Superman: World without a Superman

superman world without a superman cover trade paperback review
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10

Interesting idea of what the death of the world's greatest hero would mean

Bad '90s stuff

Comic Info

Comic Name:   The Adventures of Superman/Action Comics (Volume 1)/Superman:  The Man of Steel/Superman (Volume 2)

Publisher:   DC Comics

Writer:  Dan Jurgens/Karl Kesel/Jerry Ordway/Louise Simonson/Roger Stern

Artist:   Jon Bogdanove/Tom Grummett/Jackson Guice/Dan Jurgens/Walter Simonson

# of Issues:   9

Release Date:   1993

adventures of superman #498 cover funeral for a friend part 1

The Adventures of Superman #498

Reprints The Adventures of Superman #498-500, Action Comics (1) #685-686, Superman:  The Man of Steel #20-21, and Superman (2) #76-77 (January 1993-June 1993).  Superman is dead, struck down by Doomsday in battle.  The world is reeling as it’s great hero has fallen, but that doesn’t mean that the need for Superman ends.  While Lois tries to find a way to cope with losing Clark and Superman, Lex Luthor finds his ultimate enemy now gone.  Supergirl and others investigate the strange occurrences involving the disappearance of Superman’s body from his tomb, and Ma and Pa Kent face the fact that their son is gone.  With Superman’s death, new heroes arise and a greater mystery…can the world survive without a Superman?

Written by Dan Jurgens, Karl Kesel, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonson, and Roger Stern, Superman:  World without a Superman collects the Funeral for a Friend story following the monumental Superman:  Death of Superman storyline.

The Death of Superman series was a big deal.  It made the news, and Superman (2) #75 (January 1993) became a coveted collectors’ item for a time following its release and multiple reprints.  While The Death of Superman dealt with fighting and battle, Funeral for a Friend focused on what the death of the world’s greatest hero would really mean…but it does get bogged down in comic minutia.

Superman:  World without a Superman should have been a real though provoking story.  It is a big societal question of what would happen if the major peace keeping force was suddenly gone.  With a power vacuum, would there be crime or would there be mourning?  World without a Superman occurred before 9/11, so writers couldn’t predict it, but I kind of feel that the world would have reacted very similar…and for some extent the stories in the collection got that right…I just wish it had been the thrust.

superman the man of steel #20 cover funeral for a friend part 3 justice league

Superman: The Man of Steel #20

The comic instead serves to lead up to the Reign of the Supermen which introduced the four new Superman (Superboy, Cyborg-Superman, Steel, and the Eradicator).  This means there is a lot with the stolen Superman body and leftover dealings with the Metropolis underground superhuman population that Superman had been involved…it frankly gets a bit confusing and deters from the story.  The better stuff is the Lex, Kent, Lois, and the world reaction to actual death.

Superman was kind of was in a weird period when this storyline was released.  You had Lex back to life (with his really bad long hair) and the not-really-Supergirl Matrix in a bizarre relationship.  You had a ton of supporting characters like Bibbo and you also had extremely forgettable characters like Bloodwynd on the Justice League.  Superman’s death provided a nice jolt to the DC Universe and got a lot of eyes on it.  Marvel was struggling financially and DC took advantage.  Superman:  The Death of Superman and Superman:  World without a Superman were nice far-reaching events that really drew attention to comics which had kind of floundered after the critical successes of the ’80s.  Superman:  World without a Superman was followed by Superman:  Reign of the Supermen.

Related Links:

Superman:  The Death of Superman

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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