YMMV / The Death of Superman

  • Franchise Original Sin: This story is the Trope Codifier for the modern overuse of Death is Cheap in comic books: a story in which the major superhero of the DC universe dies and is brought back over the course of a major storyline. However, back then, killing Superman was actually shocking to the audience because it hadn't been done to death yet (previous examples were rare and usually not planned), created immense Emotional Torque, and the Reign of the Supermen was a brilliant takedown of the '90s Anti-Hero. It's still a classic of comic book storytelling and a point of light in The Dark Age of Comic Books, but it also set such a trend for future Character Deaths that the comic book afterlife had to have a revolving door installed.
  • Genre Turning Point: Part of the reason that this comic was so important was that, for better or for worse, writers realized that they could kill off a major character and just bring them back later. Starting with this, Death is Cheap has become so prevalent in comics that it's almost impossible to take any death seriously.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • At the end of the Justice League America tie-in to "Funeral for a Friend," Booster Gold sits by the comatose Blue Beetle's hospital bed and prays for his recovery after seeing the other heroes all paying tribute to Superman, hoping he won't have to go through another hero's death immediately after, especially if it's his best friend. 13 years later Booster really would end up mourning Blue Beetle after Max Lord put a bullet through Beetle's skull in Countdown to Infinite Crisis.
    • The Toyman's appearance during "Funeral for a Friend" where he's shown to be mourning Superman's death by noting how he always looked out for kids, in light of his next appearance shortly after the whole "Death of Superman" saga ended which controversially re-imagined him into an Ax-Crazy child murderer.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • During "Reign of the Superman" a fan commented in his letter that "It's amazing how far comics have come in twenty years. Then Doomsday would have been some monster thrown from Krypton or something". When Doomsday's origin was eventually revealed, it turned out comics actually hadn't changed that much.
    • During his fight with Doomsday, Superman muses that he would suspect Luthor was responsible for creating Doomsday if he were still alive. Sure enough, Luthor ended up being the one who created Doomsday in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    • During Adventures of Superman #502 Luthor comments on how he and Superboy are more alike than he thinks. Guess who Superboy later turns out to have part of his DNA cloned from in addition to Superman?
  • Idiot Ball: Doomsday may be really tough, but he also presented absolutely no threat if he couldn't get within arm's reach of anything. Despite the Justice League having multiple telekinetics at the time, nobody thought of simply picking him up. Granted it probably wouldn't have worked since Doomsday was made unstoppable but points for trying.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Kill DC's Mascot permanently? Yeah, right.
    • As Max Landis "educational parody film" The Death and Return of Superman explains, this wasn't really the attitude of comic book readers at the time. At the time, death wasn't something focused on in comic books, especially the main characters dying. As such, when The Cape himself died, it was a big thing for both readers and people who didn't even bother reading comics. What caused this trope, then? After it happened to Superman, every comic book with a dead character decided that it would be equally cool to return.
      Max Landis: "The Sacred Suspension of Disbelief, as far as death, had ended. 'Death of Superman' didn't kill Superman. It killed death."
  • Moral Event Horizon: The destruction of Coast City. Mongul and Cyborg Superman killed seven million people.
  • Narm: The original cover to The Death of Superman Graphic Novel looks painful and goofy compared to later releases.
  • Nightmare Fuel: The infamous bloodied S-Shield.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Because of the "Death is Cheap" trope (whose former Trope Namer is "Comic Book Death"), this story is hard to take seriously today. However, it's believed to be the Trope Maker for Death is Cheap, so at the time it was a big deal. Heck, it made the nightly news, at a time when Comic Books were believed to be culturally irrelevant.
  • The Woobie: Lois Lane. Watching the man she loves fighting and dying while still determined to recording the fight is hard enough, but what made her cross into this territory is that, unlike the other heroes and civilians, she is both completely powerless to do anything and, in this storyline, knows both Superman and Clark Kent. While the story's focus is on actions, poor Lois's grief and pain is detailed very clearly, especially with the four new Superman who crop up later in the story.
    • Lana Lang and the Kents were also this, as they had to keep secret Superman's real identity after he died. Superman was known to be dead, but Clark wasn't.