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Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics

Action Comics #34 Action Comics #34

Action Comics #34

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 6, 2014

Cover date: October 2014

Superman Doomed: Last Sun - Chapter One: "Assimilation"

Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Aaron Kuder and Scott Kolins
Inker: Aaron Kuder and Scott Kolins

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Red Hood and the Outlaws are busy saving civilians in Gotham when Batman contacts his former protg to tell him that he needs to get the people underground. His warnings come too late as Brainiac's ship takes control of Red Hood, Arsenal and everyone else in the area. In the Fortress of Solitude Batman, Lex Luthor, Dr. Veritas, Ghost Soldier and Harrow argue about who they need to go after first; the Phantom King or Brainiac? The situation is made trickier by Brainiac taking over more people all over the world. Soon the most powerful minds on Earth, including Lex Luthor, are under suddenly Brainaic's control. Batman pleads with Superman to get out of Brainiac's range and fast.

Superman would do that but his friends are in trouble. He saves Baka first but soon Baka is also under Brainiac's thrall. Superman takes him to Lois who doesn't believe she is powerful enough to help but knows that Batman and crew will get this figured out. She telepathically contacts Martian Manhunter and they realize that while Brainiac has control of a whole bunch of people he isn't killing them which means he needs them alive. Superman has Krypto watch over Baka and the rest of Metropolis while Lois has John Corben do the same. When John asks what Lois is going to do she replies that she and Superman are going to save the world.

Lois and Superman head to the Fortress where they watch Cyborg reel Lana Lang and Steel into the Justice League Satellite. They take stock of who has escaped assimilation when Wonder Woman arrives. She is happy to see Lois and happier to see Superman. Lana is certain that Brainiac is networking everyone's brains for processing power and while they want to go smash the mothership Lois isn't sure what that would do to the seven billion people in the network. All eyes go to Superman who has an idea. While Harrow and the Ghost Soldiers provide a distraction Superman flies as close to the sun as he can get and unleashes a powerful blast of heat vision. This sets into motion Batman and Veritas opening a giant Phantom Zone portal.

Unfortunately the Ghost Soldiers are taken over by Brainiac, the Justice League Satellite is blown open, the Phantom Zone portal is closed and the Mothership is about to crash into the Earth. With Lois' encouragement Superman and Martian Manhunter are able to save the Earth but the Fortress collapses on Batman, Lois and the others. Worse Non and Mongul have escaped from the Phantom Zone and their objective is clear...they are going to murder this filthy world.

4Story - 4: That...that was awesome.

I haven't been that excited after reading a Superman comic in a long time. In all honesty the last time I got this much of a charge was during the whole REIGN OF THE DOOMSDAYS thing, so it's kind of weird that the next story to get me going after that also involves Doomsday.

I'm trying to find a way to write this review without repeating everything I have been saying about this story since it started. When they first announced DOOMED I was open to the story but I had no idea I would end up enjoying it as much as I have. I like that the creators involved decided to play with us readers by making us think the main thrust of this story was going to deal with Superman falling victim to the Doomsday Virus. He did and it was interesting to see that play out but now we have Brainiac and Mongul and Non and the Phantom King and seven billion people under alien control and it's all so freaking good.

So I want to write how it's great to see people believe in Superman again after an attempt on the part of several writers to cast Superman into a Spider-Man like role where some people trust him and others seem to fear him. I could go on about how it was great to see Krypto and Baka in this issue and how neat it is that Krypto was left to look over Baka and the people of Metropolis. I could certain write a good bit of copy about how much I am loving Lois Lane in this story but I have gone over that sort of ground before. I don't want to repeat myself...much.

There were two moments in this issue that stood out for me. The first was when everyone in the room, including a certain Dark Knight, fell silent and deferred to Superman. This makes up for involving Batman in the first place. I am not one of those people that is all hung up on Batman being the most popular DC character these days because doing so would be like arguing with the wind; it's going to happen, I can't do anything to stop it so I'll just sit back and wait for things to cycle back the other way. Despite having that zen like approach to the Dark Knight's current success it was getting annoying seeing him involved in big Superman stories. Here, for the first time in a long time, everyone looked to Superman, which only makes sense considering it is his story.

The second moment was Superman and Wonder Woman reuniting. This was one of the most honest scenes between these two characters that I have seen since they started dating. Wonder Woman comes in and the first thing she does is hug Lois. No fighting. No bickering. Diana simply accepts what happened and is happy that Lois is okay. Then she and Superman embrace and there was this great panel where Lois watches and doesn't seem all that happy about the kiss. It was subtle and Pak doesn't call a whole lot of attention to it but it was there. I don't know if it was just a throwaway moment or the start of something bigger but I liked that it happened. I also don't know who I want Superman to be with at this point. I have always been a fan of him and Lois getting together but I also believe that because Lois is human and will grow old and die while Superman will either stay young forever or grow old at a slower rate so he'll probably end up with Wonder Woman anyway. So if it does become a thing I'm not sure how I want to see it go down.

Because of those moments and so many others this was a great chapter in the DOOMED storyline. The stakes are high. The villains are tough. The outcome is unclear.

In a way it reminds me of the REIGN OF THE SUPERMEN. In a good way.

4Art - 4: Kuder and Kolins make for a great pairing artistically. While the story and the dialogue were a big part of why I liked this issue so much I can't say enough good things about the art. Sure Martian Manhunter looked a bit wonky at the end but to be fair he had burned up in the atmosphere so that sort of thing is to be expected. Lois looked great. Krypto looked great. Mongul and Non looked great and Superman looked great. The action was balanced with some nice character moments like that Lois Lane watching Superman and Wonder Woman thing I was banging on about in the story section. This story has been a lot of fun and both Aaron Kuder and Scott Kolins have played a large part in making it that way.

3Cover Art - 3: Once again we have a small Superman on the cover surrounded by a background that threatens to overwhelm him. I don't hate this cover and it gets the point across but for such a big story I expected a little more from the cover.

Also this cover is a dirty lie, but having Superman look like his old self might have ruined the story for some people.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: This variant was cute. It's Superman helping a cat out of a tree with a giant smile on his face. My only hope is that when Superman returned the cat to his or her owner that the parent of said owner didn't accuse the kid of lying and slap them.

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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