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No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that human affairs were being watched from the timeless worlds of space.
No one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinised as someone with a microscope studies creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.
Few men even considered the possibility of life on other planets.
And yet. Across the gulf of space. Minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us...
The Death and Return of Superman is divided into five story arcs: Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend, Reign of the Supermen!, Return of Superman and Superman/Doomsday.
The first chronicles Superman's fight with the unknown monster Doomsday and concludes with his apparent death. The second depicts Superman's fellow superheroes and the rest of the DC Universe mourning his death, ending with his adoptive father Jonathan Kent having a heart attack. The third sees the emergence of four Superman imposters, each claiming to be the original resurrected. The fourth arc reveals who can be trusted and who cannot, concluding when the real Superman returns, but not quite as strong as before.
In the fifth and final installment, Superman travels to the nightmare world of Apokolips for a confrontation with Doomsday, the creature who cost him his life. With the help of the mysterious time-traveling Waverider, Superman at last discovers the shocking truth of his greatest enemy's origin. And just when he thinks the terror is finally over, the murderous juggernaut returns to Earth even more powerful than ever!
A number of characters in in this seriers, such as Doomsday, Cyborg Superman, Eradicator, Superboy and Steel, would recur in later DC publications.