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Mild Mannered Reviews - Superman: Doomed

Superman: Doomed #2 Superman: Doomed #2

Superman: Doomed #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: September 24, 2014

Cover date: November 2014

"Last Sun" - Chapter 4: "Evolutions"

Writer: Greg Pak and Charles Soule
Penciller: Ken Lashley, Szymon Kudranski, Cory Smith, Dave Bullock, Jack Herbert, Ian Churchill, Aaron Kuder, Vicente Cifuentes and Norm Rapmund
Inker: Ken Lashley, Szymon Kudranski, Cory Smith, Dave Bullock, Jack Herbert, Ian Churchill, Aaron Kuder, Vicente Cifuentes and Norm Rapmund

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

As Batman, Martian Manhunter, Lois Lane and Lana Lang watch as the people of Smallville begin to die Superman, under the influence of the Doomsday Virus, makes his way towards Brainiac's mothership. With Lois' help Lana is able to make telepathic contact with Superman and she tells him to kill Brainiac. The main battle with Brainiac takes place in Superman's mindscape. The alien has a simple plan; get enough minds together so that he has the power to remake reality. He tempts Superman a number of times but the Man of Steel sees through them each time all the while his monstrous body tears through the ship. Lois arrives in Clark's mindscape and helps Superman fight Brainiac and even reveals the villain's origin. Finally the Doomsday Virus riddled Superman uses the last of his strength to push Brainiac through a dimensional rift. In short order people start waking up around the globe and Lois's powers disappear.

Brainiac falls through the dimensional rift and manages to reset himself. As his systems scan his surroundings Brainiac sees shards of other realities. A different Superman. An azure colored hero descending from a giant flying beetle. A stretchable hero with a man dressed as Uncle Sam. A vampire Batman. He asks the only question he can...what is this?

4Story - 4: That was an odd ending.

Not a bad ending, mind you. Just an odd one. The creators promised us something different than the original DOOMSDAY story and they delivered on that promise. While there was a lot of action in this final chapter (unless you count the aftermath issues we'll be getting in a few weeks) there was a lot of character and thought put into the story as well. I'd go so far as to say that it was a very cerebral wrap-up, which I appreciated quite a bit.

While there was a lot to like about this issue my favorite was the mental sparring between Superman and Brainiac. The different scenarios kept both Superman and me off balance and made for an engaging read. I like this sort of thing. The "what ifs," when done right, are usually entertaining and this story was a good example of that. More than anything I liked that this story emphasized how smart Superman is. Not "super" smart per se but intelligent enough to fight against Brainiac on the villain's own turf. It was a nice counterpoint to the "real" Superman, all roided out on the Doomsday Virus, tearing the ship apart.

I also like Brainiac's new origin. The idea that he wants to remake the world to get his family back is almost touching. Almost. He's still very much the bad guy and does some really evil things, especially when he is trying to manipulate Superman. I also dug the idea that if you harnessed enough minds you could remake reality. It gave this story a very cosmic, very existential feel.

There were other things to like about this story. Lana's desire to have Superman kill Brainiac was understandable and gave the writers a chance to talk about why Superman couldn't do that. He killed Doomsday in the first issue and as destructive as that monster was he still had some regret. Enough regret to sacrifice his own life to save the world. Obviously that isn't going to happen but he didn't know what. This gave the story an added bit of depth and made it feel like more than a summer blockbuster comic book.

Then there was the last page. This is the sort of tease that launches a thousand internet discussions. What does this mean? Is DC bringing back the Pre-Crisis DC multiverse? Will Superman go back to his more traditional costume? What is up with the old school Justice Society? I could probably sit here all day and engage in speculation but for the moment I am going to view it as a tease for next April and move on. I liked that it was there and it definitely caught my interest but I have a hard time believing that DC would turn back the clock and get rid of the New 52. I mean I could be wrong but I don't think I am.

So all that is left is the aftermath. I can honestly say that while some of the chapters felt unnecessary DOOMED was an enjoyable crossover and got to the heart of who Superman is as a hero and a character for the first time since the New 52 began. The writers did a fantastic job of keeping the story moving while not sacrificing character. There was action. There was drama. There was even some fun to be had. If we get more of this in the months and years to come Superman will be back on track to having a consistently well told, well drawn comic month after month.

4Art - 4: There were a lot of chefs in the kitchen this time out but the final product didn't suffer for it. While everyone had their own distinctive style it was just similar enough to never be jarring or off putting. The mindscape scenes were very interesting visually and I liked that all of the scenarios looked slightly different. This one must have been tough to pull off because the idea of what Brainiac has planned it strange. I commend the artists for pulling this off and for giving us a visually exciting and engaging ending. I also loved the final page. It was great to see the classic versions of the DC heroes.

4Cover Art - 4: This is a great cover. I like how Superman looks and the image of Brainiac behind him is kind of creepy. This is probably my favorite cover of the entire story.

5Variant Cover Art - 5: This one was a lot of fun. I liked that they brought Jurgens back for a variant and Rapmund is a good inker for him. While this scene does not appear in the book I'd like to have the cover just the same.

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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