** In case you missed the title, this contains HUGE SPOILERS for 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.' You've been warned! **
You'd be forgiven for feeling a little confused or otherwise coming away from the box office breaking but critically panned [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) this weekend with a bit of a bad taste in your mouth.
The ending of the film was one of many aspects that left some fans feeling a little sour, and it wasn't because the slow pan in towards the dirt sitting atop the coffin and the swift cut to black when the ground began to shake was suspiciously similar to that of possibly the worst comic book adaptation ever — The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
After all, we know Superman isn't really dead. We know Henry Cavill will be back for Justice League: Part One. We know this because — even if it wasn't for the fact that Cavill has been confirmed for the upcoming Justice League films — you can't have the League without the Trinity (especially if you're using the New 52 as a jumping off point), and that Trinity includes the leader of the team: Superman.
But comic book readers will know that this is far from the first time Supes has popped his blue and red clogs; most famously he was offed and resurrected as part of the early '90s story arc, The Death And Return Of Superman, which encompassed Doomsday!, Funeral For A Friend and Reign Of The Supermen!
It's worth looking at The Death And Return Of Superman because (as you may have guessed from the book titles) the Man of Steel bites it during a brutal battle with Doomsday, who appeared in Batman v Superman as the creation of the maniacal Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg).
In Doomsday! the Justice League International, Supergirl and Superman himself come up against the titular creature as he rampages towards and through Metropolis. The battle ends outside the Daily Planet offices and Superman is finally able to defeat Doomsday at the cost of his own life, dying in the arms of Lois Lane (no kryptonite spears involved this time though).
So Superman pops off, there's a big funeral attended by all the Justice League members and tons of other superheroes and he's laid to rest in a mausoleum built by Lex Luthor in Metropolis. His body is stolen by genetic engineers Project Cadmus but then recovered by Supergirl. Shortly after this, four new superheroes emerge.
The four heroes each take on a moniker related to Superman: The Man of Steel (John Henry Irons), The Last Son of Krypton, The Man of Tomorrow (Cyborg Superman) and The Metropolis Kid (Superboy). Both The Man of Tomorrow and The Last Son of Krypton claim to be Superman, something that Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen investigate.
It's eventually revealed that The Last Son of Krypton is actually kryptonian super-weapon and sometimes villain the Eradictor, while Cyborg Superman is a deranged Superman duplicate containing the mind of supervillain Hank Henshaw. The Eradicator stole Superman's body (again?! Seriously, Metropolis needs better mausoleum security) and used the Fortress of Solitude's regeneration matrix to siphon off Supes's power as it slowly regenerated in order to use it for himself.
Cyborg Superman goes off the rails and destroys Coast City (home of Green Lantern) and from the ruins creates a structure called Engine City. Superboy and The Man of Steel attempt to stop him, but inadvertently end up attacking the real Superman, who has broken free from the regeneration matrix and returned to Metropolis — albeit severely weakened.
Superman and Supergirl team up with Superboy and The Man of Steel to take down Engine City; Superboy saves Metropolis from destruction; Green Lantern shows up to join in on the fight, as does the Last Son / Eradictor, who saves the real Superman from death by kryptonite gas.
Superman ultimately defeats Cyborg and manages to convince Lois that he's the real Superman / Clark Kent by reciting his favorite film to her. They later stage a "rescue" of Clark Kent with Supergirl posing as Kent, filming Superman returning to save him from an underground bunker he'd supposedly been trapped in. Hey, whatever works.
While the Death part of The Death And Return Of Superman was fairly faithful to the comic books, it's pretty unlikely that we're going to get four new Supermen showing up for Justice League: Part One. So how will our DCEU Superman return?
Director Zack Snyder told EW last week that he offed Superman in the final act in order to provide Bruce Wayne / Batman (Ben Affleck) with motivation to assemble the Justice League, but what of his inevitable rebirth?
The brief shot of the dirt shaking and beginning to rise from Clark Kent's coffin clearly suggests that the Man of Steel is not yet out for the count, but Snyder has referenced the earlier scene in which Superman gets a hefty dose of a nuclear weapon in outer space as a tease to how he may return:
"He comes very close to death in space and the reason why we did that is because I wanted to show — and keep the idea in the viewer’s mind – that he can come pretty close to death and the sun can revive him, or he can be revived."
However, he confirms that it's going to take more than just the sun to bring Superman back when Justice League: Part One rolls around next year. Snyder has also suggested that the Superman we'll be seeing return won't be the same as the one we've seen before, teasing "when you bring him back, who knows what he is when he comes back..."
'Justice League: Part One' is set to release November 16, 2017.
Source: Entertainment Weekly