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Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics

Action Comics #31 Action Comics #31

Action Comics #31

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 14, 2014

Cover date: July 2014

Superman Doomed: Infected - Chapter One: "True Believers"

Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Aaron Kuder, Rafa Sandoval and Cameron Stewart
Inker: Aaron Kuder, Vicente Cifuentes and Cameron Stewart

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman wakes up from a nightmare while Lana Lang tries to figure out how to get to him despite the military presence surrounding her. Wonder Woman arrives followed by Lex Luthor, Cyborg and Martian Manhunter and the rest of the Justice League. As they fly away Wonder Woman tells Superman that Lex has been given special clearance to coordinate events, which upsets Superman but not as much as Lex telling Superman that he is going to be quarantined. After another brief nightmare Superman flies off after some encouraging words from Wonder Woman.

Batman joins the investigation as Superman flies to Alaska and finds Krypto. Krypto doesn't wig out on Superman leading him to believe that he isn't dangerous. Superman sleeps through the night and starts to feel better but some hunters shooting at wolves from a plane draw his ire. He confronts them and tries to calm down but eventually flies through the plane and causes it to crash. This time it's not a dream and despite the fact that it shouldn't Superman's actions make him feel good.

Elsewhere Senator Lane meets with John Henry Irons, who survived longer than just about anyone outside of Superman when he took on Doomsday. Irons armors up in organic steel, which is keeping his cellular degeneration at bay for the moment and asks Lane what he wants. His answer is simple; Superman. Lane is concerned that the battle with Doomsday affected him and wants him in a secure location so that they can help him. Steel is a little dubious because the secure location Lane is talking about happens to be a prison. In Smallville Lois tries to convince Lana to leave but she chooses to not only stay behind but take off her protective suit despite rumors saying that the fallout from Doomsday's attack is killing people. Lana believes in Superman. That's good enough for her.

Meanwhile Superman tries to gain access to the Fortress of Solitude but fails the DNA check. He also notices that bony protrusions have grown out of his hand. Krypto turns on him as well leading Superman to think that he should be going to his friends for help but he doesn't need them to believe in him. He knows who he is. He's Superman and he is going to save them all.

4Story - 4: The opening chapter to this leg of SUPERMAN: DOOMED was entertaining and engaging. I will admit that I have some doubts about this event, especially since the next chapter is titled ENEMY OF THE STATE. From the looks of things Superman is going to be portrayed as someone that the government (and probably his fellow heroes) look on as a threat and I always get a weird feeling when Superman is put in that position. I am not suggesting that it can't make for a great story or that it's going to be bad right off because the creators are going down that road. I am just saying that we've seen this sort of thing to one extreme or another and in one medium or another for several years now and I was hoping for a little more from nearly three years into the New 52 than more of the same.

Having written all that I thought Greg Pak did a fantastic job with this issue. Lana continues to be a great character and it is interesting to see her believe in Superman more than Lois. The dream sequences were fun, especially the first one. I laughed out loud at the idea of Superman just annihilating Lex and it turning out to all be a dream. Superman's reaction to that was priceless. More than anything I was impressed at how Pak handled Superman's descent into... whatever you want to call what is happening to him. He breaks away from Lex and finds Krypto, who accepts Superman right off. Pak has Superman think everything is fine which gives the scenes where he attacks the hunters and then tries to gain entry into the Fortress a more subtle feel. This isn't a Superman who is going evil in an over the top way. This Superman thinks he is doing the right thing, despite Krypto turning on him. If the other creators can maintain that sort of feel than this storyline will go just fine.

Other moments I liked included Superman blowing off Lex, Batman acting like Superman's friend instead of someone that sees Superman as a potential threat and the new take on Steel. It was nice to see references to Morrison's run on this series and the scene between Irons and Senator Lane was elevated beyond a filler scene. At first I was annoyed at Lex's involvement (mainly because the final issue of FOREVER EVIL still hasn't come out) but the fact that he was dissed and dismissed made me smile.

SUPERMAN: DOOMED has a lot of potential. This is an interesting take on Doomsday and seems to go beyond the desire to see Superman go head to head with the monster. Like the original DEATH AND RETURN saga the story here isn't Doomsday. It's about Superman and his place in the world. As long as this ball isn't dropped this event should play out just fine.

4Art - 4: The art was consistent throughout the issue, which may sound like an odd or even flimsy compliment but there were three artists on this book and I thought their styles meshed well enough together that the transition from one artist to another was smooth. It was a little odd seeing this style after reading the special that led into this issue but I have gotten used to Kuder's style and since the other artists followed suit it wasn't jarring going from that look to this one. I enjoyed seeing the artists' take on the Justice League and Steel's organic armor was really smooth. The final page was my favorite of the issue. It set the tone of the event and was rather haunting.

5Cover Art - 5: I really liked this cover. It has an epic feel to it and I am a mark for a good shirt rip. I am also digging the trade dress for the story, which I normally tend to ignore but this one is pretty sharp.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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