Superman #52 review

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. 


  1. theories floating that new 52 superman isn't superman at all, that seems very good way out to explain why this superman is mostly a jerk. and I don't think dc will return a character that has so much rejection.
    the bad part of all this is that it is all for nothing, superman didn't died at all. he is there, just need to change the clothes

    1. I wouldn't say he was mostly a jerk, certainly he was terrible in S/WW under Tomasi, and a lot of the time under Gene Yang, but Grant Morrison, Dan Jurgens, George Pérez, Greg Pak, Charles Soule and some guys I've likely forgot gave us a much better Superman.

    2. I seem to recall early n52 Superman being overly violent and fairly stalkery, too. I've referred to him as "Superfratboy Dudebro" from the beginning. :p But I think you might be giving Berganza and more credit than warranted, as a change in storyline is nothing new for them, especially as the Rebirth story and titles were developed congruently. Still, this was a much better story than the sound of what was initially reported. :)

    3. I'm in a good mood, it's Rebirth Week!

    4. Don't forget Scott Lobdell!

  2. I'm going to miss this Superman. I like Dan Jurgens and Post-Crisis Superman a lot, but the New 52 was where I really got to know the character. It's just like Mart said, all he needed was good writing.

    That said, I'm kinda hoping he doesn't come back, as it will probably be as a villain, Golden Age Supes "Infinite Crisis" style. I just know someone is already plotting it.

    1. Oh, that'd be rotten. But yeah, you may well be right.

  3. Didn't even put the 'black suit' idea together. Brilliant.

    Thanks for the link but there are other ideas I've heard floated as well which are just as interesting.

    And Doomsday coming back? Already? Wasn't he just here?

  4. Let's put all theories apart for a while, since they could come up with _anything_ at this point. With all its flaws, I always saw a tentative pattern in this DCnU - which I did not like at all: to get back to DC's golden age (the leaping, avenging Superman of the beginnings, for instance) and then silver age, and on, taking (too) seriously the campy ideas of the times.
    Superman "marrying" Wonder Woman, Lois dating other guys, revealing his alter ego, Clark becoming homeless and powerless, chased by his enemies... These would have been, and probably were, typical "imaginary stories" from the '50s and '60s. The Quarrmer's story would probably have been the next step into the bronze age.
    With this in mind, this final story reminds me more the *FIRST* death of Superman: kryptonite poisoning, all friends standing in circle, weeping, Supergirl in charge of the world... Almost verbatim. Nice, if you ask. To me, new 52 will always be Dark Weisinger era.

    Since its first official reboot, COIE, DC continuosly rewrote classic stories updating them. From Lori Lemaris, to the Death od Superman, to Red/Blue...
    This is what Lois and Clark meta-address in that panel: history repeats itself, yeah, been there, done that. I think this is the spirit of Rebirth: acknowledging a huge history that's become legend: there is no continuity anymore, only a great mithology that has been and will be retold forever. And if the writers are good, that might be fun. Let's hope.

  5. Wow, some wonderful observations there. I hadn't noticed that so many different ages of Superman were being referenced, but it's certainly arguable. And I'm all for The Superman Legend, so long as we get interesting new takes and the occasional all-original story.


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