is This Truly the End for the Man of Steel?

He was faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but America's favorite comic-book superhero meets his match this week in a battle of the supertitans. After nearly 60 years of balancing two careers-meeting every challenge to the American Way, plus deadlines at the Daily Planet-Superman dies of battle wounds in the arms of Lois Lane after giving his life to defeat a spiny monster called Doomsday who would have leveled Metropolis.

Since plunking down in a cornfield in Depression-era Kansas, the Kryptonian has kept pace with world history. He conquered real-life supervillains Hitler and Stalin in the '30s and '40s, and lately grew buffer and tougher for the steroid-crazed '90s.

Devoted fans are holding wakes and donning black armbands-courtesy of DC Comics. But the smart money says he'll be back. In 1986, DC resurrected Wonder Woman after her untimely death. It may take more than mere mortality to keep a Man of Steel down.