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Superman: Day of Doom #4

Superman: Day of Doom #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 11, 2002

Cover date: February 2003

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

"World Without A Superman"

Reviewed by: Michael Bailey (

In the sewers beneath Metropolis the mysterious entity with glowing red eyes tells Daily Planet reporter Ty Duffy that he is very glad to find that he is not the only person who thinks of Superman as not the symbol of life, but that of death. Ty wonders why the man has bound him in the sewer and the man replies that he is here to witness a story and ultimately report on it. The man then introduces himself as The Remnant and explains that this is one story that can't be written in a quaint little coffee shop.

Ty asks if he had been following him. The Remnant replies that he is resourceful, so resourceful in fact that he has read Ty's article on Superman's death and thinks it's brilliant. Ty explains that if he read the version with his editor's comments then Remnant knows that the two men's opinions differ. Remnant tells him that Ty's editor refuses to see Superman for what he is; the looming death of us all.

Meanwhile, Superman flies over Metropolis musing about how Ty sees him as a representation of death and wonders how many other people feel that way. Superman had tried his best to put it all behind him and that he has always tried to be perceived as normal and someone no better than anyone else. He thinks of how hard that is to do when you can fly and even harder when you die and come back from the dead.

Superman flies back to the Daily Planet and changes back to Clark Kent. He continues his investigation of the copycat killer who is following Doomsday's path of destruction. Perry White enters the room and asks Kent why he's there so late. Clark replies that he was just checking in. He asks Perry the same question to which White replies he is there waiting for Duffy to turn in his story. The two discuss the fact that Duffy didn't like White's comments on the story before Perry leaves. Clark knows it wasn't the editing that bothered Duffy, but his grudge against Superman. This insight leads Clark to switch tactics in finding the killer and begins to look into stories of those who died during Doomsday's attack.

Back in the sewers Remnant tells Duffy that he is the only one who dared to deal with the reality of what happened when Superman died. Remnant informs him that Superman's death was so large that it dwarfed all of the others who perished. Duffy agrees and points out that while there were individual stories written no one grasped the totality of what happened. They discuss the fact that when Superman came back the ones who lost their lives were forgotten by the general public. Remnant tells Duffy that Duffy tried to tell the real story and now it is his turn. The Remnant explains that the Daily Planet was the architect of Superman's ascension to the highest of pedestals and for that the highest price must be paid.

Lois Lane returns to her apartment and finds Clark sitting in the dark. When Lois asks what is bothering him and Clark explains that he never really thought about the people who lost their lives during his fight with Doomsday. From the moment Doomsday first hit him to the time when he returned and had to defeat the evil Cyborg and Mongul he didn't have the chance to even think about all the people who died. Lois points out the fact that Clark gave his life to defeat Doomsday and even though he came back they didn't know he would. She goes on to tell him that instead of focusing on the past he should put his energies into finding the copycat killer. They decided that Lois would do research while Superman stood guard over the most likely target, the Daily Planet building.

At minutes to midnight Superman stands watch over the Daily Planet. He notices a van parked in a no-parking zone and scans it with his x-ray vision, only to discover it is lined with lead. He flies into the van only to find himself in graveyard and faced by Remnant. Superman demands to know who Remnant is to which Remnant replies that he is a memory of what he did and the ghost of tragedies past Superman explains that he feels bad about what happened, but that he did everything he could to stop Doomsday. Remnant asks him why he didn't take the fight elsewhere since Doomsday would have followed him. Superman replies that Doomsday was a force of nature and wouldn't have followed him. He goes on to say that hindsight in 20/20 and that the fury of battle doesn't afford that luxury.

Remnant tells him that the many victims would disagree and shows Superman the graves of those who died. He lists off the names of the dead as Superman stares at the many tombstones. Finally Superman demands to know who Remnant is and Remnant replies that he is anonymous and that what he does is for the moans of the forgotten before disappearing.

Superman tears the van apart causing the holographic graveyard to disappear. He searches frantically for a bomb and finds none. Remnant calls to him from the top of the Daily Planet and declares that it is time for Superman's official public relations machine to fall. Superman spots another lead box and asks if there is a bomb inside. Remnant replies that there is a bomb and more. Superman uses his enhanced hearing and discovers by the heartbeat that it's Perry. He asks Remnant why he involved an innocent man and is told that White sings Superman's praises at every opportunity but refuses to tell the truth.

Superman tells Remnant that he won't let him do this. Remnant replies that he has no choice and disappears. Superman grabs the lead box and takes it into the sky. He rips it open and takes Perry out before kicking the box away. There is an explosion and Perry and Superman watch as hundreds of papers float to the ground. Perry grabs one and Superman points out that it's Ty's story. Perry is quick to point out how wrong the story is, but Superman is more concerned with the fact that Remnant keeps disappearing. He gives the area a quick scan and finds not Remnant, but Ty Duffy.

Superman rescues Duffy and brings him back to the Planet. Perry tells Duffy that Superman isn't the ogre he thinks Superman is. Superman agrees that he isn't an ogre, but sometimes insensitive. He goes on to talk of how he once fought Doomsday on the spot where they were standing and how he was unstoppable. He explains that he wasn't scared of dying, but of failing to stop Doomsday from tearing down the city and killing more people. Superman stopped him, but that made him realize a few things.

Superman tells Duffy that he knows how the reporter feels and that there may be better ways to fight for truth and justice than with his fists. He goes on to say that if Duffy wants to be a good reporter he shouldn't back off the tough questions and that he should ask himself a question. Is the world better off without Superman? If he was gone would there be less Doomsdays or more Coast Cities. Before flying off into the night Superman tells Duffy that those are the questions he has to live with and that he's interested in Duffy conclusions.

5Story - 5: This comic may have been a week late, but it was well worth the wait. Despite some bumps along the way Dan Jurgens manages to bring a satisfying conclusion to the series and manages to put a new spin on an old theme.

After finishing the final issue I realized the main theme of the series and that was how Superman's death affected the DC Universe and the people within it. Now that may seem rather obvious, but there is more to it than simply having characters tell their stories about where they were and what they were doing the day Superman died. It was more on how the people of Metropolis (and the world in general) view Superman and his place in their lives.

This isn't new ground for Superman. Back in the '70s Elliot S! Maggin wrote what is considered by some to be one of the best Superman stories ever written "Must There Be a Superman?" where the Guardians of the Universe point out to the Man of Steel that his actions act as a kind of social drag to the people of Earth. (Though why the Guardians were the ones who pointed this out is beyond me. I mean here are immortal beings that have made it their mission to battle evil wherever it may rear its head throughout the universe going so far as to build a giant power battery that powers rings that make the wearer nearly omnipotent and charging the wearers to help out people not just on one planet, but an entire space sector and they're giving Superman a hard time about doing his bit for his adopted planet? It doesn't wash with me.) In DAY OF DOOM the theme is explored again and fleshed out to a better conclusion.

The revelation of the mysterious being as the character called Remnant was odd, but in the end a satisfying character who fit well within the context of the story. My only problem with him is that he is mysterious to the point that we learn nothing about him. His origins are never explained. His powers are never explained. He is there for one purpose and one purpose alone and that is to show the world what a sham Superman is. His mysterious past and powers actually serve the story well since you don't have to spend half the issue explaining who Remnant is and why he is doing what he is doing. He's just the villain of the piece with a clear motivation who serves as the extreme of what Ty Duffy believes.

Ty Duffy wasn't used as much in this issue, which was kind of a shame because he was such a fleshed out character. The thing I liked was that at the end of the issue Ty doesn't drop to his knees and admit that Superman was right and that he was wrong. Actually he doesn't say much at the end of the issue, but since he spent three quarters of the comic tied up in a sewer, sometimes debating how people view Superman with a creepy guy who had glowing eyes I guess you could understand why he was a little quiet.

Superman himself was my favorite part of the comic. Dan Jurgens doesn't fall into the trap that some writers do with making Superman look like a complete idiot when someone points out that some people don't think too highly of him. Superman's reactions to Duffy's accusations from the previous issue felt real. I liked how he lapsed into some good old fashioned self-doubt that could only be cleared with the help of Lois. It made Superman seem human and likable. His speech at the end was great and pointed out how things aren't always so easy when you are in the thick of battle. He admitted that there may be better ways to fight for truth and justice than fighting, but he also pointed out that sometimes you have to stand and fight for what is right. Jurgens showed a great understanding of the character by doing this and it is why I enjoyed the end of the book so much.

Perry White was my main problem with the issue. While all of the other characters were pretty much fleshed out he was the only character that seemed flat and one-dimensional. His dialogue was almost nave, but if Remnant served as the extreme of Duffy's viewpoint than Perry is on the other end of the spectrum. In any case it seemed that an editor of Perry's caliber would be more likely to question all sides of a situation instead of sticking to one side so vehemently. Oh well, somebody had to be on Superman's side.

In the end DAY OF DOOM was an excellent examination not just of Superman's death, but of how people in the DC Universe view the Man of Steel. There were deeper themes working throughout the series that separated it from other comics and those came to a head in issue four. Overall I really enjoyed the story and thought that it was a perfect bookend to the Doomsday saga.

Of course the fan boy in me that I have locked away in my head really wants to know who the heck Remnant was.

4Art - 4: The art continued to be solid in this issue. Sienkiewicz's inks didn't do too much damage to Jurgen's pencils this time out and really added to the mysterious nature of the Remnant character. Remnant drawn as an ethereal, somewhat sketchy creature gave him a creepy look. The fact that not much was revealed about the character emphasized this feeling.

I really enjoyed the scenes between Lois and Clark as well. A lot of emotion was packed into those pages. The action scenes were well paced and the graveyard scene was excellent.

By far my favorite piece of art was on page ten. The shadowy figure of Clark surrounded by images of his battle with the Cyborg was just awesome. Again, this is where I may have been wrong about thinking that Sienkiewicz was the wrong choice for inker. I am sure that the art would have been good either way, but there was something about the scratchy quality that added to this page.

Overall the art was excellent and I have very few complaints other than the quality of the inking as far as some of the faces went. Sometimes it was great, other times they were muddled. In the end, though, I can't complain too much.

5Cover Art - 5: This was the best cover of the series. It even beats the first issue's cover to some extent. The brown color of the graveyard placed against the splash of red and blue was eye catching. You knew that while Superman was probably going to save the day it wasn't going to end as well as it could have. It had that "grab me" quality that a good cover should have.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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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