Thursday, October 22, 2009

How many times has Superman died?

UPDATED May 31, 2016--

Many recall the famous time in 1992 when Superman died fighting Doomsday and returning to life about a year later.
However, he died at least four other times BEFORE that most famous incident in the comics.

(That doesn't count all the so-called "imaginary tales" or the what if? "Elseworld" stories out there ….)

Here's a synopsis of the 7 times the Man of Steel has perished in the comic books (and obviously returned to life, or will):

Some SPOILERS ahead .....

1. 1992: Superman is killed fighting Doomsday in a widely publicized comic book landmark event. He returns to life a year later, without his powers. They return shortly after a Kryptonite weapon is fired at Superman, but hits an artificial Kryptonian being (the "eradicator") first. returning his abilities.

2. April 1977: Count Crystal, an unknown master of magic, kills Superman. The Justice League, led by the Phantom Stranger, travels to a realm of dead souls to bring Superman's spirit back before a devil creature permanently captures his soul.

3. Nov. 1971: - World's Finest Comics. Clark Kent is hypnotized into thinking he needs to help kill his alter ego, Superman. He obtains a powerful magical wand and is killed when Doctor Light, a supervillain, uses the weapon. Batman gets the wand back and reverses the spell to bring the Kryptonian back to life.

4. July 1966: - Superman comics. Zunial, the ``Murder Man,'' also an alien, kills Superman with a Kryptonite ray. However, a Superman android some villains had built and designed for combat training to act like Superman himself gave up his artificial life to bring the Man of Steel back.

5. 2008: In the "ALL Star Superman" 12-issue story, Superman dies. Lex Luthor infected him with too much power and he goes into the heart of the sun to die at the end of the story.

6. April 2016 -- the JLA comic, No. 8, Superman is shown as dead in the book's last panel. In his battle with Rao, another Kryptonian who had extra power from many human life energies, Superman suffered a collapsed lung and liver damage, but he kept fighting. 

7. April 2016-May 2016: In Superman comic No. 51 (and other comics with Superman in this same time period), he is declared as dying as a result of the fire pits of Apokolips, kryptonite that powered him up temporarily when he was powerless; and also as a result of his battle with Rao. This "New 52" : Superman from 4 1/2 years ago, died in Superman issue No. 52 and is replaced by the "Lois and Clark" Superman, a Man of Steel who is actually the real deal -- the pre-Flashpoint Superman (and who is older and who is married to Lois Lane, with a grade school age son). This is actually a case when a "Superman" will NOT be coming back to life.

Two significant times when Superman almost died:
1. Action Comics, April-August 1968: In a five-part saga, Clark Kent is hypnotized to want to kill Superman, and he inflicts himself with Virus X, a fatal disease from Krypton. He nearly dies, but during his supposed cremation in the hottest star in the galaxy, the virus is burned off and he's restored to full power.
2. Action Comics, April 1970: In a story titled ``Even a Superman Dies,'' a time-traveling Superman becomes more than one million years old and is nearly killed by a weapon Lex Luthor let loose to search for the Man of Steel centuries ago. Superman is healed by a robot and is flung into the time stream by a comet - going so far into the future that he returns full circle to the present and is restored to his youth.

The latest "fooled ya" death of Superman:
-December 2013: A "Superman" dies in "DC Universe vs. Masters of the Universe" issue No. 2, through the magic sword of He Man. However, this was a magical copy of Superman and not the real deal.

A Superman clone death:
In "Justice League 3001," No. 6, (December 2015), a clone of Superman in the year 3001 has his head blasted off in one of the most grisly of deaths in comics.
While that was sad in one sense, this reborn Man of Steel was nothing of the sort in a future sort of "Justice League." He bragged endlessly, even though he could not fly and never seemed to do anything "Super." Obviously, he didn't even have the original Superman's full invulnerability.
AND, a Supergirl -- apparently a real one from the past, was there to take his place in the Justice League.

NOTE that DC Comics in their "Earth 2" stories did have Darkseid's minions imprison Superman and he eventually died on that alternate Earth trying to save the planet in a 2015 story.

(Don't read below if you haven't seen "Batman v. Superman"!!)

Of course, in the "Batman v. Superman" movie, the Man of Steel does perish and is buried .... another of his "deaths."

(-Photo is courtesy of a DC Comics poster from the late 1980s)

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