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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman: Doomed

Superman: Doomed #1 Superman: Doomed #1

Superman: Doomed #1

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 14, 2014

Cover date: July 2014

"Superman: Doomed"

Writer: Scott Lobdell, Greg Pak and Charles Soule
Penciller: Ken Lashley
Inker: Ken Lashley

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

A squadron of fighter jets engage Doomsday on the Honeymoon Island in the Bahamas with disastrous results. Superman arrives but not in time to save all of the pilots. The Man of Steel tries to convince the military to retreat but they refuse. He examines the island and finds thousands dead. Later he meets with Dr. Shay Veritas in the Fortress of Solitude. She reveals that the Doomsday Superman faced before was in a larval state and the creature he faces now is much more powerful. Superman asks if Doomsday is alive which leads to a conversation about whether or not Superman should kill the creature. Veritas insists that he can't worry about anything else until Doomsday is dead.

Meanwhile Lana Lang sneaks into a quarantined Smallville thanks to Lois Lane. In Metropolis Clark Kent seeks advice from Perry White. Back in Smallville Lana tries to contact Clark but he tells her that while he is sorry he can't be there right now. Around the world in Botswana a crew shooting a nature documentary run afoul of Doomsday. In "nearby" Zambia John Henry Irons is visiting his niece when Doomsday reaches them. Irons puts on his Steel armor and engages Doomsday in battle but things go poorly for him. Wonder Woman arrives and takes Doomsday on but the monster manages to spray her with poison. Superman is next on the scene but just as he and Wonder Woman prepare to really bring the fight to Doomsday the monster disappears.

The two heroes join the rest of the Justice League in the emergency bunker under Washington DC. There they go over the damage the creature has caused before Lex Luthor arrives and explains that Doomsday is drawing in energy and growing thanks to that sustenance. Lex suggests that since Superman is the most obvious target he should leave the planet and Doomsday will follow. The League doesn't take kindly to this news but Superman agrees with Lex. He says his goodbyes to Batman and Wonder Woman before leaving the bunker.

Superman finds Doomsday in India and the two begin to fight. The battle is awe inspiring as Superman takes the fight off planet and to the planet Venus. Using every bit of strength and energy he has Superman blasts Doomsday with his heat vision and believes he has put the monster down. Superman heads back to Smallville but Doomsday follows him. The battle begins anew but it is short lived as Superman tears Doomsday in half. Injured and exhausted Superman slumps to his knees and collapses.

4Story - 4: The first thing I am going to do in this review is something that I really shouldn't.

I am going to compare this special to the original DOOMSDAY storyline.

This is grossly unfair. That story, which went down way back in 1992 for the five of you that didn't know that, was truly special. The six issues (seven counting the JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA crossover) that made up DOOMSDAY were some of the most action packed and harrowing Superman comics ever. As the story progressed the number of panels per page went down to the point that the historic SUPERMAN #75 was composed primarily of giant splash pages. It was an amazing ride. An epic ride. It was the opening salvo to a saga that would span nearly a year and reshape Superman for the nineties. At the end of SUPERMAN #75 Superman was dead and in ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #498 the question was raised; what now? The answer was an emotional story that touched on every element of Superman's world to the point that as exciting as DOOMSDAY was it was just the intro to a much deeper story.

And that's where my comparison between the 1992 DOOMSDAY storyline and SUPERMAN: DOOMED comes in. Like the origin Superman and Doomsday had themselves a bit of a throw-down. It was also just the opening chapter of a story that looks to examine who Superman is in the New 52 and what makes him an interesting and engaging character.

On that level, I liked this special very much.

It wasn't perfect. It didn't fill me with the same sense of excitement as the original but to be fair I was more emotionally involved with that version of Superman. I was, however, entertained and engaged, which is how I want to be as a reader of anything but especially of Superman comics. This issue had a great build up and release thing going on. I liked seeing Superman try to convince the military that they should retreat. I liked Clark's conversation with Perry White. I liked Lana and her tenacity. I really enjoyed watching Superman interact with the League. This was a highlight for me because while Superman was part of the League in the original DOOMSDAY story it wasn't the heavy hitters. Sure I liked them but there is something cool about Superman conferring with Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman and Green Lantern about the threat they face. Sure it was annoying to see Lex stick his nose into things but that provided a good bit of drama to the scene. Seeing Superman say good-bye to Batman and Wonder Woman did me a lot of good. It's great to see Superman and Batman getting along and not being adversarial.

The fight with Doomsday was epic. It was interesting to see the battle go from India all the way to the planet Venus and then to Smallville. For such a short fight the creators managed to pack a lot of character into Superman. I loved that he was concerned with his friends and those he loved and it was so dramatic to see Doomsday show up in Smallville. It was equally dramatic to see Superman rip him in half and then collapse. All of the emotional build-up from the first part of this special paid off nicely at the end and the creators gave us a perfect cliffhanger.

While I still have my reservations about this storyline based on Superman's record in the New 52 this first chapter was great and had me wanting to read more. It may not be the original version of Doomsday but then again I wouldn't want it to be. The Superman crew is exploring a new version of Doomsday and what drives Superman to be the hero he is.

At the end of the original DOOMSDAY story we were left asking what now? Over twenty years later we're faced with a similar situation and left with the same question.

Now that Superman has defeated Doomsday what happens now?

I look forward to finding out.

5Art - 5: I loved the art in this special. Ken Lashley draws a fantastic New 52 Superman and the action in this issue was amazing. The fights with Doomsday were huge and Lashley never let up. Seeing Superman rip Doomsday in half made for a fantastic visual and really drove home the point that this version of the Superman/Doomsday fight will be different. Not better. Not worse. Just different. Ken also did a great job drawing the League, especially Batman and Wonder Woman. I have absolutely no complaints about the art and think Lashley knocked this one out of the park.

5Cover Art - 5: This is the perfect cover for this special. It tells you everything you need to know about what you are going to find inside; Doomsday is here and he's a threat. This was a great way to kick off this event.

3Variant Cover Art - 3: This cover was the exact opposite of the main one. It's not that the art is bad. It's not. I just don't think it is very exciting. I am glad this is a variant cover.

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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