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Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics

Action Comics Annual #3

Action Comics Annual #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 6, 2014

Cover date: September 2014

Superman Doomed: Last Sun - Chapter Four: "My Body is a Cage"

Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Ken Lashley, Aaron Kuder, Jack Herbert, Cliff Richards, Julius Gopez, Will Conrad and Pascal Alixe
Inker: Ken Lashley, Aaron Kuder, Vicente Cifuente, Cliff Richards, Will Conrad and Pascal Alixe

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

As Lois Lane fights to get free of Brainiac's control Brainiac welcomes his invading fleet. The fleet attacks and decimates its targets. Meanwhile Batman meets with Lex Luthor, Ghost Soldier, Harrow and Dr. Veritas in the Fortress of Solitude. They go over what they already know about Brainiac and his plans. Ghost Soldier is sure of one thing; Superman is going to come back to Earth despite being infected with the Doomsday Virus. Superman does return but his presence causes more problems than it solves. Batman begs him to stay away while Lex just wants to kill the former Man of Steel.

Batman's plan is to remove all of the Kryptonite from Earth's atmosphere and the key to this is Dr. Xa-Du, the Phantom King. Xa-Du is less than cooperative and Harrow does her best to contain him. In Sao Paulo Superman arrives in time to help Martian Manhunter but his help is unwelcome. J'onn manages to momentarily suppress the Doomsday Virus but it proves too strong. Ghost Soldier arrives with Baka who becomes a monster once again to stay with Superman as the virus begins to take hold. Despite this Superman manages to stay in control and fight Brainaic's forces.

Brainiac and Luthor continue their search for a way to remove the Kryptonite from the atmosphere as Superman and Baka attack Brainiac's main ship in Metropolis. With Superman's help Lois is able to break free of Brainiac's control and in turn helps Superman by telling him that he's not alone. Batman, Lex, Harrow and Veritas succeed in removing all of the Kryptonite from the atmosphere which frees Superman of Doomsday's influence. Superman and crew take down the ship but it turns out that Brainiac has another plan. Lex informs Batman that if he knows anything about villains it's that they always have a back-up plan. That plan turns out to be a massive ship that dwarfs the Earth coming out of a dimensional rift. The battle is far from over.

4Story - 4: This was a very solid chapter in the DOOMED storyline. I had one minor problem but overall I liked what I read here. It hit all the right beats, had some great moments for Lois Lane and even though it was telling the same story from a different perspective as another annual I didn't feel like I absolutely had to read it for this story to make sense.

Minor quibble first; I remain a tad annoyed that once again we have a big Superman story and Batman is involved. On one hand I like the fact that they are friends again and I think that all parties involved have made that friendship work. On the other hand Batman is in a bunch of titles these days. It would have been nice to let Superman have the spotlight here.

This was made up for by Lois' end of the story. This has been one of the sub-plots that I have been interested in the most, mainly because of Lois' position in the Superman universe and to see her under control and speaking out against the Man of Steel made for a nice wrinkle. To see Lois break free of Brainiac's control tells me that Greg Pak has as good a handle on Lois as a character as he does with Lana. While the two are not romantically involved it was nice to have them share not only a scene but a pivotal scene for the story as a whole. To be fair things kind of went to hell there at the end but that was to be expected. Before that we got to see Lois say that she believes in Superman and to me that is very important.

Watching Superman struggle with the monster within was great as well. I loved seeing him free of Doomsday's control towards the end of the story. What made this even better was the inclusion of Baka. I really grew to like the little guy during Pak's first story so seeing him again did my heart good. That actually brings up one of the better aspects of the DOOMED storyline; Superman is not only surrounded by his friends and allies and even some of his enemies he also feels like the more traditional Superman. I know we are still hip deep in The New 52 but it seems like Pak is riding the line between staying contemporary while keeping what has made Superman popular for the past seven and a half decades. He's a hero that wants to save the day no matter the personal cost.

If nothing else DOOMED has brought that idea back to the Superman titles and because of that I am willing to overlook the inclusion of Batman and Lex Luthor into the story.

Even though it bugs me. A lot.

3Art - 3: My only issue with the art in this annual is the fact that the differing styles made for a disjointed read. I've been rather spoiled lately because the vast majority of stories where there was more than one artist had styles that complimented each other. That wasn't the case here. It doesn't ruin the annual but it doesn't really help. I didn't care for the scenes with Red Hood and the Outlaws at all but this is more than made up for with Aaron Kuder's solid artwork. It would have been nice to have a group of artists that meshed better but we didn't get that.

Again, not a deal breaker but still kind of annoying.

5Cover Art - 5: Wait...only one cover?

I don't know what to do. Shouldn't there be a theme cover or a black and white variant or something?

Oh well...guess not.

This is a very effective cover. The coloring and effects are neat and the Doomsday-ified Superman looks really imposing. It's simple and direct. And I like it.

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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