Summer of Superman: The Top Ten Stories
By: Nick Costanzo, Phil Filippopolous, Jordan T. Maxwell, Greg Reeves
Editor: Jordan T. Maxwell
For our final installment, we take a look at what has truly made
Superman such a lasting icon, the place where it all begins and ends
for the Man of Steel...the stories. A wealth of comic book mythology
has sprung up around Superman over the last 70 years, from battling
gangsters and mad scientists to juggling planets and saving the
universe to dealing with love and his own mortality. He has been in the
Old West, the far future, ancient Japan, Soviet Russia, the end of the
world and the beginning of time. He's been a leader, a rebel, a
monster, a savior, a Green Lantern and a Batman. Some people say he's
boring and unrelatable. I say those people just haven't found the right
Superman story. So here to help them out and celebrate seven decades of
Superman lore, we are honored to present our list of the Top Ten
INFINITE CRISIS HC
#10 Infinite Crisis
As told in: Infinite Crisis #1-7
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Jerry Ordway and Ivan Reis
Infinite Crisis is a world-changing story. That's its purpose.
However, it functions on an entirely different level as a Superman
story. At the center of this series are four Supermen: our Earth-1
Superman, the original Earth-2 Superman, Superboy and Superboy Prime.
Superman struggles with trusting his greatest allies, who have gone
beyond heroics to do what they thought was necessary. Superman-2 looks
down on a corrupted world and tries to do whatever he must to save his
dying wife. Superboy looks at a world in peril and struggles to live up
to his name. And Superboy Prime tries to get his world back, and finds
himself in too deep to come back from his dark path. It is, in a way, every
Superman story; we see him old and young, choosing to let his power
corrupt him or be the thing that guides him. We see his ultimate
dedication to Lois (the scene of a decimated Metropolis-2 after the two
Supermen fight is haunting), the ease with which he can kill and the
consequences (the world vs. Superboy Prime!), and the curse of
responsibility that will never allow him to be normal (poor Connor...).
In the end, two fall: the Superboy that wanted to be a little less
super, and the first hero, the one who started everything, Superman-2.
Death is common and seldom permanent in the DC Universe, but as of this
writing both of these deaths still hold. More than that, though,
Superman-2's death is a symbol. The vanguard of the Golden Age, his
passing cements the new world order: the world of bright smiles and
truth and justice that Superman-2 longed for are gone. What we have now
is grittier, dirtier, a world where heroes kill and die. It's not his
world anymore, and we can only hope our Superman takes his lessons to
SUPERMAN: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE MAN OF TOMORROW?
#3 Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?
As told in: Action Comics #583, Superman #423
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist: George Perez, Kurt Schaffenberger, Curt Swan
It was the end of one era and the beginning of another, a sliver of time between the end of [i]Crisis on Infinite Earths
and the John Byrne reboot. There was only one thing left to do...say
good bye to the Silver Age Superman. The story of what happened next
has passed into comic book industry legend, as editor Julie Schwartz
bemoaned the project and its difficulties over breakfast to up and
coming British writer Alan Moore. Moore then famously crossed the
table, wrapped his hands around Schwartz's neck and declared "If you
let anybody but me write that story, I'll kill you." Naturally, he got
the job. And what an exquisite job it is! It was the end of an era and
the title proved ironic since for this version of the Man of Steel,
there would BE no tomorrow. All of Superman's greatest villains of that
age made an appearance (and the reveal of who is REALLY behind it all
will blow your mind), as well as his staunchest friends and allies.
Superman's identity is revealed. The Daily Planet is destroyed.
Casualties fall on both sides as the last stand of the Last Son of
Krypton builds to its dynamic climax. Of course, the winking final
panel is as good as any "happily ever after." Moore teamed up with the
Silver Age's greatest Superman artist, Curt Swan (who had assists from
George Perez and Kurt Schaffenberger)...the artist who had helped
define the character in the past teamed with the writer who would come
to redefine the medium for the future. It was the perfectly majestic
and elegant send off for the Man of Steel. Of course, as Moore points
out in his introduction, it's only an imaginary story. But he also
sagely adds, "aren't they all?"