The Death and Return Of Superman is a crossover event that consists of three issues. The issues consist of “Doomsday!“, “Funeral for a Friend“, and “Reign of the Supermen!“. All these storylines, as their names indicate, cover the event of Superman’s Death at the hands of Doomsday and his eventual resurrection in the last storyline. Initially, this crossover was named “The Death Of Superman”. And it was the first time that any studio had planned on killing its most popular character. So this storyline received an unprecedented amount of media coverage.
And this crossover became the best-selling comic book the year it was released. In later reprints, the name of this 3-issue crossover was changed to “The Death And Return Of Superman” by the studio.
We have presented a summary of the complete crossover and have arranged this summary on the basis of the storylines of this crossover. So let’s take a look at the summary of “The Death and Return Of Superman”
This storyline begins with the introduction of Doomsday! when the Justice league responds to a distress call. We also see in this storyline that how the villain gets his name as well. After responding to the distress call the Justice League notice a mysterious creature causing mayhem in the city. The Justice League first responders do not include Superman. This creature literally crushes the first responders.
This creature hits Booster Gold into the stratosphere where Superman catches him in mid-air. Superman says to Booster Gold that “It’s like Doomsday is here”. And therefore the mysterious creature gets his name.
The League fights Doomsday again but the creature again beats the League. Superman is distracted from the villain as he is saving a family. He even throws Doomsday inside a lake to slow him down in order to save the family.
The fight continues but Doomsday is able to escape after causing a lot of destruction with the League tied up in saving people. After saving the civilians, Superman follows the trail of wrecking caused by Doomsday.
Meanwhile Doomsday sees a traffic sign indicating the direction of Metropolis and starts to move towards the city. But Superman intervenes and throws the creature in the opposite direction on a mountain. The battle between the giants again ensues on the mountain and its adjacent forest. And results in the destruction of the forest.
Doomsday approaches Metropolis where he blows up a gas and electrical main leveling a complete neighborhood. The police fire at Doomsday but it remains unaffected. Superman and Doomsday continue fighting each other with all their might. And the exchange of blows between them is so powerful that it leaves shockwaves causing the windows in the surroundings to shatter.
Death Of Superman
The fight between them continues and ends in the final showdown between these two giants when both of them hit each other with a massive force, simultaneously. After this both of them fall on the ground and Superman dies in the arms of Lois Lane. With the lifeless body of Doomsday lying besides him.
Funeral For A Friend
This storyline featured the funeral of Superman with nearly every hero of the DC Universe attending the funeral. And the City Of Metropolis builds a mausoleum for Superman. This storyline dealt with the people grieving and coming to terms with Superman’s death.
The crime rates start to go up again. And other superheroes try to fill the gap left by Superman. Supergirl takes on an active role in safeguarding Metropolis in the absence of Superman.
This storyline also featured how the people closest to Superman came to accept his death. The death of the superhero hit his adopted father the hardest. And Jonathan Kent could not deal with the death of Clark ultimately dying of cardiac arrest himself.
Reign Of The Supermen
After the “Funeral Of A Friend” storyline four individuals arrive in Metropolis claiming to be Superman. These four persons were The Man of Steel, The Man of Tomorrow, The Metropolis Kid, The Last Son of Krypton.
Both The Man of Steel and The Metropolis Kid are ruled out as the True Supermen because the first one wears armor and wields a hammer in his fight against crime. While The Metropolis Kid is actually a teenage clone of Superman. But because he is a teenager it is apparent that the kid is not the actual Superman.
While The Man Of Tomorrow was actually a cyborg and had the exact same likeness as that of the true Superman. He was even scientifically proven to be the true Superman. And claimed that he is suffering from amnesia to cover for the lost memories.
While The Last Son Of Krypton had the memories of the true Superman but his demeanor and emotional make-up were the opposite of Superman. He was not shy of using lethal force against criminals. A thing that Superman never does. he later goes on to become The Eradicator.
Lois Lane conducted both of them to figure out the true Superman but was not convinced with any of them. The first half of this storyline focuses on these four individuals proving themselves as Superman.
It is later revealed that The Eradicator had stolen the body of Superman and placed it in the birthing matrix to resurrect him. He is actually a Kryptonian weapon. While The Cyborg becomes the villain after he is exposed. The Cyborg destroys Coast City and kidnaps Superboy believing that The Eradicator had died with the destruction of Coast City.
Meanwhile, The Birthing Matrix opens and an extremely weak Superman emerges out of it. He is not yet fully recovered but returns because of the actions of Cyborg. He dons the iconic black suit for the first time.
Superman fights with the Cyborg but during the fight. Cyborg hits him with Kryptonite gas. But before the gas could hit Clark, The Eradicator came in front of him and interacted with the gas in such a way that instead of killing Superman, it returned his powers, and sacrifices himself in the process.
The Cyborg unaware of what has happened starts to search for Superman’s body in the mist of the Kryptonite gas. But Superman blindsides him with an attack using his super-strength. And is able to punch a hole right through the Cyborg.
After the fight, Lois Lane is still skeptical of this new Superman and asks what makes him different from other supermen. And Clark responds by saying “How about… To Kill A Mockingbird?” which is actually Clark Kent’s favorite movie. And it is something that he had shared with only those closest to him.
The Title of this storyline used by the studio was “The Return Of Superman”.
This crossover was also adapted into a movie adaptation which you can easily watch.
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This article describes The Death And Return Of Superman crossover in complete detail and also covers the storylines in this crossover as well.