Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
There are three sections to this book covering the three story arcs of the comics. We are now on the final chapter of section two. This chapter has been showing how you handle the death of a character. We’ve seen the reactions, the mourning, the villains who will take advantage for their own gain, and the beginning of new heroes rising up to take over. We’ll see more of that next chapter but first we need to wrap up this storyline.
Chapter 18: Funeral For A Friend final chapter
The entire chapter is focused on one thing, Jonathan trying to bring Clark back from the other side. And given how spiritual stuff works in the DC Universe (meaning it varies from writer to writer) I find it quite possible. I don’t know what this looked like in the comics so I’m going solely by what is written in the book. Jon sees Clark about to go to the light, with two wraiths leading him through. Not wanting to let him go Jonathan goes in after and finds himself in whatever war the sliding timeline of comics allows him to be part of at that point. It’s actually an odd scenario because of the three places he visits in the afterlife while not yet being dead this is the only time his memory goes slightly haywire, since he thinks he’s rescuing an airmen from “the enemy”. More on that momentarily.
Right now I’m more disturbed by how Jon’s brother died. In the illusion he pushes Jon on before he dies, but apparently in real life he was killed by a thresher on their father’s farm. I don’t remember him having a brother pre-Crisis but I could be wrong. Still, it’s a rather violent way to go. But that’s the 1990s for you. He’s really just there to keep Jon focused on saving Clark, and then the “enemy” shows up to stop him, still saying that Kal-El belongs here but Jon doesn’t. But the enemy in this story seems to get beaten rather easily. turning to smoke if you so much as tap them on the shoulder.
Then Jon goes through another portal or whatever and finds himself on Krypton. Which makes me ask…did Superman get brought through the war scenario before going to Krypton or was Jon somehow directed there but someone ended up in Clark’s scenario anyway? I’m a little confused how this depiction of the afterlife works.
For example, afterlife Krypton is from a different time period than the clerics bringing Kal-El to the other side. Even Jon recognizes this and all he has to go on are descriptions Clark gave him from the history records in the ship. Then there’s Rao, the sun of Krypton. Pre-Crisis Rao was the god of Krypton. Post-Flashpoint he became something else, but here Rao is just the Kryptonian sun. (Religion is for suckers I guess, or maybe it’s because of the changes John Byrne made to Kryptonian society, so maybe a bunch of cold scientists wouldn’t have a religion or something. Have I mentioned I never really liked Byrne’s changes or his reasoning?)
Once Jon makes Kal-El realize things are phony (aided by the cleric losing his shape), they fight off the bad guys and fly off…but that’s the question I have about this “enemy”. Who are they? Death? Nekron? There are more personifications of Death that there are Bat Burger restaurants in the DC Universe. Jor-El shows up and he also tries to talk Kal-El into taking the walk but when Jon makes even Jor-El doubt he appears to convince him to come back. Is this tied to whatever it is the robots at the Fortress Of Solitude is up to? Of course nobody believe Jonathan, including Lana and Lois, who fly out to be there for Martha, but he makes a quick recovery and claims Clark is coming back.
Was this a dream Jon was having, trying to come to grips with the blame he falsely put on himself, and it’s just as coincidence Superman does come back? (I’m assuming that’s not a spoiler by now. :D) Or did he actually keep Clark from going over while the Fortress robots did whatever it is they’re doing to resurrect him? That will have to wait. Next week begins section three and the final arc of this storyline.
Next Time: Reign Of The Supermen part 1