TALES FROM THE DARK MULTIVERSE: DEATH OF SUPERMAN #1
Writer: Jeff Loveness
Penciler: Brad Walker
Inkers: Drew Hennessy & Norm Rapmund
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Cover: Lee Weeks & Brad Anderson
Rating: 8/10 Supermen
When we first were introduced to the Dark Multiverse, it was through Dark Nights Metal and represented primarily by Batman's worst fears. We got to see some really crazy twists to the character of Batman if his path would have gone down one road or another. Whether it was Batman getting the powers of a fellow hero, or Batman becoming one of his greatest villains, we got a lot of Batman from a Multiverse made up of everyone’s fears. So much, and it was time to see some other members of the DC Universe. This issue we got to give the bat signal a rest as we explore Metropolis' hero in a dark Elseworld of their own with Tales From The Dark Multiverse: The Death Of Superman. Super spoilers ahead.
The issue has us staring in awe at the Multiverse and Dark Multiverse before our eyes with Tempus Fuginaut, the guardian against the Dark Multiverse. Mainly Tempus is just watching it seems as he recaps the concept of what these dark worlds are before setting his sights on the historical moment in comic book history, the death of Superman. Just seeing the few pages recreating this event from Walker, Hennessy and Kalisz hit met with so much emotional nostalgia from this moment when I first read it. The art for this moment felt like the creative team just successfully recreated and remastered the moment for me. Jeff Loveness allows us this brief look at a moment that was supposed to head back towards hope before they take us down our main characters’ dark path.
Superman is dead, and no one is taking it harder than Lois Lane. This Pulitzer prize-winning reporter is angry. She feels like the heroes let Clark down. The world couldn’t make it more than a couple of weeks before falling apart with crime and corruption after mourning Superman’s death. Without Superman and what he represented, the world has torn Lois down. If you are familiar with The Death Of Superman, this could be the moment where you tell Lois not to give up yet because the Eradicator is reviving him to come back later. While Loveness has been showing a more bitter mourning process from Lois, we now see where her super origin story begins as the Eradicator arrives at eh Fortress of Solitude where Lois is leaving Clark’s cape. The Eradicator states that he was too late to save Superman but that he must find a host for all the power of the Krytpononian stored within him. We watch as Lois Lane takes up the mantle promising not to carry on Clark’s battle, but to end it.
What looks to be a return of hope wearing the S, quickly changes as Lois begins her work. She doesn’t just stop crime or injustice but seeks to end it at its source. The more good she does the more cynical and resentful she becomes to Clark’s neglect of all that he should have been aware of with his powers. Loveness takes Lois further down the dark path as she decides that villains and evil people should not live and timeless battles of a killer clown versus a bat and The Man of Steel versus Lex Luthor, are all ended in an instant as she seeks them out and kills them and anyone who tries to stop her. That brief feeling of nostalgia hits again as the art team brings us back to the moment of Reign Of The Supermen, with Lois Lane now as the Eradicator herself. Everything Lois has done up to this moment is expertly reflected upon in these last few pages here for Lois as she can only mourn for all that has been lost.
The whole Dark Multiverse and the evil versions of characters that come from it hasn't been a real big grab for me. Loveness, however, set this issue apart from the rest with how much it didn’t feel simply like a dark take on a character, but a reminder of what a character like Superman means to so many. With hope gone, we watched a character try to take that back by filing those shoes, but grief and anger got the better of them and pushed them from farther and farther from what Superman would have wanted. I am not sure what the plan is with these Dark Multiverse characters is after all their one-shots, but if Loveness and the rest of the team that worked on this book get to revisit Lois Lane the Eradicator, then I’m happy to go dark again.