Despite being one of DC's most powerful heroes, Clark Kent, aka Kal-El, aka Superman, sure dies a lot, doesn't he?
The Last Son of Krypton's most famous death made comic book history back in the early '90s when he and Doomsday both fell after an epic slugfest. The story was a huge hit for the publisher, and when a storyline becomes that popular, it's bound to be adapted time and time again over the years.
In 2007, Superman: Doomsday was the first animated movie to loosely adapt the classic storyline. Then in 2016, Superman died all over again on the big screen in Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Superman. This year, the Man of Steel fell against Doomsday yet again in the animated The Death of Superman, which was written by veteran DC writer Peter J. Tomasi, who also wrote the fan-favorite Superman Rebirth comic book series. He has experience writing the Big Blue Boy Scout, but breathing new life into a familiar story is no easy task.
Even though Tomasi was taking on beloved source material, the writer enjoyed creating a brand new version of Superman's clash with Doomsday. "It was a blast to be able to open it up and really let the personal stuff and the humanizing of the characters take up a lot of time before the action kicks in," Tomasi told CBR at New York Comic Con. He elaborated, explaining that taking time to connect with the characters made the massive action sequences worth the wait and more effective. "When everything kicks in, you're really feeling it and going through that stuff with the characters at the same time."
The Death of Superman takes place in the animated universe - often referred to as the New 52 Animated Universe - which started back in 2014's Justice League War. Because the battle between Superman and Doomsday takes place in an entirely different universe, large changes needed to be taken from the source material. For example, Doomsday's arrival is potentially linked to Darkseid (the savage foe appears to head to Earth via a Boom Tube, after all) and, since Superman was dating Wonder Woman in this animated universe, Tomasi had the challenge of establishing the Lois Lane and Clark Kent romance right before the hero's death.
Tomasi was clear that handling the story's significant changes wasn't an issue for him at all; in fact, he actually enjoyed putting a new spin on the well-known tale. "It was pretty cool, to be honest with you. I got a chance to take the classic, but bend it a bit and obviously add some elements that weren't in the original story and humanize it a bit more because of the time." Tomasi said adapting the story for the small screen also benefited him, explaining, "the time between a screenplay and a comic allows you a little more latitude on certain things."
The Death of Superman received mostly positive reactions from fans and critics. Despite occasionally stiff animation, the story is packed with action and delivered on establishing a legitimate emotional connection to Lois and Superman, even though every fan knew where the story was heading. Because of the positive response, some fans have been wondering if Tomasi will write another DC animated film in the future, especially since he didn't write the sequel Reign of the Supermen. While Tomasi says there's nothing in the works now, the possibility does exist. "I can't talk about it now, but right now there hasn't been much talk about it. I've been pretty busy, and they've got a bunch of stuff going on, so I think it's just one of the things that we're just waiting for the stars to align again."
The Death of Superman is currently on sale. Reign of the Supermen, will be released in 2019.