Sunday, April 5, 2009

Retro Review: World Without a Superman TPB(1993)

For the record this trade collects all of the "Funeral for a Friend" Superman issues from the early 90's. With the exception of JLA #70... Why JLA #70 isn't included I have no clue, since the first page of this trade starts off by saying "Before you turn the page, read JLA #70"... Well, I'd have read JLA #70 if it was included in this trade!!!

Before I read this trade, to get myself in the right mindset, I re-read Superman #75, the issue where Supes kicks the bucket(kind of). The last time I read that comic was probably about 15 years ago, and I hated DC comics back then(I was a stupid kid!). The only reason I even have that comic is because my mother brought it for me one Christmas. Anyway, Supes #75 is one of the most unusual comic books I've ever read. Every page was just a full page picture, there were no panels. It consisted of 26 full page pictures, with some sporadic dialogue thrown in... I don't remember noticing that as a kid(once again, I was a stupid kid)but it just seemed weird to read a comic book with no panels. Anyway, here's my review for the World w/o Superman trade.

Overall- Basically, I really didn't like this storyline. At all. There, how's that for a review! OK, I guess I should add a little more than that. Reading this TPB really made me dislike, to flat out hate many of the citizens of Metropolis. I HATED that frigging Bippo moron. Whenever he was on a page, I wanted to rip the page out! UGH!!! Then there was Jimmy Olsen... All he did was whine throughout the whole trade! I don't care who Jimmy Olsen sells his Superman/death pictures to! I just don't care!!!

I did feel bad for the Kent's(Supes adopted parents). Out of everyone in this trade(well, except for Lex Luthor, and I'll get to him later), I liked them the most. How couldn't you feel badly for them? They couldn't attend the funeral of their only son and he was being buried far away from them, in a very public park. That has to suck. Lois Lane had me torn for most of this storyline. On one hand, you feel for her because she had just lost her fiancee, but then, on the other hand, she was mourning more for Superman than the missing and presumed dead Clark Kent. Most of this trade, she would start crying about Superman, and then remember that she should actually be mourning for Clark, NOT Superman. How she didn't give away Superman's secret identity in this story was totally beyond me.

Then there was Lex Luthor. For the record, I love Lex Luthor. The guy is just the quintessential villain. He always has an evil plot brewing, but he's also trying to make it look like he's really one of the good guys. I've always stated that I enjoy reading about the smart villains(Lex, Dr. Doom)as opposed to the crazy villains(Joker, Sabretooth). Lex made this story readable for me. The scene where Lex comes face to face with Doomsday's corpse and attacks it with a chair for "robbing" him of his "right" to kill Supes was pretty cool. I also enjoyed when Lex killed a woman who he felt wronged him and then went to Supes crypt and confessed his crime to Supes casket, telling Superman that there was absolutely nothing Supes could do about it. That was a neat little scene, because it was so true. Lex could basically work with impunity in Metropolis with Superman out of the way, and he knew it.

The other heroes didn't really add much to this story either. Guardian didn't really interest me, and those Newsboy kids at Project Cadmus were some of the most annoying characters I've ever had the misfortune of reading about. I wanted to strangle them! Gangbuster didn't seem that interesting, and the Justice League members who showed up didn't really do anything to help this story out... A few war stories about their time with Superman would have been nice, but we didn't even get that. With the exception of Batman. Batman's part was really well done. We see Batman talking to Alfred in the Batcave, where we discover that Batman has placed the Kryptonite ring Superman gave Bats in one of his glass memorial cases, ala Jason Todd's Robin outfit. I loved that part, because it fit Batman's character SO perfectly. Whenever someone close to Batman dies, a part of them goes on display in the Batcave, to always remind Bats about that person, as well as reminding Bat's why he does what he does. Batman's part was good, but the rest of the heroes just stood around and took up space.

Another real problem about this story was the fact that honestly, it seemed like the writers behind this didn't really have any idea as to what they wanted to do. The first 4 or 5 issues basically had a bunch of characters wandering around doing nothing of note. Then suddenly Project Cadmus stole Superman's body, just so SOMETHING would happen! The Project Cadmus stuff seemed ill conceived and rushed(first Guardian is 100% against cloning Superman, then he's fine with the idea? Wha-huh???)and just didn't add anything to the story. Yes, I know the Cadmus stuff was necessary for Superboy's future backstory, but it just didn't fit THIS storyline. Then we close this TPB with Jonathan Kent suffering a heart attack and meeting his son in the "afterlife" where they have a few adventures, which ends with Jonathan believing he brought Supes back to life.

If someone asked me what exactly the 9 comic books in this trade were about, I wouldn't really be able to answer them. This was just a mess. Personally, I get the feeling that DC knew people were going to buy ANYTHING they published after Superman's much publicized "death" and just threw out a bunch of(very)loosely connected stories surrounding Superman's funeral. This storyline had the potential to be SO much better if DC would have just stuck with a few major players(Lois, the Kent's, Lex, the JLA)and cut out the rest of the junk. Oh well, there's no use crying over 16 year old spilt milk. For a score, I'm going to give this entire trade a 3 out of 10. The only saving grace here were the scenes with Lex Luthor and Batman. Everything else was really bad.


  1. Well, I really liked the TPB. I respect your opinion, though.

    And Captain Amer... I mean, Guardian agreed to Superman's body being taken away when it was explained it was for cloning him.

    However, if Guardian had said something about returning Superman's body after the experiments were over, it would have made much more sense.

    And I agree with you, the Newsboy aren't really charismatic, and Lex really steals the spotlight when he's around.

  2. First off, thanks for commenting. Looking back at this review, I was pretty harsh on this storyline, I don't remember it being THAT bad. Out of the Superman death trilogy though I thought it was the weak link, I prefered the Death of Superman and the Return of Superman trades a bit more.

    I don't remember all that much from this trade, but I do remember Lex being his regular awesome self. Maybe one day I'll give this a reread to see if I was just in a really bad mood when I first reviewed this trade. That happens sometimes!