Tuesday, January 19, 2016


"Execution 2001"
WRITER: Dan Jurgens
PENCILER: Dusty Abell
INKER: Terry Austin, John Beatty, Dick Giordano, Dennis Janke
COLORIST: Glenn Whitmore
LETTERER: John Costanza

SYNOPSIS:  Superman stops some members of Intergang from escaping prison. All the while he thinks some un-Superman thoughts about how much easier it might be if he exerted his full range of abilities over them, instilling fear in mankind about how he might react to them breaking the law.  Waverider  makes contact with Superman and examines Superman's future.

In this future, Clark and Lois have gotten married. However, Bruno Manheim (leader of Intergang) detonates a bomb which destroys Metropolis and kills Lois, Jimmy, Perry, etc.  Lana Lang comes to comfort Clark and the two eventually get married.

Ten years later...
Superman champions the cause of nuclear disarmament. He goes out of his way to take nukes away from countries that have them, violently if necessary.  He even takes out a U.S. nuclear sub which causes the death of seven sailors. Superman scans the sub with x-ray vision, but being lined in lead he can't see them.  Batman confronts Superman in an effort to talk him down, but Superman begins to act like Superman and Clark are two separate people and Batman begins to become more worried over his friend.

The Justice League is called out to stop Superman, but this only results in the death of the Martian Manhunter at the hands of Superman.  The world is aware of that Superman has finally gone too far and the President of the United States calls on Batman to bring an end to this, even if it means killing Superman.

Batman has Superman meet him in Crime Alley.  He wears a high-tech suit and battles Superman using Lex Luthor's kryptonite ring.  During the battle Robin (Tim Drake) becomes injured by Superman's careless actions which helps convince Batman that Superman is beyond saving.  Superman dies from kryptonite poisoning, calling out Lois's name.

Back in the present, Waverider determines that Superman probably doesn't become Monarch, but perhaps Batman is the one who has it in him to kill all the world's heroes and take power for himself.

MY THOUGHTS: Normally I am against 90% of the "Lois died now Supes is a crazy/broken man" stories.  They almost always feel forced.  I'm kind of in the middle on this one, honestly.  It still feels a tiny bit forced, but considering the crossover is centered around a hero going mad with power and taking over the world I can totally forgive that.

With that out of the way, I actually really do enjoy this story quite a bit.  There are many things to enjoy here.  First off, this story is what happens when you combine Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Dark Knight Returns.  We have Superman (forcefully) crusading for nuclear disaramament tot he point that he has become a despot and Batman has to stop him any way he can.  Jurgens blends the two stories into a wonderful web that allows room for his own creativity to meld with the other plots and bring us a complete story that doesn't feel too short or too long.

Jurgens brings us a future Superman at odds with the government.
"Care to step outside General...er, Prez?"

Clark has returned to the farm to live with new wife Lana and Ma Kent, who is suffering from Alzheimers.  One of the times we see her she believes Clark is still in school and that Pa Kent is still alive.  Clark wears a Smallville school sweater (minus the S), probably to not confuse Ma Kent any more than she already is.  Incorporating the hidden tunnels to the farm that were part of the Silver Age Superboy stories is a cute idea, too.  Only this time Superman has them all over the place, as far away as Wyoming according to one panel.  Definitely a good nod to old memories.

The confrontation between Superman and the JLI members is a decent enough battle.
I bet this won't end well.

The death of J'onn J'onzz is pretty powerful if you are familiar with the character.  Superman's bland reaction when he learns that it was a heart attack so he wasn't directly responsible helps seal the deal for how far away from being the ideal Superman he has gone.
Nope. Not well at all.

Finally, the big showdown between Superman and Batman goes down pretty much how we'd expect it to in this type of story.  Superman is not in his right mind, Batman is still more or less on top of his game (plus he has Robin's help), and as an analog to DKR we see Batman killing Superman with the kryptonite.  In the end we switch back to the frame story of Superman and Lois, with Waverider flying off to investigate Batman.

The art...is almost like it was drawn by two different people.  There were three different inkers, but only one penciler.  Abell seems to really like giving characters Jay Leno chins.  Superman, Bruce Wayne and Martian Manhunter in particular are sporting the prominent chin.  But it's more than that.  Like the frame story of then-present Metropolis compared to the future story appear different.  Lois...good golly she looks funky.  But then we see Lana in the future and she looks like a normal person.  I don't know.  There are just moments that look like a deadline was fast approaching and nobody had time for finishing rough sketches or something.

Meanwhile, I absolutely LOVE the future Superman costume design.
 The cape, the glove, the boots, the new belt...they all work for a new crusading Superman.  Batman also looks incredible.  It's some of the best Batman art around this time for my taste.  Even that clunky suit he wears to fight Clark looks good.  Honestly, though, adult Tim Drake in the Robin costume steals the scene whenever he shows up.  Tim has almost always been my person Robin anyway, so I am definitely biased, but we really only ever get to see him as an adult Robin in these alternate future stories and then only sporadically so let me have my fun. ;)

Everything else in the issue is pretty standard.  Most of the characters are drawn in the generic human fashion.  Mayor James Gordon shows his age. Bruce Wayne with gray temples in a nice change.  Everybody, more or less, looks and feels right in the story except for the exceptions noted above.  The story, as I said, moves as just the right pace. Not too fast, not too slow.  I found myself curious about that future world. Where will it go from here?  Alas, we will never really know.


  1. Tremendous article! I wasn't aware of Armageddon 2001 until I saw your blog on it, so it's been great to read all about it here!

  2. Glad you're enjoying it. Stick with us throughout the year, we're covering it all.