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  1. #1
    Spectacular Member StrikeJP's Avatar
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    Default It's Time for 'The Death & Return of Superman' to be Retold

    I can hear some of the replies now, "We don't need to retread that story AGAIN" or "It's a classic and fine the way it is." So before I'm cast out for hypocrisy, hear me out.

    I think the Death of Superman has become a story that's nearly as important as his origin. It introduces so many classic concepts/characters with Doomsday, Kon-El, Steel, Eradicator, Cyborg Superman, etc. And while it's the story that got me into Superman and I still love it to this day... it's starting to feel dated.

    If you hand someone a copy, you have to explain why Supergirl gets punched into a blob, why Lex is a Luthor Jr with red hair and an Australian accent, why Cyborg Superman is a Reed Richards reject, the D-list JLA, etc. I could go on. And for some people, part of the fun is going back to the 90's era Superman and watching that whole epic unfold thanks to the tight-nit continuity. I know, I was one of those kids that loved being able to see Superman's adventures play out every week. But, as a self-contained story, it isn't holding up like it used to.

    So what would I suggest DC do? Retell it. They recently released a Black Label book called "Harleen" that retells the origin of Harley Quinn (even though we already have the excellent "Mad Love"). I think that would be the way to go. Retell in under the Black/Digital label. Then people can pick which one they'd like to read, the old-school original or a self-contained modernization. It can be in continuity only if the reader wants it to.

    But they have to make sure the retelling hits all the major beats of the original without completely rewriting it. They just need to make it more self-contained. Something similar to the recent animated movie (without all the Darkseid nonsense).

    If I had my way, I'd make it a 90's love-letter and tie in the engagement to Lois and maybe at the end of the story have them get married. Then you could have a solid before/after point in Superman's life. Any writer that want's to tell a classic Superman story before Lois knew Superman was Clark, can place it before this story. And everyone else can tell more modern tales with Lois and Clark married and their son Jon (who also needs a retelling of his origin because that's another continuity mess... maybe for another day).

    So what do you all say? Am I crazy? Do you agree? If you do, what would be your take on a new Death & Return?

  2. #2
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Gotta disagree, personally. I think the mythos would be better served moving on from it more than DC has ever allowed it to, honestly. Its not so much about me feeling its a classic that shouldn't be touched, its just more I think it needs to be less a point of emphasis in his history. Hell I think the character would be just fine if not benefit if it were removed wholesale from ever happening. It was a huge deal to the industry at the time via some lightning in a bottle circumstances, but that was a long time ago and it really doesn't resonate as much anymore. The animated take recently was decent but not spectacular, and it finally making it to film after all these decades landed with a huge thud. The novelty has passed, imo.
    Last edited by Sacred Knight; 04-16-2021 at 02:25 PM.
    "They can be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you. My only son." - Jor-El

    "“Your boos mean nothing, I’ve seen what makes you cheer!”

  3. #3
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    To put it politely, no thanks.

    I don't like Jon Kent, but for all the complaints I have on DC's insistence on pushing this character, at least I can say it's not a repetitive take on Superman. I may not see it that way, but it's progressing the character in a clear direction. Redoing Death of Superman is just pushing Superman one step closer to irrelevance.

  4. #4
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Well, its progressing a character, just not Superman. At the very least I give Death & Return that over the current trainwreck. Hell if they wanted to use a retelling of D&R as a return to prominence idea for Superman and put him back where belongs in terms of focus, I'd have to take that deal in a heartbeat regardless of my feelings on it, as my current negative feelings of the current direction vastly outweigh that of Death. But that spitballing aside, I think its a done storyline.
    Last edited by Sacred Knight; 04-16-2021 at 02:34 PM.
    "They can be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you. My only son." - Jor-El

    "“Your boos mean nothing, I’ve seen what makes you cheer!”

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member DochaDocha's Avatar
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    Oh, some time in my life I enjoyed the heck out of D&R. I just don't enjoy it anymore because it keeps getting rehashed among Superman's depressing parallel to MLB and its Three True Outcomes. Giving Superman a kid had the exact problem I feared, and that was taking attention away from Superman and dropping it on his uninteresting (to me; just putting the standard opinion disclaimer out there to help prevent sidetracking of the thread) progeny, but one could optimistically spin that to me as part of Superman's story arc, e.g. his life now revolves around his kid and so therefore so do the stories (another disclaimer: I don't buy it).

    EDIT: You could say if I wanted to retain my right to bemoan the repetitiveness of killing off Superman, I feel obligated to at least acknowledge writing about his kid, which I generally don't like, at least doesn't have that same problem.
    Last edited by DochaDocha; 04-16-2021 at 02:46 PM.

  6. #6
    THE MARK OF MY DIGNITY Superlad93's Avatar
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    Unfortunately the ship for a straight up retelling sailed maybe two times already back-to-back. That was the New 52 and Earth One universes.

    I don't really see much merit in just doing a self contained Death of Superman story to just...be. All Star Superman did that, and it has the final word on the idea.
    ________

    That said, I think there's a lot of room to retroactively make that story better in the present. That's the power of recontextualization. Moore's Marvelman, and large portions of Morrison's career are them looking at older stories and digging back into those ideas with a clever modern eye to uncover a new dimension to the work that better informs the present. I don't need to see Death of Superman retold. But I would like to see it reunderstood, and, for me at least, made to not suck.
    "Mark my words! This drill will open a hole in the universe. And that hole will become a path for those that follow after us. The dreams of those who have fallen. The hopes of those who will follow. Those two sets of dreams weave together into a double helix, drilling a path towards tomorrow. THAT's Tengen Toppa! THAT'S Gurren Lagann! MY DRILL IS THE DRILL THAT CREATES THE HEAVENS!"

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  7. #7
    Ultimate Member Sacred Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DochaDocha View Post
    Oh, some time in my life I enjoyed the heck out of D&R. I just don't enjoy it anymore because it keeps getting rehashed among Superman's depressing parallel to MLB and its Three True Outcomes.
    Oh I loved it too, don't get me wrong. My god, one of my most cherished fandom based memories is reading that for the first time. I still love it simply on the grounds of an old story. I just started to get bothered by the concept on the same grounds as yourself over the passage of time.
    "They can be a great people Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you. My only son." - Jor-El

    "“Your boos mean nothing, I’ve seen what makes you cheer!”

  8. #8
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    DC is already folding stuff from their animated adaptions such as Red X wholesale into their comics, just make the animated Death & Reign two-parter “canon” as an update imo. Otherwise I’m not really sure if there would be any interest, Harleen was one of multiple Harley origin/OGN books DC has been doing. I’d rather get any other type of Superman stories besides seeing Doomsday and Clark beat each other to death again.
    For when my rants on the forums just aren’t enough: https://thevindicativevordan.tumblr.com/

  9. #9
    Kon-El "The Scion" SuperX's Avatar
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    The story itself was great in my mind, it was what got me into comics. I will not talk bad about it, judt because DC can't keep their history straight, caise it was amazing.

    The movie was good too, like others said the Darkseid stuff could be dropped, and more focus could be on the actual things that were in the original.
    Where is my damn Tactile Telekinesis?
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  10. #10

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    No.
    For one, it kind already has been retold more than once via animated movies and/or the New 52. Second, it's not a good story. It never was, and I'd rather DC stop trotting it out as one of the defining Superman stories.

    But, if it must be done yet again, I would have only one condition: Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League be kept out of it. Say they're busy or otherwise occupied. Or just don't bring them up and have Superman fight Doomsday alone. I so, so, so don't need to see Diana and the League get bitched out again just so Supes and Doomsday can punch each other to death.
    "Never place your trust in us. We're only human. Inevitably, we will disappoint you."


  11. #11
    Kon-El "The Scion" SuperX's Avatar
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    The story was a great story, death, funeral, reign, and return, all good, the hate for this story is sad, it's petty, and obviously wrong placed
    Where is my damn Tactile Telekinesis?
    - Conner Kent /kon-el

  12. #12
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I'll be honest, it wouldn't break my heart if they just got rid of it altogether. It's not really that important in terms of his history. It's not necessary to get either Conner or Steel. Both work fine without it. The books themselves are incredibly dated and most of it isn't canon anymore anyway. He's had how many origin reboots now but this outdated story gets to stay? If I was doing my collection over again, I'd probably just skip it. Doomsday's also kind of a one trick pony. He can't really be used for anything else other than "the monster that killed Superman". I'd rather just get rid of it. I don't consider it one of the "big moments" in Superman's life. The fact that it caught on was just a fluke. I loved Batman Year One way more and if that doesn't get to stay because it's outdated, there's no reason this continuity heavy story that really doesn't contribute anything to his canon that can't be obtained otherwise should get to stay.
    WAKANDA FOREVER! Chadwick Boseman 1976-2020 BLM

  13. #13
    Kon-El "The Scion" SuperX's Avatar
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    How old are you guys that dont care for this story anyway?

    I actually was there and at a age where I could totally understand and enjoy this story.

    This was the biggest thing that has ever happened in comics, nothing else was close, in comics and absolutely no where close outside of comics.this was the pinnacle of the comic industries,the only thing bigger than this for the comic industry was the movie explosion for marvel and dc, but still not big inside comics
    Where is my damn Tactile Telekinesis?
    - Conner Kent /kon-el

  14. #14
    Extraordinary Member superduperman's Avatar
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    I was 14 when it came out and it got me into Superman. But I can't pretend that it's 1) a great story and 2) has aged well. I just don't see it as necessary. YJ gave us Conner without his death and the DCAU gave us Steel without it. Everything in it could have been achieved some other way. It's not tied to the marriage, it's not tied to anything relevant past itself. It's also largely dependent on knowing DC continuity at that time. To give you an example, I love Daredevil Born Again. It's dependent on knowing at least some of his backstory but for the most part, it works as a stand alone story. Death, Reign, and Return are full of these C-list characters that didn't survive a year after it came out. This was the most important thing Bloodwynde, or whatever his name was, was ever in. What was going on in Green Lantern at that time? That was part of the story. Red headed Australian Lex? Who cares? That storyline was wrapped up a year after Superman came back. Matrix Supergirl? Ended three years after Superman came back. References to an obscure issue from 1990 with Hank Henshaw?
    WAKANDA FOREVER! Chadwick Boseman 1976-2020 BLM

  15. #15
    Extraordinary Member Vordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperX View Post
    How old are you guys that dont care for this story anyway?

    I actually was there and at a age where I could totally understand and enjoy this story.

    This was the biggest thing that has ever happened in comics, nothing else was close, in comics and absolutely no where close outside of comics.this was the pinnacle of the comic industries,the only thing bigger than this for the comic industry was the movie explosion for marvel and dc, but still not big inside comics
    I was not even born yet lol, I came way afterwards. It was one of the first collected trades I read because a library had the whole thing and I loved Superman. My favorite part was Reign though, I thought the actual Death was lame because I couldn’t understand where the hell Doomsday came from, or why Lex had hair, like JP points out the story is heavily rooted in 90s continuity. I loved Steel and I grew fond of Kon though.
    For when my rants on the forums just aren’t enough: https://thevindicativevordan.tumblr.com/

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