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Superman: Day of Doom #3

Superman: Day of Doom #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 27, 2002

Cover date: January 2003

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Dan Jurgens
Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz

"Funeral For A Friend"

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey (GarrickMcNider@aol.com)



Lydia, a staffer at the Daily Planet relates her experience of being caught in the middle of a bank robbery that Superman got involved in to reporter Ty Duffy. She tells him that when the would-be bank robbers took her hostage Superman apparently stood there and did nothing. Lydia and the other hostages were marched to the roof and shoved into a helicopter. When one of the criminals tells the pilot to fly the pilot turns around to reveal that he is, in fact, Superboy. In short order Superboy and Superman take care of the bank robbers and save the hostages.

Ty incredulously tells Lydia that to him it sounded like Superman's actions were reckless and dangerous. Lydia takes offense to the statement and storms off, leaving Ty trying to explain himself. Perry White enters the room asking Ty if he is having troubles. Ty replies that it's only a case of foot-in-mouth disease and then asks what Perry thought of his story. Perry replies that he will let Ty know when he reads the rest of it. Ty argues that he gave Perry the whole story, but Perry counters that while he covered the death of Superman he left out the rest of the story such as the funeral.

Perry goes on to explain how the big the funeral was and that the attention paid to it was usually reserved for heads of state. It seemed as if all of Metropolis showed up and the city was quiet for days afterward. Ty points out that there would be a story of the city's reaction to Superman's death if he had actually died. Perry counters that at the time they didn't know he was going to come back and that any retrospective on Superman's death should include a look at the city's reactions. Ty tells Perry that he was sure that it was a sugarcoated Hallmark moment for the city, but too many people suffered because of Superman's presence and that their grief endures unlike unnecessary tears for the Man of Steel.

Meanwhile, at John Henry Iron's headquarters, the Steelworks, Superman has John overlap Doomsday's path of destruction with the recent accidents in the area starting with the train wreck in Ohio and ending at the seventeen-car pile up on the interstate. John does so and the two discover that the two paths are identical, leading Superman to believe that Doomsday has a copycat.

At the Brew Krew Ty discusses the fact that he is still on the story of Superman's death with his friend Kyle. Father Nathan, Ty's next interview, arrives and tells the reporter that he can't imagine why Ty would want to talk to him. Ty explains that from what he understands Father Nathan lived in California at the time so it's his connection to Coast City that Ty would like to explore first. Father Nathan is visibly shaken and begins his story by telling Ty that it was a disaster beyond description. He goes on to tell the reporter how Superman's death was felt even on the west coast. The true disaster, though, came when the ship arrived from the heavens and in a fiery holocaust destroyed Coast City. Father Nathan went to assist the survivors and the outlaying cities affected by the radiation and heat. In the end he did what he could but ended up spending most of his time giving last rites to the dying. He ends his story by telling Ty that those days are forever seared into his memory, as is Superman's death. When Ty asks how so, Father Nathan replies that the fact that Superman died and returned to life complicates his own work in spreading the word of a man who died and returned from death as well.

After the interview ends Perry calls Ty's cell phone and tells him to head over to Son of Murphy's bar, which had just suffered a massive explosion. Ty asks what this has to do with his story and Perry explains that all of the places being destroyed are on the same path that Doomsday followed and that it could be related to Superman's death.

At Son of Murphy's Superman arrives and offers his help. The fire crew is happy to have it since something is wrong with the water lines giving them no water pressure. Superman grabs a water tower and pours the contents over the fire, which quickly extinguishes the blaze. Superman asks if any of the victims need help but is informed by one of the fire fighters that whoever bombed the place called in advance and the building had been cleared.

Before Superman can fly off Ty asks for a moment of his time. He asks the Man of Steel for a reaction to the speculation that the destruction of the bar and other similar incidents are related to the anniversary of his death. Superman replies that until they catch whoever is responsible there is no way of knowing. Ty keeps at him asking if he is saying that it is all a coincidence. Superman tells him no and that it seems to be the work of some insane maniac who has no appreciation for human life.

Ty takes exception to Superman's use of the words insane and maniac and asks if that is how the Man of Steel sees people who are mentally ill. Superman tells Ty that he meant no insult, which falls on deaf ears to Ty who is insulted. Ty goes on to explain that his father was diagnosed as being bipolar years ago and that it was a condition that his family struggled with. As Ty grew older his father's mood swings got worse where one minute he was the happiest man on Earth and the next he could be described as an insane maniac. Superman began to explain his choice of words again but is cut off by Ty who says that he probably would say what happened next wasn't the Man of Steel's fault either.

Superman says that he doesn't understand. Ty enlightens Superman by saying that despite the fact that he lived far from Metropolis at the time of Doomsday's rampage his family was still affected by the attacks. His father's medication had run out the day of the attacks and every pharmacy in town had been destroyed. There were no refills available for days. Ty continues by telling Superman that his father really looked up to him and that, deep down, his father believed that Superman would rescue him. When the reports of Superman's death came in Ty's father dropped to his knees in their shattered house overwhelmed by pointless, meaningless grief.

Superman offers to help in any way he can, but Ty retorts sarcastically that he did all he could by fighting the good fight and coming back to life. Superman asks about how his father was today and is shocked to find out that he committed suicide. He continues to berate Superman by asking why he was the only one to come back after Doomsday's attacks and asks how fair is that. Superman solemnly replies that it isn't.

Before leaving Ty points out that the while the media calls Superman a symbol of heroism and life he is the symbol of death to all of those who lost someone during those terrible times. Ty's final comment, which was how he doubted Superman had ever given that a moment's thought, leaves the Man of Steel shaken.

Shaking, Ty walks away, scarcely believing that he let all of that out on Superman. Suddenly a mysterious figure with glowing eyes grabs Ty and drags him to the ground saying that this isn't over.

5Story - 5: Reviewing comics, like reviewing anything I guess, requires a certain level of detachment that is hard to pull off. Usually people review the medium they are interested in and bring all of the preconceptions and opinions they have ever had with them when they put pencil to paper. It's hard to put all of those fanboy judgments aside and really look at the piece for what is worth.

When I first read DAY OF DOOM #3 the fanboy in me came out and I really disliked Ty's attitude towards Superman through the entirety of the issue. There have been various instances in the Superman comics where a character gives Superman the stink eye and calls him to the carpet on how his actions affect those around him and initially I thought DAY OF DOOM #3 was just another retelling of this theme.

Then I began to think about it. I mean really think about the issue and Ty as a character and came to a totally different conclusion. Because of that my perception of the comic changed and so did how much I enjoyed it.

Looking at the past two reviews I did I realize that I didn't really have a handle on the character of Ty Duffy. I thought I had the character's motivations nailed and had formed the opinion that Ty didn't like the story he was assigned to cover because he thought he was above it. Reviewers tend to do this; try to get into the head of the writer (or writers) and guess what they meant by having a character act and speak a certain way. I thought I knew where Dan Jurgens was going.

I was wrong. Even with all of the clues (and there were clues) left I just didn't have Ty figured out at all.

I have to admit that Ty's attitude came somewhat out of left field for me. It was obvious from the previous two issues that he didn't like having to write about Superman and in the second issue you could see that he felt that Superman was somewhat overrated and insignificant compared to the trials and tribulations that the everyday John and Jane Doe go through, but beginning with his reaction to Lydia's story it became clear that Ty had a very bitter attitude towards the Man of Steel. His reaction of Perry's story of Superman's funeral echoed this.

Ty's feelings were put on hold for the interview with Father Nathan, which while only a few pages long brings up a point that had never really occurred to me before. While I found Father Nathan' story to be moving it was his reaction to Superman's resurrection that stuck with me the most. This surprised me because having grown up Catholic I thought I would have caught the parallel with the other guy who died and came back. This really brings home the underlying theme of how Superman's death affected people in the DC Universe, including those who heed the call of a higher power.

The part of the book that gave me the hardest time and had me disliking the story at first was Ty's sermon and revelation to Superman. Originally I thought the moment was clich, especially when it was revealed that his father committed suicide. I also had a serious drop into my old fanboy days when I thought that Superman should tell this punk wearing a jacket bearing the logo of the Daily Planet, his home turf, exactly where he could stick his resentment and bile. I feel bad about this, actually, as I try not to have those knee-jerk reactions anymore.

As I previously stated, though, once I began thinking about what Ty said and what it meant to the overall story. Before passing judgment on how clich the sequence you have to think about what the character of Ty Duffy had been through. Having a parent with a disability (mental or physical) or illness is hard enough, but the death of that parent, whether by their own hand or not, is enough to really mess a person up. There is so much anger and resentment that goes along with it that, to me, Ty's bile towards Superman and the blame he puts on the Man of Steel is actually very real and understandable. When put into that context the scene transcends the normal finger pointing, "you have no idea what you've done" sequence that most comic have in this situation.

Superman's reaction was another part that bothered me initially. Again it seemed clichd to have Superman shaken by someone telling him the consequences of his actions and if the overall intent of the story was to make Superman appear foolish or unnecessary then I would have been upset. In DAY OF DOOM I don't believe this to be the case. Instead Superman's reaction could be seen to mirror the reader's reaction to the horror Doomsday caused. Yeah, I know Superman died and we didn't, but the shock was meant for us just as much as it was meant for Superman. It struck me as a device to drive the point home that Superman's death affected people in the fictional DC Universe in ways that we never realized.

I was initially going to throw in a few theories I have on who the mysterious stranger is. I decided against it for two reasons. One, having the identity of the villain be a surprise is more enjoyable for me as a reader. Two, and more importantly, I hate to be wrong and I really don't want to go shooting my mouth off and pretending to be some kind of expert and then be just dead wrong. So I'll leave my predictions for the next review when we know who did it.

Is that a cop out or what?

In the end issue three has been the best so far. Dan Jurgens really poured a lot into the story. Instead of giving us a sugarcoated Hallmark retrospective Dan has given us drama and a heartfelt, near reality view of the death of Superman. I look forward to the conclusion.

4Art - 4: The opening sequence with Superman in the bank was classic Superman. Page one in particular was bold and dramatic. It really set the standard for art in this issue.

Overall I enjoyed the art. I thought that in most places Dan's pencils really came through. The scene with the heroes carrying Superman's casket was good on two fronts the first of which is it was a nice piece of artwork. The second front was that it gave me that good fanboy feeling when I realized that this was the way the heroes were set in the exact position as they were in the poster that came with Superman #75. It gave this longtime reader a smile.

There were places, though, where the art suffered from the inks. The bank robbery/hostage sequence was good at first, but the inking hampered the helicopter rescue. The Son of Murphy's sequence had a similar problem. The layouts were great, but the inking blurred the faces in certain places, which took away from the power of the scenes. The odd thing is that while I usually am fan of a good, clean style I can see where this style or inking works for this story. It creates a unique look for the comic and, at times, emphasizes the drama that the story is trying to present.

In the end I can't say I hated the art and in places I absolutely loved it. It's just Sienkiewicz's inking and Jurgens pencils don't normally go together for me.

5Cover Art - 5: This comic had a nice cover. The black armband with the red S being the prominent color really draws the eye. The expressions of grief on Green Lantern and Wonder Woman (and even Flash in the background) added to the quality of the cover. It has the "grab me" quality in spades.


Mild Mannered Reviews

2003

Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2003

February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003

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