Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Mikel Janin, Doug Mahnke, Others
Collects: Superman #51-52, Action Comics #51-52, Batman/Superman #31-32, Superman/Wonder Woman #28-29
The latest collected edition to have the “Road to Rebirth” banner bestowed upon it is that of Superman: The Final Days of Superman and rightfully so. Although it’s not a perfect story by any means, it’s one of the most essential lead-ins to the Rebirth era and was originally published as an eight-part crossover spanning the various titles listed above. Peter J. Tomasi somehow accomplished the arduous task of pumping out eight books in as many weeks, so I do applaud him for that. And, the fact that he had several top artists add some incredibly impressive visuals certainly helped matters.
As you no doubt gleaned from the book’s title, a Superman meets his end, specifically the New 52 incarnation. A transition to the pre-Flashpoint Man of Steel reclaiming the mantle is put in motion, but thankfully, the primary focus isn’t taken off the guy who is about to expire. After all, it’s his story to be told.
There’s much emotional weight to this tale which sees three recent battles affect Superman in the most terminal of ways. Seeing how his final encounters with the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Lois Lane, and Lana Lang played out made for some memorable scenes. I’m glad Tomasi was able to take the time to allow Big Blue to have some heart-to-heart discussions with those closest to him and to see how the impending death will affect them. Rest assured that Batman plays a huge role in this book and no fan will want to miss how he handles getting the news that his best friend is about to die.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit much that bogs down this book. If they had just pared it down to the tender moments and the final battle with the faux Superman along with what led up to it, I think we would have been fine. But I think there was an intention to set up too much of what was coming up in Superman titles post-Rebirth. Sure, the seed planted for the current Superwoman title was quite clever, but we didn’t necessarily need all the stuff that took place in China (yes, it set up New Super-Man, but we didn’t need it here), let alone the superfluous Ulysses.
It is my opinion that this story could have been told in five or six issues as opposed to eight. There’s a bit of fat that needed to be cut as I just said and, furthermore, this didn’t quite possess the magic that The Death of Superman did. This is indeed a nice collection to own if you want to add a pivotal event in recent DC history to your shelf, although I wouldn’t begrudge you if you opted to simply hunt down a copy of Superman #52 instead.