For some reason, killing off Franchise/{{Superman}} is a popular idea. It may be because, being the [[TheCape Ultimate Hero]], it is [[DyingMomentOfAwesome awesome]] to see him make the [[HeroicSacrifice ultimate sacrifice]]. Maybe it's because he's normally [[InvincibleHero invulnerable to nearly everything]] and so his death comes as a shock. Maybe it's a [[MessianicArchetype Christ]] [[FauxSymbolism allegory]]. Or maybe it's because [[{{Hatedom}} some people]] can't stand the character and want to see him offed [[StatusQuoIsGod even if only for a short while]]. Whatever the case, this has been done several times in various media over the decades.

The first occasions were as "imaginary stories" (that is, set outside of the official {{continuity}}) published during UsefulNotes/{{the Silver Age of comic|books}}s. Notably, the first "[[http://www.cbr.com/silver-age-september-the-first-death-of-superman/ The Death of Superman]]" story (''Superman #149'') was written by Jerry Siegel in 1961. Originally an imaginary story, ''Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths'' revealed that this story is in fact an alternate real universe: Earth-149.

Another notable one was ''ComicBook/WhateverHappenedToTheManOfTomorrow'', which was about a theoretical end to the pre-Crisis Superman, [[spoiler:though he wasn't dead, just BroughtDownToNormal by choice]].

The final episode of ''WesternAnimation/SuperFriends'' (aired in November 1985), was also titled "The Death of Superman", and opened with the funeral ceremony, featuring [[BurialInSpace the coffin being sent into the sun]]. [[DisneyDeath He gets betteró]][[OnlyMostlyDead he was only mostly dead.]] An earlier story from ''Challenge of the Superfriends'' also featured Superman (and the rest of the League) being killed.

However, the most famous instance was the "Death of Superman" StoryArc in the Superman comics during the 1990s, and the animated movie (based on that story) titled ''WesternAnimation/SupermanDoomsday'' (which started off the WesternAnimation/DCUniverseAnimatedOriginalMovies line) that came out in 2007. Additionally, the line will revisit the story with a more faithful adaptation, split into [[MovieMultipack two parts]], in 2018 and 2019.

''The Death of Superman'' is split into three parts:
* ''Doomsday!'' (November, 1992-January, 1993)
* ''Funeral for a Friend'' (January-June, 1993)
* ''Reign of the Supermen!'' (June-October, 1993)

In this story, a monster named [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Doomsday]] comes out of nowhere and thrashes both Superman AND the ComicBook/JusticeLeagueInternational. When it attacks Metropolis, Superman must [[WorldOfCardboardSpeech unleash all of his hidden power]] to stop it, killing Doomsday but also getting mortally wounded in the process. He dies in ComicBook/LoisLane's arms, and his ragged cape ended up hung on a pole as a sort of tragic flag in what's possibly the most effective visual ever seen in comic book history.

Naturally, Creator/DCComics was [[LikeYouWouldReallyDoIt NOT]] planning on really killing off one of their main [[CashCowFranchise most famous characters]] permanently: it was a [[NoSuchThingAsBadPublicity publicity stunt]] to boost sales, and the plan was to soon bring him back. However, the general media picked up the story and ran with it, and a lot of people believed it. This is because, at the time, this thing ''hadn't'' been done to death; this story may have been the TropeCodifier for DeathIsCheap (whose former {{Trope Namer|s}} is "Comic Book Death").

A rapid series of FollowTheLeader events followed this; Superman hadn't even gotten back to life when ComicBook/{{Batman}} got his back broken in ''ComicBook/{{Knightfall}}''[[note]]Though DC constantly insisted that ''Knightfall'' was being planned ''long'' before [=TDoS=][[/note]], ComicBook/WonderWoman got replaced by Artemis, an AntiHeroSubstitute [[note]]in a story closely mirroring a Bronze Age story where she loses to a completely different red-headed Amazon[[/note]], and perhaps most infamously, Hal Jordan went insane and killed the Green Lantern Corps in ''ComicBook/EmeraldTwilight'' and ''ComicBook/ZeroHour'', and was replaced by the YoungerAndHipper Kyle Rayner[[note]]and was put out of his misery in ''ComicBook/FinalNight''[[/note]], and over at Marvel, the Franchise/SpiderMan moniker went back and forth between Peter Parker and Ben Reilly, his clone, during ''ComicBook/TheCloneSaga''.

''The Death of Superman'' arc happened by accident: originally, the then-current Superman writers were going to get Superman and Lois Lane married; however, ''[[Series/LoisAndClark Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman]]'' was already green-lit at ABC, and the producers of the show wanted the wedding to happen first on the show. Forced to come up with a new storyline to replace "The Wedding" arc, Jerry Ordway, the then-current writer for ''The Adventures of Superman'', jokingly said at the next meeting, "Let's just kill 'im!" Normally, the other writers would laugh it off, but this time, they would do the deed.

!!!Reign of the Supermen

DC then decided to milk the story a bit more, and extended it to last nearly a year, with the rather inventive idea of having not one but FOUR people showing up and claiming to ''be'' a resurrected Superman. Each of these characters was allowed to star in one of Superman's then-current titles for a few months. These were:
* '''The Man of Tomorrow (Cyborg Superman):''' A [[HollywoodCyborg cyborg]] version of Superman, whose DNA was a match for the original's and whose mechanical parts were Kryptonian tech. He claimed amnesia about who repaired him, yet he could recall crucial details about Superman's past. Featured in ''Superman'' Vol. 2.
* '''The Last Son of Krypton [[spoiler:(The [[DarkAgeOfSupernames Kryptonian Eradicator]])]]:''' A vigilante with a personality similar to the one Superman had demonstrated in an earlier arc, where he (under the influence of a Kryptonian artifact called The Eradicator) became [[KnightTemplar ruthlessly logical]]. Featured in ''Action Comics''.
* '''The Metropolis Kid (ComicBook/{{Superboy}}):''' A reckless, fame-seeking teenage (assumed) {{clon|ingBlues}}e created by a secret government project. He cheerfully admits to being a clone, and plans to become [[LegacyCharacter Superman's successor]]. [[BerserkButton Don't ever call him]] ComicBook/{{Superboy}}. Featured in ''Adventures of Superman''.
* '''The Man of Steel (ComicBook/{{Steel}}):''' A [[AffirmativeActionLegacy black]] hero wearing a suit of PoweredArmor. He was the only one to both admit he was NOT Superman from the start ''and'' not actively claim the name for himself. [[MeaningfulName John Henry Irons]] merely wanted to keep the spirit of Superman alive (although there were hints that he may have been literally serving as an anchor for Superman's soul). Featured in ''Superman: The Man of Steel'', naturally.

It was eventually revealed that the real Superman was [[spoiler: none of them, he wasn't even dead but rather in SuspendedAnimation]]. The [[spoiler: Cyborg Superman]] was actually [[spoiler:Hank Henshaw]], an AntiVillain from a previous story, now [[NotSoHarmlessVillain a bona fide threat]] (with [[spoiler: Mongul]] as his [[TheDragon Dragon]]) whom the others had to team up to stop. Superman was soon BackFromTheDead afterwards, and (infamously) came back with a ''mullet'', which lasted [[DorkAge four maddening years]]. The Superman [[LegacyHero legacy carriers]] stuck around for other stories, with two of them (ComicBook/{{Superboy}} and ComicBook/{{Steel}}) even getting their own series. Steel would also appear in ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'' and ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'', and Superboy is a main character in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''. The ''Reign'' also debuted Kismet, who was the living embodiment of the DC Universe, similar to Eternity from Marvel Comics.

The storyline had the most lasting impact on Franchise/GreenLantern. [[spoiler:Henshaw]] turned out to be a villain collaborating with [[spoiler: Mongul]] to prepare Earth to be converted into a Warworld (basically like a Death Star). He started by annihilating [[Franchise/GreenLantern Hal Jordan's]] home town of Coast City, while Jordan was in space. When Jordan returned, his grief drove him into his controversial turn as [[FaceHeelTurn Parallax]].

Later stories brought back Doomsday as well, who was revealed to have been [[spoiler: created as an experiment on Krypton]] and buried on Earth long ago. However he hasn't been quite as menacing since then, probably because he no longer has a story-backed reason to be.

The entire arc including ''The Death'', ''Funeral'', and ''Reign'' are often referred to officially as ''The Death and Return of Superman'', taking into consideration his return after several months.

The animated movie is more or less the same as the comics arc (especially the death sequence) but with the exclusion of the Justice League and the Superman wannabes (except for an (adult) clone), probably to make the story simpler (or for licensing reasons.)

Prior to the ''Superman: Doomsday'' movie, the ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'' animated series episode "Hereafter" did an homage to this story as well, in which Superman is (apparently) disintegrated by one of Toyman's weapons. The Man of Steel is mourned and buried (symbolically, they had no body to inter) by the other heroes, the people of Metropolis, and [[AntagonistInMourning even Lex Luthor]]. Then the episode takes a turn for the bizarre when [[NinetiesAntiHero Lobo]] shows up, demanding to fill Superman's place in the Justice League. Then the action skips forward 30000 years to reveal that Supes wasn't killed, but blasted forward in time. [[BadFuture Future Earth is a red-sunned wreck]], and a depowered Superman must team up with Vandal Savage--now the sole survivor of humanity--to rebuild a time machine to send Supes back.

Doomsday also showed up in this series, in the episodes "A Better World" and "The Doomsday Sanction", but was revealed to be an [[spoiler: altered clone of Superman]] and doesn't get to kill Superman.

''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'' features Doomsday [[spoiler:as an ancient Kryptonian beast recreated by the ship that crashed in Metropolis out of both General Zod's corpse and Lex Luthor's blood. Like in the comics, Superman sacrifices himself killing Doomsday.]]

With the Comicbook/{{New 52}}, ''The Death and Return'' was been taken out of the DC continuity, along with many other stories. Doomsday, however, still exists in the new universe, and makes a full New 52 debut in the ''[[ComicBook/SupermanDoomed Doomed]]'' storyline, which itself is loosely based on ''The Death of Superman''. However, thanks to the events of ''ComicBook/SupermanReborn'', the storyline is restored to continuity, though the biggest major change is the removal of Superboy.
!!This ComicBook provides examples of:

* NinetiesAntiHero: Both Cyborg Superman and the Eradicator are pastiches of this 90's trend. [[spoiler:Only the Eradicator plays this straight. Cyborg Superman (aka Hank Henshaw) is a villain.]]
* AdaptedOut: The adaptations of the story (such as the video game, the novelization, and the audio drama) don't include Green Lantern at all, even though they still feature Coast City being destroyed.
** Mongul wasn't in the video game either, even though his minions (Warworlder, Destroyer, etc.) were. Supergirl is also removed from the video game.
* AdultFear: Ma and Pa Kent experienced this as they watched helplessly as their son was beaten to a bloody pulp and then died on national television. To make matters worse, they weren't even allowed to attend his funeral. The stress and grief gave Pa Kent a heart attack. He got better.
* AntagonistInMourning: Zig-zagged. Toyman is shown to genuinely be mourning Superman's death, while Lex is only upset at being robbed of the chance to kill Superman himself. Parasite meanwhile has zero problem hearing the news and even makes a couple snide comments.
* AffirmativeActionLegacy: Sort of with the African American Steel. He didn't outright want to replace Superman, but just wanted to keep his spirit alive.
* AGodAmI: The Last Son of Krypton nearly ran with this when a cult confronted him and praised him as the resurrected hero.
* AppropriatedAppellation: The name "Doomsday" was given to it by ComicBook/BoosterGold.
* ArcWords: "Doomsday is coming".
* {{BFG}}: Part of Steel's origin and initial battles involved a man-portable Plasma cannon he originally designed being sold to gangsters.
* BackFromTheDead: Superman, he can't stay dead forever.
* BaitTheDog: Doomsday's EstablishingCharacterMoment has him [[EnemyToAllLivingThings crush a bird that he goaded to land in his hand. ]]
* BatmanGrabsAGun: The real Superman comes back armed with GunsAkimbo. Justified, in that he's depowered and needs help. He still maintains a ThouShaltNotKill and uses the guns only on robotic enemies.
* BellyFlopCrushing: During the "Reign Of The Supermen" arc, John Henry Irons (Steel) was attacked this way by a henchman of the White Rabbit who had the ability to expand his mass to great proportions. Fortunately, Steel wasn't harmed, and managed to get himself out by giving the henchman painful burns on his stomach with his foot rockets.
* BerserkButton: It's generally not a good idea to call Superboy anything other than Superman, prior to the real Superman's return. Destroying his jacket is also not recommended.
* BigBad: Doomsday for ''The Death of Superman'', Director Westfield and Project Cadmus for ''Funeral for a Friend'', and [[spoiler:Cyborg Superman]] for ''Reign of the Supermen''.
* BigDamnKiss: Between Superman and Lois at the end of the story:
-->"There is no doubt in her mind. She's in his arms, faster than a speeding bullet."
* BigNo: Booster Gold roars this when Ice fears that Blue Beetle is dead. His accompanying RoaringRampageOfRevenge doesn't last very long, either.
* BloodlessCarnage: {{Averted}}. The ''Death'' portion is pretty brutal, from the first squished bird to the final blow.
* BombWhistle: Both Doomsday and Superman make the "cartoon sound" before they drop in on a rural sheriff's office.
* BoomHeadshot: This is how [[spoiler: the Cyborg Superman attempts to kill the Eradicator, shortly after blowing three holes in his chest. He later smashes his metallic stump into Superboy's head, but only knocks him out.]]
* BreakoutCharacter: ComicBook/{{Superboy}} went on to become a prominent DC character. ComicBook/{{Steel}} didn't become as prominent, but did get ADayInTheLimelight for the year-long ''ComicBook/FiftyTwo'' series.
* BroughtDownToNormal: Booster Gold and Superman himself. Booster Gold's costume is damaged beyond repair thanks to Doomsday's romp and he spends a good decade+ wearing different costumes/armors. Superman loses his powers due to a combination of being away from sunlight and the Eradicator using Superman as a battery while he healed.
* BruceWayneHeldHostage: {{Inverted|Trope}}. Metropolis goes searching for Clark Kent, not knowing that, because Superman died, Clark died. Clark's {{Secret Keeper}}s (his adoptive parents, Lana Lang, and Lois) resolve to not tell the world his secret, and Metropolis just assumes that Clark was one of the several hundred people killed in Doomsday's rampage. Superman later resolves this issue by having him rescue [[ComicBook/{{Supergirl}} Matrix]]-shapeshifted-as-Clark (complete with that awful mullet), so that Metropolis assumes that Clark was [[VoodooShark just buried underneath the rubble for months.]] [[JustifiedTrope It helped that he wasn't the only Metropolis citizen who was trapped under the rubble, lending credibility to his alibi.]]
* TheCavalryArrivesLate: A PlayedForDrama version, where Ice and Bloodwynd return to Metropolis to aid Superman, only to discover that the battle with Doomsday is now over and Superman is dying of his wounds.
* CameBackStrong: [[spoiler:Superman in the finale. His repowering by the Eradicator's Heroic Sacrifice bounced his powers to new heights, though, for a while, it almost leads to PowerIncontinence.]]
* CameBackWrong: In the least, Superman comes back looking different. Namely having a mullet.
* ChekhovsGun: Cyborg Superman places a sensor on Doomsday's body to alert him if the beast ever came back to life. [[spoiler:He also placed a portion of his digital existence in it, so when his body is destroyed at the end of ''Reign of the Supermen'', the Cyborg gets to hitch a ride on Doomsday and build himself a new body, which he does in the [=Superman/Doomsday=] mini-series ''[[ComicBook/SupermanDoomsdayHunterPrey [=Hunter/Prey=]]]''.]]
* CoolShades: The Eradicator cannot stand even low levels of light, so he dons a pair of yellow shades that take up somewhere between a third and half of his face.
* CoversAlwaysLie: Most of the covers of the last few issues of the ''Reign'' chapters featured Superman still with his usual short hair as opposed to the infamous mullet he was now sporting inside. ''ComicBook/GreenLantern'' tie-in is also pretty guilty, as in addition Hal fighting Mongul (which does happen in the issue), there's also the [[spoiler: Cyborg-Superman]] and the Eradicator fighting each other in the background (which doesn't happen at all in the issue).
* {{Cult}}: A cult of Superman worshipers make their prominence after Superman's death, proclaiming that he will rise and save them all. The cult splits in four once the Superman replacements show up, each claiming that their chosen substitute was the real Superman reborn. Though we never learn what became of them, especially when it was revealed to the public that none of them are the real Superman, and one of them was a villain.
* CurbStompBattle:
** The Cyborg deals these to both the Last Son of Krypton and Superboy.
** Doomsday's fight with the Justice League was this as well. And this isn't counting Doomsday's encounter with Blue Beetle.
** Supergirl's fight with Doomsday is even shorter than Blue Beetle's.
* UsefulNotes/TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks: The quote in that page even highlights this series. Not only it's a dark comic featuring a classic hero dying, but one of his replacements is a NinetiesAntiHero (The Man of Tomorrow).
* DarkerAndEdgier: [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed.]] Arguably the whole point of the event (at least the "Reign of the Supermen" arc) was proving that "darker and edgier Superman" ''is not Superman''. The four replacements are all variations on Darker and Edgier versions of Superman, with Cyborg and Eradicator both being lethal enforcers and 90s Anti-Heroes ([[spoiler: at least, until Cyborg is actually revealed to be the villain]]), and for bonus points Cyborg actually looks like Superman meets [[Film/TheTerminator the Terminator.]] Superboy is Superman without any morals to speak of, interested solely in fame, fortune, and getting the attention of hot chicks (at one point, Lex ''literally'' seduces Superboy away from the news station he'd agreed to work with just by tossing Supergirl in front of him). Steel is the most moral and upstanding of the replacement Supermen, but even he's got a DarkAndTroubledPast, and most of his arc is about undoing the damage that past continues to do. Even when Superman finally returns, he's got all the trappings of Darker and Edgier (black costume, no cape, guns, a mullet) but he's still TheCape we all know and love.
* DeathByAdaptation: The novel has [[spoiler:Mongul killed by the Eradicator instead of knocked out by Hal Jordan]].
* DeusExitMachina: A reformed Justice League, comprised of previous members Guy Gardner and Maxima, along with Wonder Woman, the Ray, Green Lantern Alan Scott and Jade, are lured out into space [[spoiler: by a video made by the Cyborg Superman, purporting that the Eradicator had turned evil, obliterated Coast City, then bailed with the aliens who helped him.]] They come back after Superman returns and settles things.
* DiedInYourArmsTonight: Superman in Lois' arms.
* DisproportionateRetribution: Lex Luthor, in his clone body of Lex Luthor II, murdered a female training instructor because she beat him in one of their matches. Then, he gloats at Superman's grave as proof that, with Superman gone, he can do whatever he wanted to. Too bad, a little while later, she came back and tried to kill him.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Superboy suffers from this three times. The first time, he bails on the Daily Planet to help a former intern, Tana Moon, land her a big scoop and become a full-fledged reporter... over at GBS. The second time, he's wowed by the Matrix Supergirl ("I was chest choking!") amd Lex Luthor II attempts to use this to bring him into Lexcorp's payroll. Ultimately, sleezoid Rex Leech uses his daughter Roxy to win Superboy over ''and'' get the rights to the S-Shield.
* DrivenToMadness: [[spoiler:Hank Henshaw, due to his TraumaCongaLine of losing his friends, body, and wife, so he becomes the Cyborg Superman.]]
* EarlyBirdCameo: Mitch Anderson would later become Outburst.
* EatTheBomb: Superman force-feeds Clawster a bomb and it explodes in his mouth, causing him to collapse and say "Good thing Clawster invulnerable."
* ExactWords: While searching the ruins of Coast City, the Man of Tomorrow comes upon a group of survivors. During a conversation, he points and says that the one who destroyed the city is right behind them. They turn to see, and ask where the villain is. [[spoiler: The Man of Tomorrow says "I told you, he's right behind you." and proceeds to vaporize them all from behind.]]
* EvilAlbino: The White Rabbit, who was Steel's nemesis from "Reign Of The Supermen".
* EvilLaugh: Doomsday. Especially in the video game, every time he hits you.
* FauxDeath: Many of the adaptations to this story transform Superman's death into this. The novel would claim that all Superman needed was time in the sun to fully recharge, but points out that if he had ran out of solar power, he really would have died.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: A special issue styled as a ''Time''-like Magazine focusing on Superman's death opens with an ad for Carol Ferris' aeronautics company with the tagline: "Things are '''Booming''' in Coast City!"
** The final story of the one-shot issue ''The Legacy of Superman'' which came out in between the "Death" and "Funeral" chapters, seems to drop hints of Superman's eventual revival; said story features Waverider one of the time travellers known as the Linear Men, who intends to alter time and prevent Kal-El's death, only to be talked out of it by Matt Ryder, another member of the group:
-->'''Waverider:'''(as events take their natural course and Superman dies) Enough. I can watch no longer.
-->'''Matt Ryder:''' Welcome to the curse of being a Linear Man, Waverider. The blessing, though, is that we already know what tomorrow will bring.
* FreudianSlip: In "The Reign Of The Supermen" part of the storyline, Superboy meets Supergirl for the first time right in the middle of rescuing a car from almost driving off the bridge, and [[DistractedByTheSexy he gets distracted by her appearance]].
-->'''Supergirl:''' Was that high school stunt really necessary, Superman, or were you trying to impress me?
-->'''Superboy:''' Aw, I was chest choking...ab, ah, I mean -- I was just joking!
* FriendOrIdolDecision: When Doomsday runs rampant across a family's house, smashing it and the Justice League, a gas explosion allows Doomsday to escape and Superman to chase after it. However, the League's knocked unconscious and one of the people there, a teen named Mitch, cries out for Superman's help. Supes decides to TakeAThirdOption by burying Doomsday in the mud inside a lake while he takes care of the trouble. Doesn't take long for Doomsday to escape and Mitch is hit really hard as he thinks this incident is the reason why Superman died.
* FriendlyTarget: While Superman and Doomsday are grappling, some troopers arrive with advanced weapons, but hesitate to open fire because they would very likely would hit Superman. Ultimately, they decide that Doomsday is so much a threat that they have no choice but help Superman by attacking and risk friendly fire.
** Superman had that problem with Maxima, as well. However, this was because she wouldn't bother to stop, aim and realize what was around her, ripping a street light out of the ground to use as a weapon, causing sparks to ignite a destroyed gas station.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: Dr. Hank Henshaw was actually a gag {{Expy}} of Reed Richards of the ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'', appearing only in a single story arc. Who would have thought he'd become one of Superman's greatest foes.
** [[RoguesGalleryTransplant Though nowadays he's one of]] Franchise/GreenLantern [[RoguesGalleryTransplant Hal Jordan's greatest foes]].
* GenericDoomsdayVillain: The TropeNamer. Doomsday was just raw unstoppable rage on wheels with no agenda outside destruction and couldn't be reasoned with. Also, while [[BrainsEvilBrawnGood previous Superman villains were smart to counter the hero's strength]], Doomsday was also superstrong, [[DumbMuscle with all the lack of personality this implies.]] Most of his depth comes from the back story in later comics.
* HeadbuttingHeroes: The Reign of the Supermen arc contains a few examples:
** A little ways into the Reign of the Supermen arc, Guy Gardner instigates a fight between himself and The Last Son of Krypton. It ends when the Last Son purposely tosses him into a building being used for an illicit arms and drug trade, upon which the two of them briefly team up and part ways relatively amicably. In fact, Guy likes him a lot better than Superman given both had NinetiesAntihero tendencies at the time.
** Later on, after The Last Son of Krypton doesn't take too kindly to the Man of Steel calling him a fraud (for killing a thug who he felt posed no threat to him), the two start brawling in Metropolis. After the two are [[WhatTheHellHero chewed out by Lois Lane]], the Last Son almost murders a process server and their fight resumes, taking them into space and back down on the other side of the country in Coast City.
** The confrontation between the Man of Tomorrow and the Last Son of Krypton initially seems to be an example of this. It turns out that [[spoiler:The Man of Tomorrow]] is not a hero.
* HesBack: Every fan still gets chills when the ''real'' Supes emerges from the mech in a black suit with a silver emblem, stating that he's the original and he's back.
-->'''Superman:''' Donít let the costume fool you. Iím Superman - and Iím ''back''.
** Superman is so badass he actually gets ''two'' "He's Back" moments. First when he physically returns from the dead, but still weak and without his full Superman power set. Then later, during the climactic battle, he gets supercharged and all his normal Superman power returns. Do we really need to say "Cue CurbStompBattle?"
* HeelRealization: The Last Son of Krypton starts to realize at different points that being Superman isn't about going around and flash-frying everyone he sees. [[spoiler:Sadly, the Man of Tomorrow's FaceHeelTurn puts a squash to that.]]
* TheHeroDies: One of the most iconic examples ever.
* HeroicSacrifice: How Supes goes out.
** Also how [[spoiler:The Eradicator goes out.]]
* HeroicSecondWind: When Hal Jordan's fighting [[spoiler:Mongul, Mongul]] has him on the ropes because his skin is yellow and Hal couldn't use pieces of Engine City lest its Kryptonite fuel kill Superman again. Hal finds Steel's discarded hammer and attempts to lift it despite his injuries and donning Ring-powered exoskeleton. As he tries, [[spoiler:Mongul]] makes the mistake of assuming he broke Hal's spirit. This pisses off Hal so much that he creates a set of PoweredArmor that allows him to lift the hammer and proceeds to ''smash the weapon across [[spoiler:Mongul's]] face, knocking him out.''
* HeroicRROD:
** Steel's fight with the Last Son of Krypton pushes him to his limits, wrecking a lot of his armor and leading him to pass out in an airplane heading back to Metropolis.
*** He does it ''again'' when stopping Engine City, to the point where his armor's scrap.
** There's also Superman's fight with Doomsday. The comic explains it as out-and-out exhaustion and blood loss. The novel explains that Superman's fight with Doomsday was draining all of his solar energy stores.
* HijackedByGanon: The series did this with its final storyline ''Reign of the Supermen'', the story starts out normally with the first two issues of each title attempting to endear us to the four Supermen. Then come the halfway point of the third month when [[spoiler:the Cyborg Superman decides to ventilate the Eradicator and allow Coast City to be destroyed by Mongul. Then, it turns out the Cyborg Superman was actually a very minor character who was an {{expy}} of [[ComicBook/FantasticFour Reed Richards]]!]]
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: [[spoiler:How the Cyborg Superman is defeated: in a last-ditch effort to kill Superman again, the Cyborg grabs a fuel line and attempts to douse Superman in Kryptonite. The Eradicator, living up to his programming to protect Kryptonian life, throws himself in front of the shot and his energies re-power Superman, allowing him to finish off the Cyborg Superman.]]
* HowDoIShotWeb: ComicBook/{{Superboy}} does not know how his "metal disassembling power" works (explained later on as tactile [[MindOverMatter telekinesis]]).
* IAmNotLeftHanded: Superman kills Doomsday by not holding back against him.
* ImposterForgotOneDetail: This is what pings Lois into realizing the Cyborg Superman ''isn't'' the real Superman - he casually mentions to Superboy that he wished he had better control of his powers when he was his age. Lois remembers that Superman didn't get his powers until he was an adult.
* InterruptedCooldownHug: When Steel and the Last Son of Krypton are [[WhatTheHellHero chewed out by Lois for fighting in the streets]], the Last Son is shaken by this and stands down. However, a process server shows up, demanding that they stop using the S-Shield (as Superboy had given the rights away). The Last Son takes this as a threat and forces Steel to pull him away.
* IOweYouMyLife: John Henry Irons' life was saved by Superman, who told him to "make it a life worth saving". Becoming the "Man of Steel" was his way of doing just that.
* ItOnlyWorksOnce: During one of the epilogue issues, Dr. Occult drops in for a visit and gives Superman and Lois the low down on how he came back to life through mystic technobabble which boils down to the fact that he can only do this once. The graphic novel doesn't mention this, ''WesternAnimation/SupermanDoomsday'' does the "suspended animation" bit and the novel does a plausible technobabble explanation about how all Superman needed was just a good few hours in the sun to snap him back alive. (But since the world thought he was dead, they kept him in a morgue and then buried him. Oops.)
* KilledMidSentence: Or rather, "Nearly Killed Mid-Sentence" - Blue Beetle goes to rescue Bloodwynd from a fire and when he finds him, the state he's in makes him realize who Bloodwynd really is. Doomsday grabs Beetle before he can say the name of his true identity. [[spoiler: A mind-controlled ComicBook/MartianManhunter under control of a demon named Rott.]]
** Played straight a little later in the story when Doomsday, imitating a commercial he saw for a pro wrestling event at Metropolis, raids a construction site:
--> '''Doomsday:''' MUH-TRP-PLIS!
--> '''Construction worker:''' Metropolis? It said Metropolis! It said--*neck snap*
* KungFuSonicBoom: The narration describes the final blow between Superman and Doomsday as setting off a shockwave that created a crater in the ground and shattered every window for blocks.
* LaserGuidedAmnesia: Cyborg-Superman claimed to have this. [[spoiler:It's a ruse to cover his plan to TakeOverTheWorld.]]
* LastDisrespects: A brawl breaks out at the funeral after a botched attempt at purchasing the rights to the last Superman photo leads to Rex Leech and his entourage on their backs thanks to Jimmy Olsen and ComicBook/{{Robin}}.
* LastStand: After failing to stop Doomsday elsewhere and watching the body count rise, Superman decides to ground his feet in Metropolis.
* LegacyHero: Superman gets four of them.
* LookBehindYou: A sickening version of this trope. The Cyborg Superman discovers a family that survived the Coast City shockwave that ravaged nearby areas. As they're talking, the Cyborg says that the one who did this was right behind them. [[spoiler:As they turn and look, he changes his arm to its arm cannon form and obliterates them.]]
* MagicalDefibrillator: In the first part of "Funeral For A Friend (a.k.a. World Without a Superman)", medics haul out normal defibrillators to try to revive Superman and doesn't do anything. So, Professor Hamilton hauls out a device that requires a massive energy charge for one use and forces the user to wear a personal force field to protect them from the shock. Bibbo is the first to try it. Bibbo gets blown across the street, out cold. Does jack to Superman.
* MeaningfulEcho: Right before he takes off for Engine City to go after [[spoiler:the Cyborg Superman]], the real Superman tells Lois the exact same thing he told her right before fighting Doomsday for the final time. It ends up serving as the biggest indicator to Lois that he's the genuine article.
-->'''Superman:''' Just remember... no matter what happens... I'll always love you. '''Always'''.
* TheMerch:
** InUniverse, Bibbo comes across a man selling the "Death of Superman" issue of the ''Daily Planet'' along with a black armband. Outraged at someone profiting off his dead friend, Bibbo yells at him and buys every copy so he's out of business. When the man explains that he lost his job in the Doomsday disaster, [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Bibbo calms down and offers him a job]].
** And can't forget GBS, Lex Jr., and Rex Leech treating Superboy like a piece of property to be acquired. Leech also gets a trademark on the "S" shield logo.
** Rex Leech and a couple of big goons also tried to intimidate Jimmy Olsen into selling him the licensing rights to the picture of Superman's torn cape.
* MoralityChainBeyondTheGrave: Batman catches a terrorist trying to assassinate one of the visiting dignitaries at Superman's funeral. Out of respect for the deceased, he forgoes his usual [[JackBauerInterrogationTechnique harsh approach]].
* MsFanservice: A slight one, it seemed like a lot of Ice's appearances had her costume's odd tanktop yanked over her chest after being thrown around.
* MutualKill: Supes and Doomsday.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Steel's backstory. He was a weapons designer and quit once he found out his high tech weaponry was being sold to terrorists. Later, the same weapons found their way to his neighborhood and it is one of the things that makes him into a superhero.
* MythologyGag:
** During his rampage, Doomsday came upon Midvale (Silver Age Supergirl's hometown).
** A woman claiming to be Superman's wife (Mrs. Superman), which Lois Lane was in many Silver Age Imaginary Stories.
-->'''Lois:''' That charlatan is mo more Mrs. Superman than I am!
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Superman's death would have long-reaching consequences long after his revival. In ''ComicBook/InfiniteCrisis'', Kal-L points out that Superman's death was the point where the post-Crisis Earth went beyond saving in his mind and in ''ComicBook/BlackestNight'', Nekron used Superman's revival as part of a scheme to conquer the universe.
** A lesser instance sees the League firing all their energy attacks at Doomsday, who at this point still has one arm bound behind his back. At the end of the barrage, all the League manages to do is destroy the restraint and free Doomsday's arm.
* NotHelpingYourCase: Jose Delgado (Gangbuster), while in a relationship with Cat Grant, didn't get along with her son Adam. It didn't help when Jose yelled at him for disrespecting Superman after he died. Adam ran to his room crying and hating Jose more.
-->'''Jose:''' Adam, wait. I didn't mean to snap--\\
'''Adam:''' You're ''not'' my father, just one of mom's boyfriends!\\
'''Jose:''' "One of"?
* OhCrap:
** When the entire Justice League is fighting Doomsday, they pour all of their energy attacks into the beast. When the smoke clears, they learn that all they did was tear his outfit... and freed his other hand as he raises ''both'' of them into the air.
** There is also that moment when, thanks to wrestling TV ad, Doomsday learns that there will be a "war bash" in Metropolis. Superman instantly realizes that for an unstoppable monster that only seeks to destroy everything in his path, getting such idea on his head is BAD NEWS for the city.
-->'''Doomsday''': MUUH-TROP-LISS!
* PaletteSwap: Some of the enemies in the video game. The Underworlder Tick was recolored as the alien Razorback. The Cadmus troops Defender and Elite were recolored as Mongul's Destroyer and Warworlder respectively.
* PragmaticAdaptation: The novel version of the saga, ''The Death and Life of Superman'', made a number of alterations to the "Funeral for a Friend" and "Reign of the Supermen" storylines, due to the fact it was being done while the series was being written. Most of the DC Universe don't make an appearance, outside of the Justice League, Wonder Woman and Batman (which is very odd since they obliterate Coast City, yet Hal Jordan doesn't show up at all!), the entire fourth chapter of "Funeral" is omitted (where the other DC heroes answer the Christmas mail Superman usually gets), Steel's story is greatly compressed and the final chapters, due to the lack of Hal Jordan, is heavily altered. As well, anything to do with the Underworlders and Keith, the young orphan, is omitted and the Newsboy Legion takes their place.
* PreferJailToTheProtagonist: Batman catches a terrorist who was going to use Superman's funeral as an opportunity to assassinate a world leader. Batman caught him and said that in Superman's honor, he'd do things Superman's way. The assassin is left tied to a flagpole begging to be arrested because "Batman might come back!"
* PutOnABus: Superman supporting cast members Gangbuster, Sinbad, and Thorn made their final appearances in the "Legacy of Superman" one-shot that was released in-between "Doomsday!" and "Funeral For A Friend" (although [[TheBusCameBack Thorn would later return elsewhere in the DCU]]). Gangbuster made one more appearance in ''Adventures of Superman'' #500, but he'd return much later in Kurt Busiek's weekly series ''Trinity''.
* TheQuincyPunk: Chainsaw and Molotov in the video game.
* RedSkiesCrossover: The arc affected everyone on The Franchise/DCUniverse's Earth, seeing as how their BigGood had just been killed. It got a nod in the lead-up to the Franchise/{{Batman}} arc ''ComicBook/{{Knightfall}}'', where Bats wears a black armband similar to TheMerch.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: The Cyborg Superman monolouges this, stating how Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter[[note]]to be fair, the latter was having a bit of an identity crisis at the time[[/note]] could have stopped Doomsday with ease as he's taking away the creature. Later stories revealed that wouldn't be the case.
* TheReveal: ''Superman'' #81 and that [[spoiler:The Man of Tomorrow wasn't entirely good.]]
* RoguesGalleryTransplant: The BigBad and TheDragon (or more precisely, [[LegacyCharacter The Dragon's Son]]) of ''Reign of the Superman'' would eventually become ''Franchise/GreenLantern'' villains due to the fact that they destroyed the hometown of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. (It actually took a while, since the destruction of Coast City caused Hal's FaceHeelTurn and replacement by Kyle Rayner).
* SecondComing[=/=]{{Reincarnation}}: Some believed that ComicBook/{{Steel}} was this of sorts for Superman (at least being a vessel for his soul), since he was the only one to uphold Supes' [[TheCape Cape]] ideals.
* SeriesContinuityError:
** ''Superman: The Man of Steel'' #19 does this throughout its entire issue. One panel, Superman has his cape, but tattered, another it's gone, a third it's back but in a different state. And this was done by the same artist!
** ''AdventuresOfSuperman'' #497 does the same thing. Near the end of the issue, Maxima accidentally causes an explosion while ripping an electrical light pole out to use as a weapon against Doomsday causing both her and Superman to be caught in it. When this happens, the panel clearly shows Superman's cape being ripped to shreds from the explosion, but one page later and it's shown to still be in one piece. Again, the same artist was drawing the entire issue.
** From ''Reign''; The real Superman emerges from a kryptonian energy matrix within the Fortress of Solitude (that the Eradicator had been using to "recharge"), sees the chaos the four pretenders are causing, and makes his way to Metropolis in a giant battle robot, and it's implied that the trip takes only a few hours. When he emerges from the robot, Superman has that mullet. However, from the time he emerges from the energy matrix until when he first gets into the robot, he doesn't.
** Also in ''Reign'', for most of the first half of the story, one of Luthor's legs is in a cast, referencing how [[ContinuityNod it was broken during the events of the "Supergirl and Team Luthor" special.]] By the time Superman arrives in Metropolis inside the Kryptonian Battle Suit, Luthor's leg is fine now, which could be attributed to it healing - except that the last time we saw him when it was still broken was only a few hours in-universe, right around the time Superman left the Fortress.
** In ''The Man of Steel'' #25 Steel refers to Coast City by its new transformed name of Engine City. Except that he did it before anyone aside from Superboy knew that it had been transformed into [[spoiler:the Cyborg-Superman and Mongul's]] base. Editorial outright admitted they screwed up in the letters page talking about the issue, to the point that they gave out a Baldy (their equivalent to Marvel's No-Prize) to anyone who wrote about the mistake.
** During the last few chapters of ''Reign'' most of Steel's armor is completely destroyed. Much of it is demolished except for around his legs, his gloves, and his helmet after he damages one of [[spoiler:the Cyborg-Superman's]] fusion reactors in ''Superman: The Man of Steel'' #26, and his helmet and gloves are destroyed by Superboy in ''Superman'' #82 after [[spoiler:the Cyborg]] takes control of his remaining armor. So naturally, in ''Adventures of Superman'' #505 when we next see him mere moments after the last comic, his armor is now in one piece again and only missing the cape.
* SeriesFauxnale: Deliberately invoked, with "Funeral For a Friend" initially appearing to be the finale for the Superman books with all four titles going on hiatus a few months after the final chapter, concluding with an apparent DownerEnding with Jonathan Kent passing away to [[TogetherInDeath join his son]]. The only titles released during this hiatus were two specials, "Supergirl and Team Luthor" and "Legacy of Superman," before things finally resumed in the summer of 1993 with ''Adventures of Superman'' #500.
* StarterVillain: The Underworld Warworlders in the first part of the "Death of Superman" arc, continuing a subplot that had been going on in the previous issues of ''Superman: The Man of Steel''. They have no relation to Doomsday and Superman defeats them before they can invade the surface without much difficulty.
* ThatManIsDead: When Lois first confronts the Last Son after he saves an airplane from crashing, he tells her this in regards to Superman's secret identity of Clark Kent and flies away.
* TrueLovesKiss: How Superman is able to convince Lois that he's the real one.
* TrustPassword / SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: When Lois demands that the real Superman prove who he is, he answers, "Film/ToKillAMockingbird", the name of Clark Kent's favorite book.
* UnreliableNarrator: In his introductory issue, [[spoiler:the Man of Tomorrow goes to retrieve Doomsday's corpse from S.T.A.R. Labs,]] all the while making first-person references to the battle with Doomsday. This narration is solely for the benefit (and deception) of the reader.
** Notably, much of this narration is InnerMonologue, making this cross over into LyingCreator.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: After [[spoiler:Cyborg Superman tosses him into space]], Doomsday wakes up and starts laughing. This plot twist has no impact on the remainder of the story... not until several years later, in ''ComicBook/SupermanDoomsdayHunterPrey''.
* WhatTheHellHero: Steel was actually pretty good with this. He delivers his first one to Superboy after his grandstanding gets a helicopter pilot killed and nearly takes Lois with him. He delivers another to the Last Son of Krypton after he's forced to pull him away from Metropolis for trying to kill a process server.
** Lois delivers one to both Steel and the Last Son of Krypton when they start brawling in Metropolis. Steel is genuinely upset that they ''had'' went through it and the Last Son is shaken (more by Lois than what she said), then comes the process server...
** Ice delivers one to Maxima when the latter was willing to let Blue Beetle die "a warrior's death" in order to go after Doomsday.
* WhamEpisode: The storyline was filled with them. Outside of ''Superman'' #75, there was:
** ''Justice League America'' #69 and ''Superman #74'': Doomsday's CurbStompBattle against the League
** ''Adventures of Superman'' #500: Superman's apparent revival and the appearance of the four Supermen.
** ''Adventures of Superman'' #502 and ''Action Comics'' #689: A battle between Superboy, Supergirl and a BadassNormal terrorist leads to the destruction of the Hobsneck Bridge, something that wouldn't be fixed for a few years IRL. Also, the issue Superman is revived.
** ''Superman'' #80: After a number of different hints, we learn that everything isn't as they seem as Coast City is obliterated. The culprit? [[spoiler:Mongul, lead by the Cyborg Superman, who has also apparently killed the Last Son of Krypton!]]
* WhamLine:
-->'''Doomsday: Meeeee-troooo-po-lis!'''
* WithMyHandsTied: Doomsday wreaks massive damage with one hand tied. [[FromBadToWorse It gets worse]] once the other is freed.
* TheWorfEffect: The entire Justice League, who not only sported Superman, but also three people at Superman-like levels (Maxima, Bloodwynd and ComicBook/BoosterGold) and a Green Lantern-type (Guy Gardner), gets hit with this when Doomsday prances up.
** Given that Doomsday at the time had no ranged abilities, and both Maxima and Guy Gardner could have simply picked him up off the ground to neutralize him, this comes off as {{jobb|er}}ing. However, seeing as Maxima was a ProudWarriorRaceGuy and Guy was a HotBlooded meathead, them not doing this makes sense.
** TheWorfBarrage: When the entire League is gathered, Superman orders the projectile-firing Leaguers to fire everything that got at Doomsday. At the end, Fire's drained of her powers, Booster Gold's suit is depleted of energy and Guy's exhausted. All they do? ''Release Doomsday's other arm''.
* WritingForTheTrade: This series was not written for collection but the success of the collected version helped kickstart this trope.
* YoungerAndHipper: ComicBook/{{Superboy}} is a pastiche of this type of trend.
* YourApprovalFillsMeWithShame: Guy Gardner's enthusiastic endorsement of the Last Son of Krypton's methods caused him to reconsider them (at least temporarily).