It’s been about twenty-five years since DC Comics’ first conscious effort to revamp, reboot and relaunch their universe, The Crisis on Infinite Earths. For better or worse, it was an exceptional moment of change as DC took what was then fifty years of a publishing history and wiped the slate clean, inviting readers to step into a new - and optimistically - streamlined universe where such disparate characters as Captain Marvel and Captain Atom stood beside Dr.Fate and the Blue Beetle, where the panoply of multiple earths had never existed, and where Superman and Batman had yet to meet and Wonder Woman had yet to set foot in Man’s World.
Considering the depth and breadth of his continuity – both personal and among his extended family – no one required a cleaner slate more than the Man of Steel. Every hero had their supporting cast and in-canon errata, but none so much as Superman, who boasted a bottle city, a quartet of super-pets, a parade of robot duplicates, identical uncles, cousins, emergency squadroneers, a planet of imperfect duplicates, a nightmare dimension of villains, one of the vastest rogues galleries in comics history, an entirely distinct teenage continuity and roughly half a dozen super-teams which counted him among their members – if not founder and inspiration. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Naturally, DC wanted to honor their flagship hero of half-a-century and to say farewell to his many incarnations and spin-offs. Here’s how they did it:
The original Superman of 1938 – with his beloved wife Lois Lane – walks into a luminous, heavenly paradise, arm-in-arm with the rescued Superboy of a vanished universe and the legacy of Luthor, reconciled at last.
Meanwhile, the Superboy of the Legion of Super-Heroes sacrifices his life to ensure that the future which his legacy inspired survives.
In no less a tangible sacrifice, Supergirl buys the heroes of five worlds all-too-precious time, at a great personal cost. She is mourned universally.
Lastly, the Silver Age Superman mythos is put to bed amidst the tears and tragedy with a smile, a wink and a happy ending.
Now let’s look at how modern-day DC is putting the Superman legacy to bed in anticipation of their September relaunch:
Superboy is a mass-murdering madman dressed like a sky-blue Ford Fairlane with gold piping.
The Superman of 1938 is an emotion-manipulating zombie who rips out the hearts of the living (as does his wife, by the way).
And would somebody just rape Supergirl already??
COMICS. They never needed a Dan Didio.