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Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics

Action Comics #33 Action Comics #33

Action Comics #33

Scheduled to arrive in stores: July 2, 2014

Cover date: September 2014

Superman Doomed: Superdoom - Chapter One: "Unbound"

Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Aaron Kuder
Inker: Aaron Kuder

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Lana Lang and Steel load up weapons and equipment into one of Steel's ships. Their mission is simple; track down whatever is drawing signals from the brains of the comatose people of Smallville. They run into a little trouble from government drones but manage to evade them much to Lana's enjoyment. Meanwhile Superman is having a real identity problem. He feels the Doomsday virus' effects getting stronger and his cousin Supergirl, now a Red Lantern, is no help in fighting off the darker urges the virus is bringing to the surface.

Supergirl brings him to the planet Char where a being known as Harak is busy destroying the place. Superman helps the remaining survivors escape and Harak attacks him. Their fight endangers the fleet of escape vessels which upsets Harak despite him destroying their planet. Superman uses his new abilities to save the survivors and then best Harak as Doomsday's influence increases.

Elsewhere Lana and Steel discover that the signals that caused the citizens of Smallville to fall into a coma are headed towards Metropolis. Lana tries to contact Lois but discovers that Lois is in on the plot. What's worse is that the ship is about to come under attack from a cyborg that looks like Superman.

4Story - 4: As usual there was a lot to like about this issue, which is saying a lot because that not only means that Greg Pak is delivering a fantastic run on this title but that he is also keeping the SUPERMAN: DOOMED event going in fine style. It has been a while since I was this engaged in the Superman titles. The fact that I am looking forward to the next chapter and can't wait to read it says a lot about how engaging DOOMED is and what a great job the creators are doing.

The Lana/Steel scenes at the beginning and end of the issue were great. Lana has become the breakout character in Pak's run and her dynamic with Steel is a lot of fun. There's a flirtatious quality to their back and forth at the beginning that rides the fine line between being cute and being overt. The thrill Lana gets out of taking off into space and evading the drones was endearing and made me like her even more. Their scene at the end was equally as good and I liked how Pak played Lana finding out about Lois just as the Cyborg Superman appears outside of their window. It was two reveals right on top of each other and Pak did a great job with both.

Supergirl's presence in the issue was great as well. I like how she goads her cousin into getting in touch with his angry side but not knowing what that really means for Superman. That inner conflict was more interesting than the fight between the Doomsday-ified Superman and Harak. Harak was more of a means to an end than anything else. The real conflict was internal and the back and forth Pak wrote for that was my favorite part of this issue. It's almost heart breaking when he finally succumbs at the end of the issue and this is why I am enjoying SUPERMAN: DOOMED so much. Each of the writers is taking the time to explore what the Doomsday virus is doing to Superman. They are starting from the position that Superman is the greatest hero on the planet and showing what happens when that hero becomes compromised. It's dramatic and engaging and makes for a fantastic read.

If I had one complaint it would be that there is now a chance of too many elements being introduced into the story. Not only do we have a Superman fighting for his soul but something going on in Kansas and that something has now spread to Metropolis and Lois is involved in that and now Cyborg Superman is back. I am confident that the writers are going to draw these plot lines together and make it all work but I have to admit that given the last two Superman crossovers I am a bit concerned. Then again I am pretty jazzed that we are getting more than one plot thread so maybe I should enjoy the story more and worry less.

Overall SUPERMAN: DOOMED has been a real joy to read and this chapter was especially good. Pak has a great handle on all the players and is making sure the action and the characterization are given equal time. As a fan of the original Doomsday story this is a worthy update.

4Art - 4: Aaron Kuder's artwork remains a consistent joy month after month. Again, I wasn't all that hot on his work at first but he's really come into his own and is a great compliment to Pak's writing though I could also say that Pak's writing is a great compliment to Kuder's art. The street goes both ways on that one. His version of the Doomsday-ified Superman is monstrous on just about every level and is kind of scary. The scenes in space had a real science fiction feel to them, which makes sense considering the "Middle Earth" fantasy settings from a few issues back felt authentic to that genre as well. I also loved his Red Lantern Supergirl. The sheer look of joy on her face while terrible things were happening and being discussed sold that character to me. I know it may be a lot to ask for in this day and age but I hope that Pak and Kuder remain a team on this book for some time.

2Cover Art - 2: I am not a fan of this cover. Again, it's not terrible but the figures are too small and too much of the cover is taken up with the exploding planets. While you can make out the shapes the colors just overwhelm the image. I want to see more of the Doomsday-ified Superman fighting Harak.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: I have never been the biggest fan of Kevin Nowlan's work but this cover is really nice. We get the classic Superman (red trunks and everything) alongside an early in his career Batman. The bat symbol is a little weird but the rest of the image more than makes up for that.

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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