Superman’s Death Redefines the Real Consequences of His Heroism


The true importance of Superman is revealed when Clark’s untimely death causes an anomaly that puts the entire DC Universe at risk of annihilation.

It seems that the level of impact Superman has on the world he inhabits isn’t up for discussion. An unintentional death involving the Man of Steel shows just how much the entire DC Universe depends on Clark Kent.

The DCU is composed of literally thousands of heroes and every one of them contributes to give the universe its own unique voice and identity. However, the world just wouldn’t be what it is if the Big Blue Boy Scout didn’t help establish the DCU’s foundation. The universe has a number of important heroes such as the Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman, but few of them carry the same cultural cachet as Clark. Both in-universe and in the real world, Superman is one of the most beloved superheroes of all time and his place in the DC Universe is absolutely crucial. While Superman doesn’t disappear often, the times he does are extremely noticeable.


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In fact, a potential death was so out of the ordinary, it nearly caused the DCU to be wiped off the map in the distant future. In Adventure Comics #8 by Sterling Gates, James Robinson, Eric Trautmann, Travis Moore, Julian Lopez, and Pier Gallo, the Legion of Super-Heroes detects an anomaly in their home time period of the 31st century. Before the resident genius, Brainiac 5, can analyze the source of the rift in space and time, the Legion springs into action to save a group of scientists from a satellite outpost in danger of being consumed. The anomaly is growing at an exponential rate, giving the team only five minutes to act. After a successful rescue, Brainiac 5 reveals that similar tears are happening all across the universe and they all trace back to one event: Brainiac killing Superman in the 21st century.

This wouldn’t be Superman’s first death, but it would have had much more dire consequences than Clark’s bout with Doomsday. Granted, anomalies are fairly common in the DCU. Booster Gold routinely has to go back and stop fluctuations in the timestream in order to protect the past, present and future. But Superman being killed by Brainiac is so fundamentally wrong, it begins a chain reaction that ends with everything being destroyed. Superman’s always been seen as the linchpin to the DCU, but this moment really emphasizes just how needed the hero actually is.

There are no small heroes in the DC Universe, and Superman is the first to admit he’s no more important than any other do-gooder. But Clark’s presence as a superhero has repeatedly been shown to be a net good for the DCU. Alternate universes and timelines without him always sorely lack the mortality and empathy Superman carries with him. Even his own universe can’t process the idea of Clark being killed at a moment he isn’t supposed to without going completely haywire. The fact that the hero’s untimely death nearly caused everything to collapse proves Superman is the most necessary hero in the DCU.

Next: Superman’s Real ‘Greatest Power’ Is the True Reason He’s a Cultural Icon


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