TALES FROM THE DARK MULTIVERSE: THE DEATH OF SUPERMAN / WRITER: JEFF LOVENESS / ARTIST: BRAD WALKER / PUBLISHER: DC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Fresh from ripping off their Marvel Zombies with DCeased, DC takes on another classic Marvel tradition with… uh, Lois Lane kills the DC Universe. Sort of. Returning to the ‘90s and The Death of Superman, this one-shot imagines an alternate reality in which Lois, imbued with Superman’s powers after his death, embarks on a grief-fuelled killing spree. Unfortunately, since this is still The Death of Superman, it means the stupid Superman doppelgängers are back too.
The art team (Brad Walker on pencils, Drew Hennessy, Norm Rapund and John Kalisz on inks and colours) do a fantastic job of recreating the look and feel of a ‘90s comic book, and specifically The Death of Superman. Everything feels truly authentic, from Lex Luthor’s giant ginger beard and mullet to Batman’s oval emblem and utility belt. Unfortunately, it’s the writing that lets the side down.
Jeff Loveness struggles with Lois’ about-turn to the dark side, not reconciling the character as we know her with what she becomes. This isn’t an alternate reality in which Superman stayed dead, or even one in which Lois inherits his powers - it’s one that asks ‘what if Lois Lane suddenly, inexplicably lost her shit and killed everyone?’ The point at which this story branches out into an alternate reality is too close to that of the original storyline to make sense. In order for Lois to become what Loveness has her become, she needs to be a completely different character; one who was never really Lois at all.
This story isn’t an inherently bad idea (Injustice certainly made it work), but this one drops the ball on its execution. It’s an illogical misfire that doesn’t go far enough in justifying its central conceit. Nevertheless, it looks great, and fans of the original Death of Superman should get a kick from revisiting this era of comics, stupid Superman doppelgängers or no. It’s just a shame that they couldn’t get there without betraying everything that Lois Lane and Superman ever stood for.