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Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Death of Superman Delivers '90s Nostalgia

DC's Tales from the Dark Multiverse line of one-shot special issues has revisited pivotal moments from classic stories in the DC Universe, with a dark twist leading to horrifying new narrative possibilities. The latest special focuses on The Death of Superman, one of the most iconic moments in DC history, with a sinister departure from the original story in line with previous specials. In doing so, the creative team of Jeff Loveness, Brad Walker, Drew Hennessy and Norm Rapmund has created a vision of the classic event that feels like it's right out of the 1990s era when it first appeared -- complete with all the storytelling strengths and faults prevalent throughout the period.

Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1 opens in the immediate aftermath of Superman's fatal confrontation with Doomsday in the streets of Metropolis. In a deviation from the original story, Lois Lane quickly grows to resent the rest of the superhero community that had left the Man of Steel to die alone in her arms, taking her to some incredibly dark places as the world faces life without Superman. As familiar faces rise to potentially fill the void left by the Man of Tomorrow's untimely demise, Lois becomes a twisted figure maddened by grief leading to horrific violence and tragedy as she spirals further out of control.

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Given the premise, writer Jeff Loveness has to take Lois to the most lethal, morally questionable places the character has ever been across her entire comic book history. The past several years has seen plenty of memorable stories featuring Superman breaking bad. However, this issue has Lois go villainous faster than a speeding bullet. With only a single issue to work with, that means some breakneck pacing should definitely be expected. Yet, the rapid descent is a lot to swallow, especially given the extreme lengths and logic leaps that this Dark Multiverse's incarnation of Lois undergoes.

Having said that, with as much ground as Loveness covers, he is sure to include plenty of classic moments and characters from the entire '90s storyline, ranging from The Death of Superman to Reign of the Supermen, as the world attempts to move on from the loss of its greatest hero. Loveness catches the melodramatic tone and '90s aesthetic present in the original comics well as he stages a sort of "What If..." story in keeping with the more sinister precedent set by other specials in the wave of one-shots. For readers familiar with the original source material, that tone and storytelling sensibility should go over like a nostalgic blast from the past, while less familiar readers may be put off.

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This reimagining of the '90s storyline is further accentuated by the art team. Brad Walker's pencils, along with Drew Hennessy and Norm Rapmund's inks and John Kalisz's colors, really do feel like an extension of the era's artwork. That Rapmund has previously worked with the story's original pencilers, Dan Jurgens and Jerry Ordway, certainly helps. Familiar moments and characters are repositioned here with the same visual sensibilities of the earlier story, which will feel appropriate for readers of the original but may come off as a more of a throwback art style to the uninitiated.

Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1 continues the line of special twisted, dark takes on past classic DC Comics stories. The creative team hits the nightmarish ground running here, with readers along for a rollicking ride that revisits the past storyline at a heightened pace. With all the tone and aesthetics of the era in which the original comic first debuted, the special is sure to thrill readers of The Death of Superman while newer readers may want to visit the '90s story first in order to have better context for the background of the special.

Tales from the Dark Multiverse: The Death of Superman #1 is on sale now.

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