janín and Jeromy Cox and are brilliantly intense, then suitably subtle.
While I've never been a fan of the Diana romance, she says a fine farewell, with that 'all' nicely judged.
In the best tradition of Silver Age Superman, how ironic >choke< that the black suit post-Crisis Superman is wearing as he watches his 'little brother' die is so similar to the one he wore when he came back from the 'dead'.
And the book closes on Lois, which is how it should be - if DC hadn't fumbled the ball by keeping her and Clark romantically apart, this version of Superman would have been a lot better off.
So is that it? The end of the New 52 Superman? Probably not, with Lois and Clark in DC Rebirth not at all convinced.
I've already heard one great theory, but it's not mine - head over to Supergirl Comic Box Commentary over the next few days and see if Anj can't convince you once he's written it up!
This storyline was mis-sold to us as being about Superman trying to form a 'Super-League'. I still don't know if this was a miscommunication between Editorial and Marketing, or Editorial wanting us to be surprised when it turned out the story was setting up the post-Rebirth Superman Family. Probably the latter, and for this I commend DC; I didn't expect this story to go where it did, as Tomasi and his artistic collaborators gave us some of the best Superman moments of the last five years.