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Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics

Action Comics #32 Action Comics #32

Action Comics #32

Scheduled to arrive in stores: June 4, 2014

Cover date: August 2014

Superman Doomed: Enemy of the State - Chapter One: "Nightmare"

Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Scott Kolins
Inker: Scott Kolins

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman remembers a reoccurring dream he had when he was nine. That nightmare has sadly come true for him as an adult. As he flies along bombers spot him and attack. Superman can't blame them. If your average person sees something do the things he's done you have to stop it.

At a press conference held at Salvation Tech Emergency Evaluation Laboratories in Manassas, Virginia Senator Sam Lane officially declares Superman to be an enemy of the state. Lois Lane is next to speak and she tells the world about the fact that Superman nearly killed her the previous night. Wonder Woman tries to call Clark but gets Lana Lang instead. The women discover that not only did Clark rig his phone number so that the two of them could talk if things got bad but that they also both still trust Superman. Lana tells Wonder Woman about the strange energy readings coming from the people in Smallville that have mysteriously fallen into comas and asks Wonder Woman to tell Clark that she's on it. Wonder Woman flies off in search of Superman.

As Lois and her father calm an agitated John Corben the hero known as Steel finds Superman in Chile. Superman tells him that Lois was right about him being dangerous. Steel makes a few suggestions but Superman refuses to run and gives Steel a key to send him to the Phantom Zone if things go bad. The Doomsday virus flares up again and Superman tells his friend to leave. Lex Luthor contacts Steel and tells him that they are about to engage Superman and take him in. Steel flies out to stop them and is confronted by Metal Zero and the Atomic Skull. Lex tries to convince Superman to leave but Superman sees that if Metal Zero attacks him the resulting explosion will kill both of them.

Superman confronts Corben and tries to reason with him but Corben knows that his was a suicide mission. The ship explodes and Superman watches Corben die as the Kryptonite envelops him. Steel flies to the impact site and Senator Lane orders him to hit Superman as hard as he can. Lex warns Steel that the Kryptonite did nothing but weaken the part of Superman that was still Superman. All that is left... is Doom!

4Story - 4: There is a lot to like about the kick off to the second act of SUPERMAN: DOOMED. Greg Pak has ramped up the action but never loses sight of what this story is really about; Superman having to fight his own demons and be the hero despite the public turning against him. At least that is what I am getting out of this story. For the past few years they have played with the idea that there is a certain percentage of the population that doesn't trust Superman, which never sat well with me. That seems more of a Spider-Man type thing. However with this story it works because Superman is an actual threat, so they have to play with that idea. The fact that he keeps doing things like giving Steel the means to send him to the Phantom Zone if things go really bad proves that he is still Superman. A Superman in pain and trying to fight off the Doomsday virus but still the Man of Steel. Add in the controlled Lois pulling the strings and certain tropes I normally hate suddenly become key elements of the story that I not only accept, but like.

While the first two pages where Pak plays with the whole nightmare come to life angle were great to me the issue really started when Wonder Woman and Lana spoke on the phone. Pak has done wonderful things with Lana and to see her and Diana work together is great. The fist bump line was a bit much but it fits with Lana's personality. I love that these two woman that mean so much to Clark still believe in him and have connected on that level. It was a small scene in the grand scheme of the issue but it is the one that has stuck with me the most. I like that Pak is teasing something with the people in Smallville that have fallen into that strange coma.

The scene with the controlled Lois and Corben was great but in a very different way. I have to admit that seeing Lois controlled like this and acting so out of character takes me back to the days when I was a teenager and was worried... actually worried when things like this happened to established characters. I also like that this scene gives the world Superman currently lives in a sense of continuity. I feel like this Corben is the same Corben we saw early in Morrison's run and then in the Villains Month issue from last fall. SUPERMAN: DOOMED seems to be trying to cement aspects of the New 52 Superman instead of just throwing concepts out there and having them either change or be ignored when a new creative team comes on the book.

The fight with Steel and Atomic Skull was interesting. I feel like I missed something when the Skull and Steel were talking, which is entirely possible as I am behind on the Pre-Doomed Superman books. The last place I remember seeing the Skull was in that Max Landis back up. Ultimately it doesn't really matter. While it does still feel like we are being told things about Superman rather than being shown I am getting a strong sense of continuity that hasn't been present since the New 52 began. If DOOMED does nothing else but establish the backstory and characters and then move forward with them than I will be just fine.

The ending of this issue was great as well. The death of Corben was handled perfectly and I like the fact that the supposed good guys did nothing but make the problem worse. It was also a great cliffhanger ending and made me excited to get the next chapter. All in all I have been happy with this storyline as a whole. There have been a few bumps in the road but so far ACTION COMICS is not one of them. I am hopeful that once this story is over with that Pak will stick around and write more stories of this caliber.

4Art - 4: I have liked Scott Kolins' artwork since his days on the FLASH. I was not disappointed or let down by his work on this issue. The action had a real energy to it and all of the characters, especially Wonder Woman, looked on model and more importantly looked good. Superman was a little off but to be fair he's turning into a monster so this sort of thing is to be expected. The fight had the end was amazing as was the final page. While I am slightly disappointed that Aaron Kuder was missing this time around because I have grown quite fond of his work Kolins was a great fill in and didn't miss a beat with the story.

4Cover Art - 4: This cover is fine. I like the composition and it is interesting to see Steel surrounded by Superman's enemies. Part of me would have preferred to see Superman but I see what they were going for here.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: I am not sure how I feel about these Bombshell covers. On one hand they seem a little unnecessary. On the other they are tasteful and more than a little fun. Supergirl looks great and while I won't be buying this myself I like it quite a bit.

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.

January 2014

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