The Big Picture: Dumbsday, Part 2 - The Reign of the Supermen

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Dumbsday, Part 2 - The Reign of the Supermen

MovieBob takes a look at how DC Comics followed the death of Superman with an even more convoluted story line.

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Wait, I thought the idea of trying new things for Superman was the result of that Red and Blue Supermen idea?

Whoa, comics are confusing.
And weird.
But mostly confusing.

I couldn't help but chuckle at the picture of Nicholas Cage as Superman. If WB people from that time are still around like Bob says, I wonder if that means the new Batman vs Superman/Dawn of Justice/whatever the fuck they're calling it is going to feature a fight with a giant spider...

I think this is probably one of the better "Comics... are... weird!" segments. This is how I like to approach them, just getting a summary of what happened to see how ridiculous it is.

Of course Bob could be missing things, but honestly I'm not going to claim to be knowledgeable on the subject so I'll take it for what it's worth.

And Bob wins the internet today for the Kids in the Hall reference.

I gotta be honest, none of what you described in this video or part 1 sounded that particularly bad to me, in fact it sounded pretty boss. Of course I don't actually read comics so I guess that makes my opinions less than worthless, but I just felt I needed to say that after watching both videos. Well okay, that reborn superman did look like a dumb punisher wanna be, and that mullet was way too much, but other than that you only made me more interested in the death of superman.

Also I have to ask, Bob, is there ANYTHING you like or even deem passable that existed in the 90s, which seems to be just a decade long entertainment sinkhole in your eyes?

Points for showing the real Eradicator.

Looking back now, what Bob says is mostly correct. Looking at it at the time, I remember (as do some of my friends) all these plot thingies looking like they were going somewhere. And on a similar wavelength to the tone of these vids, that was the biggest disappointment. The Last Son, Terminator, and Superboy could have all been far more interesting if...Well, if DC had gone a completely different route with the entire arc. But with all the promises and teases and hooks, it's hard not to find yourself even more disappointed.

Scarim Coral:
Wait, I thought the idea of trying new things for Superman was the result of that Red and Blue Supermen idea?

I think that was several years later. It did the same thing, though. In fact, a lot of the 90s did this.

Wow, that story was really quite boring and stupid. It definitely makes sense why I keep hearing rumours that DC are trying to work it in to their new movies (although rumours of this sort are about as reliable as a chocolate thermometer).

As a rule, your hero should never sport a mullet. Unless his name is 'Zapp Rowsdower.'

MovieBob:
Dumbsday, Part 2 - The Reign of the Supermen

MovieBob takes a look at how DC Comics followed the death of Superman with an even more convoluted story line.

Watch Video

Wait a second... the Eradicator steals Superman's body to use it in order to resurrect itself?

...

Am I missing a step here? Wouldn't the Eradicator need to be alive in order to steal Superman's body, and if he is, why would he need to use it to resurrect himself? If he's dead, how does he steal... anything? He's dead!

Bob, I... could you elaborate on this? Because this makes no sense, even by comics standards.

Mangod:

MovieBob:
Dumbsday, Part 2 - The Reign of the Supermen

MovieBob takes a look at how DC Comics followed the death of Superman with an even more convoluted story line.

Watch Video

Wait a second... the Eradicator steals Superman's body to use it in order to resurrect itself?

...

Am I missing a step here? Wouldn't the Eradicator need to be alive in order to steal Superman's body, and if he is, why would he need to use it to resurrect himself? If he's dead, how does he steal... anything? He's dead!

Bob, I... could you elaborate on this? Because this makes no sense, even by comics standards.

Sounded like the Eradicator just used Superman's image, not his actual body...

After last weeks episode i tried to read up on Doomsday himself. Oh my god! Crap like this is the reason i stopped reading comics.

Mangod:
Wait a second... the Eradicator steals Superman's body to use it in order to resurrect itself?

...

Am I missing a step here? Wouldn't the Eradicator need to be alive in order to steal Superman's body, and if he is, why would he need to use it to resurrect himself? If he's dead, how does he steal... anything? He's dead!

Bob, I... could you elaborate on this? Because this makes no sense, even by comics standards.

I'll try to summarize.

The fortress of solitude was built by the Eradicator. The robots running the fortress resurrected the eradicator after Superman had destroyed it, by throwing it into the sun. They managed to get most of it's energy contained in a containment field.
But the Eradicator was confused and suffering memory loss, only remembering it had recently been killed in battle. After watching news footage about Superman being killed by Doomsday it assumed it was Superman. In it's containment field it was very limited though and it came up with the idea the "real power" must still be in the body.

It travelled to Metropolis to reclaim the body, once there however it discovered it couldn't just repossess the body. Instead it used matter from the tomb to built itself a new body. It took the old body with it to use as a power "battery" (Superman is solar powered), and would drain power from the body whenever it was getting low on power itself. After a while the power build-up in the body was enough to revive the not-quite-dead Superman.

OT: I still like the whole Death-Funeral-Reign-Return story lines...

Mangod:

MovieBob:
Dumbsday, Part 2 - The Reign of the Supermen

MovieBob takes a look at how DC Comics followed the death of Superman with an even more convoluted story line.

Watch Video

Wait a second... the Eradicator steals Superman's body to use it in order to resurrect itself?

...

Am I missing a step here? Wouldn't the Eradicator need to be alive in order to steal Superman's body, and if he is, why would he need to use it to resurrect himself? If he's dead, how does he steal... anything? He's dead!

Bob, I... could you elaborate on this? Because this makes no sense, even by comics standards.

From what I understand - he was alive but needed a template, kinda like how stem cells are alive but don't actually do anything on their own without something to copy. So it's really a matter of Bob using shorthand and being a bit confusing as a result.

After watching that, I can see how Superboy and Steel were the more popular of the 4 replacement Supermen: they're the easiest to keep track of compared to the Cyborg Superman (nice pic of him as one of the Sinestro Corps) and Eradicator. I would ask Bob to elaborate more on how Return of Superman wrapped up (and that Bloodlines thing, which I remember as just belch), but even he can only take so much.

Mangod:

MovieBob:
Dumbsday, Part 2 - The Reign of the Supermen

MovieBob takes a look at how DC Comics followed the death of Superman with an even more convoluted story line.

Watch Video

Wait a second... the Eradicator steals Superman's body to use it in order to resurrect itself?

...

Am I missing a step here? Wouldn't the Eradicator need to be alive in order to steal Superman's body, and if he is, why would he need to use it to resurrect himself? If he's dead, how does he steal... anything? He's dead!

Bob, I... could you elaborate on this? Because this makes no sense, even by comics standards.

Another question raised is why that thing designed to rebuild Krypton is called THE ERADICATOR in the first place.

Daaaaam, that's a lot of convoluted. Though you missed noting how Steel got his own shitty movie that NC sporked.

Also, what happened to "COMICS! ARE! WEIRD!"?

Osaka117:
I gotta be honest, none of what you described in this video or part 1 sounded that particularly bad to me, in fact it sounded pretty boss. Of course I don't actually read comics so I guess that makes my opinions less than worthless, but I just felt I needed to say that after watching both videos. Well okay, that reborn superman did look like a dumb punisher wanna be, and that mullet was way too much, but other than that you only made me more interested in the death of superman.

Also I have to ask, Bob, is there ANYTHING you like or even deem passable that existed in the 90s, which seems to be just a decade long entertainment sinkhole in your eyes?

I was around at the time (although I did take a break from comics soon after this) and it wasn't all bad. It's easy to snark in hindsight, twenty years after the fact, but it was pretty epic at the time. It seems convoluted in a 5 minute video, but the original story came out over the course of a year.

Darth_Payn:

Another question raised is why that thing designed to rebuild Krypton is called THE ERADICATOR in the first place.

Iirc it was because it's original purpose was to eradicate alien influence on Krypton which had become very isolationist and xenophobic. In doing so it also kept Kryptonians on Krypton, which is why there weren't any other Kryptonians out in the galaxy when Krypton blew up.

marscentral:

I was around at the time (although I did take a break from comics soon after this) and it wasn't all bad. It's easy to snark in hindsight, twenty years after the fact, but it was pretty epic at the time. It seems convoluted in a 5 minute video, but the original story came out over the course of a year.

I think it's also worth mentioning that, though Marvel and DC spent a lot of the 90's trying to prove that they were just as hip and cool as those young whipper-snappers over at Image what with their new fangled computer coloring, glossy paper, and busty ladies wearing two Christmas ribbons and a hankie as crime fighting costumes, the near-indiscriminate spending of the 90's speculator boom allowed for a fantastic amount of creativity to hit the shelves. If you could come up with a comics pitch, you could probably find someone who would put up money to publish it. Sturgeon's Law applies, of course, and most of it was garbage, but it also resulted in a few gems like Strangers in Paradise.

Osaka117:
I gotta be honest, none of what you described in this video or part 1 sounded that particularly bad to me, in fact it sounded pretty boss. Of course I don't actually read comics so I guess that makes my opinions less than worthless, but I just felt I needed to say that after watching both videos. Well okay, that reborn superman did look like a dumb punisher wanna be, and that mullet was way too much, but other than that you only made me more interested in the death of superman.

Also I have to ask, Bob, is there ANYTHING you like or even deem passable that existed in the 90s, which seems to be just a decade long entertainment sinkhole in your eyes?

I won't pretend to speak for Moviebob but I'm definitely from his same generation, although 2 or 3 years older. The Death Of Superman is a great entry level comic book story and I always recommend it to anyone who's looking to get into them. It's not literature and it's highly melodramatic, but you definitely come off it knowing a lot of not just how comic book stories operate, but the business of it as well.

Fans who've grown slightly jaded or have taken themselves out of collecting comic books for whatever reasons they can either look back on these stories with either rose-tinted glasses or a deep loathing of what they, in their maturity, have now realized were exploitative or manipulative business schemes. But the truth is that you get that from anything you enjoy in entertainment, because it's a business. What you shouldn't forget is that in all this business/entertainment there's also a lot of creative people who do their job because they are passionate about it. So, whatever reason DC comics had for coming up with the Death of Superman, you get comic books with good art from Dan Jurgens, Jackson Guice, Jon Bogdanove and Tom Grummet, who each channel in their own way the best about the visual language of comic books.

Superman 75 has some of the most beautiful pages Dan Jurgens has ever drawn and the fact that he chose to go splash pages for the whole issue makes the last moments of the battle the most epic. It's an attempt from the artist/writer Jurgens for the reader to let the whole sequence sink in.

Bob doesn't give credit to Doomsday because he only sees it from the "business ploy" POV, but the truth is that Doomsday is the perfect Cave Troll/Dragon/Godzilla/Midgard Serpent that our St.George/Hercules/Superman couldn't slay, which makes the whole Death of Superman one of the finest ways the Bronze Age of superheroes gets thrust into the Postmodern/pastiche world of the 90's...even better than some of Grant Morrison's convoluted chaos magic,meta-reality attempts. Because they played it with a straight face and an unrelenting story that didn't take breaks for the narrative.

It is very reductive and superficial of Moviebob to compare Cyborg Superman to the T-800, when he's about one of the few supervillains with a REALLY AWESOME backstory created in recent years and a respectable power set. Most other supervillains are from previous decades. If he knew anything about the Cyborg Superman he would've compared it with the classic Wolfman story because all Hank Henshaw wants to do is die so that he can end this atrocity that has happened to him. But Moviebob went by Cyborg's look. He keeps turning up in stories because every time he does it's just badass, like in the Sinestro Corps War and even now on DC New 52's Supergirl comics.

I could go on and on, but the more sensible thing is that I simply vouch for the idea that there's a whole of things to like about the 90's and it's worth to check it out if some of you guys haven't. Yes, there's a lot of REAL CRAP, but also good things that even oldies like Moviebob and I didn't really consider at full light, which any of you could probably find redeeming aspects.

I will agree with Moviebob though that Batman's Knightfall was a much better event. But I assume it's because DC learned a few things from the icebreaker Death of Superman :P

It's a shame Mr. Chipman didn't have time to get into how Superboy wasn't really a clone of Superman, but only a clone of as much Kryptonian DNA as the evil cloning facility Cadmus could understand plus half the DNA of Cadmus's evil boss, except years later it would turn out (read: be retconned) that the evil boss thing was a lie and the human half was actually Lex Luthor...

One thing I don't understand, why is the fact that Superman was punched/beaten to death such a bad thing?

I understand the part about the guy who killed him being boring and basically a nobody. I get that. But isn't getting into fist fights with other really powerful guys/gals/things the bread and butter of Superman? I mean sure, there are other bad guys with the kryptonite and stuff like Lex Luthor. But I remember he got a big suit to fight Superman with at one point. I think Braniac did at one point as well. I'm no comics fan, so I'm likely missing a bunch of stuff. However I do remember watching lots of DC cartoons as a kid. Lobo, Darkseid, Metallo, Bizaro, Zod and tons of others I'm probably forgetting were basically all fist fights.

Maybe I'm missing the point.

But holy cow this comics are weird. Like... the only other medium with continuity so tangled and screwed up I can think of is Soap Operas. Even then I doubt it's so strange as comics.

Ishal:
One thing I don't understand, why is the fact that Superman was punched/beaten to death such a bad thing?

I agree with what Movie Bob stated in part one: there were so many great, meaningful stories they could have told culminating with the "death" of Superman. I read this back in the day and went, "huh? that sucked."

It's like comparing the meaning of existence sort of stories in "The Watchmen" with stories about whether Thor is or is not stronger than Hulk.

Urh:
I couldn't help but chuckle at the picture of Nicholas Cage as Superman.

They really did try to have Tim Burton use Cage for a new Superman movie after Burton's Batman success.

image

They made a documentary about it. It was going to be weird but maybe, in its own way, not as bad as Superman Returns or Man of Steel.

We should do a poll about who wants "Death of Superman" or not. Me? Not. The comic book was such a big let down.

Has anyone mentioned the Max Landis short film on the Death & Return of Superman? He covers most of the same points Bob does... It's a pretty good watch.

Especially with Elijah Wood as Cyborg Superman.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PlwDbSYicM

Mandy Moore makes a decent Lois too.

Scarim Coral:
Wait, I thought the idea of trying new things for Superman was the result of that Red and Blue Supermen idea?

SHSHHSHSHSHSSHHH!

We do not talk about that. That did not happen. The only time a red and blue Superman existed was an elseworld from 1963 where they made everything perfect.

When it came to death of Superman, I had to say I actually thought the fight against Doomsday was a good concept in terms of how it was drawn. I liked the idea of each page getting bigger and having fewer panels as each blow was thrown, resulting in a final, epic final strike that puts them both down. Unfortunately I didn't like the execution. Lois getting within 2.5 meters of two beings that are creating shockwaves strong enough to shatter glass with each punch? A creature that kills for fun and is causing Superman to bleed? And the constant exposition! Shut up and just draw it as a fight!

Doomsday's origins is just as dumb. I hope there is a part 3 to walk everyone through just how silly it all is.

I remember Superman getting 'offed' twice in the Justice League series, some puppet master or toy maker villain zapped him to an alt dimension while in another ep Doomsday did actually show up and they had a fight in a volcano or something, still not as confusing as this shizz.

TripleDaddy:
And Bob wins the internet today for the Kids in the Hall reference.

I'm surprised that moviebob didn't mention Superman: Doomsday from 2007 which was a basically watered down animated version of both Death and Reign together or the Radio drama Superman: Doomsday & Beyond! (Superman Lives! in the US) that BBC5 did.

I just also remembered they did an animated version of the death of Superman, titled "Superman Doomsday." Bruce Timm proved once again he could tell better stories with DC's characters than the majority of DC comic's writing staff, and made it actually work. While the fight was pretty much the same (which looked much better in his "Timmverse" style than the "faux-Liefeld" designs they used).

Anyway, instead of bringing four Supermen into the mix, their is only one replacement. It is a clone of Superman by Lex Luther (who partly clones Supes to have a Superman under his control, and partly to play out his "I beat up Superman" desires), who has all of Superman's idea of Truth and Justice, but lacking the sense of the "American way." This means it breaks the one Rule Superman holds dear.

It was a far more interesting exploration of the premise and the character than the comics.

While you are totally right out the stupidity of it all, I do remember really liking the Eradicator Superman, which is amusing since I really don't care for Superman all that much. That's probably why I liked him, honestly. He just wasn't even a little bit Superman. Then again, I'm a Green Lantern fan, specifically Kyle Rayner, so take me for what I am, I suppose.

One of the rare moments of levity experienced last year when we were packing up the local bookstore (and my long-term place of employment) after we lost our lease was finding probably about a hundred copies each of the early "Reign of the Supermen" titles. Still in their original box from Diamond Comic Distributors, twenty years later.

Good lord those were awful. Quite literally couldn't give them away. On the up side, paper is recyclable.

Well, at least the evil Superboy and Cyborg Superman (who I really feel should've changed his name at this point) Were really cool in 'Blackest Night'

Osaka117:

Also I have to ask, Bob, is there ANYTHING you like or even deem passable that existed in the 90s, which seems to be just a decade long entertainment sinkhole in your eyes?

I'm not Bob, but there were a few good comic storylines in the decade. The ones that come immediately to mind are the X-Team crossover stories(there were a lot of those) Fatal Attractions and X-Cutioner's Song, both of which were pretty good reads and had long lasting consequences for at least some of the characters involved. Of course, the latter had Rob Liefeld drawing the art for one of the titles, so that takes away from some of it, but overall, the stories themselves are good.

Didn't I hear at one point that Doomsday was going to be in Batman Versus Superman? I'm certain I did... So... Bob will almost certainly hate it if they try to shoehorn this story in. Though, I am not above expecting it to be a just plain bad movie.

Also, this all sounds really confusing. There's a reason I never really got into comics, I suppose.

Osaka117:
I gotta be honest, none of what you described in this video or part 1 sounded that particularly bad to me, in fact it sounded pretty boss. Of course I don't actually read comics so I guess that makes my opinions less than worthless, but I just felt I needed to say that after watching both videos. Well okay, that reborn superman did look like a dumb punisher wanna be, and that mullet was way too much, but other than that you only made me more interested in the death of superman.

Also I have to ask, Bob, is there ANYTHING you like or even deem passable that existed in the 90s, which seems to be just a decade long entertainment sinkhole in your eyes?

I'm pretty sure he's listed Watchmen, The Dark Knight Returns, and Starman from the 90's as great comics. And they are wonderful comics from that era.

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