Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Action Comics #31

[Infected]: Chapter 1 "True Believers"

Story Greg Pak
Pencils Aaron Kuder, Rafa Sandoval & Cameron Stewart
Inks Kuder, Vicente Cifuentes, & Cameron Stewart
Colors Wil Quintana
Letters Dezi Sienty & Taylor Esposito
Cover Aaron Kuder and Will Quintana
Assistant Editor Anthony Marques
Group Editor Eddie Berganza
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Jose Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.
Doomsday created by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonsson and Roger Stern.

Now that we're properly in the Superman: Doomed storyline, we've entered an awkward phase where DC simply can't decide what to name each issue. The result is an awkward hodgepodge of brackets, colons and quotation marks. But I suspect very few people are as bothered by this as I am. But I might be able to find a few more people who are also bothered, or at least unimpressed by this cover. I get the symbolism Kuder's going for, but it's just not working — mainly because Doomsday's head is so ridiculously small.

The first page of this issue is a rather clever recap of the previous issue dressed up as the Daily Planet's website. There's a story by Lois Lane, a photo by Jimmy Olsen (although I'm pretty sure he wasn't in Smallville in Superman killed Doomsday), and some fun ads for Cadmus and Big Belly Burger with Turtle Boy toys.

Our story begins right where we left off with Superman in Smallville, a bit disoriented after killing Doomsday. Wonder Woman is first on the scene, followed closely by Flash, Lex Luthor, Cyborg, and for some strange reason, Martian Manhunter (I guess no one told Greg Pak that he's not a member of the Justice League).

Luthor tells Superman that he wants to quarantine him to determine whether he poses a threat after being poisoned by Doomsday. Superman then violently attacks Luthor, but soon realizes he just imagined it. Wonder Woman whispers to Superman that Luthor can't be trusted, and she tells him to go. So Superman takes off, confiding to Batman via radio that something is off.

Superman heads up to Alaska to chill out with Krypto. But then some poachers show up in an airplane, and Superman rather violently destroys their plane. At first, he thinks he imagined this, just like with Luthor earlier, but he realizes he actually did it this time. Luckily, he didn't kill the poachers.

We then see that Steel has covered himself in liquid, organic steel to keep him alive until he finds an antidote for Doomsday's poison. He's then approached by Senator Lane, who has evidence that Superman may have inhaled Doomsday's remains. And we get some more subplot with Lois Lane and Lana Lang that I really don't care about.

We cut back to Superman, who has suddenly become locked out of his Fortress of Solitude. As he pounds on the door, he notices his hand is beginning to look like Doomsday's. When Krypto starts growling at him, he realizes he should be terrified that he's becoming a monster. But he surprisingly doesn't care, and returns to Metropolis as Clark Kent.

The Good:

Epic story. This is still a big, fun and important event. As I said previously, I was a little sad that Doomsday was killed so quickly, but that's not what this story is. The story here is Superman turning into Doomsday, which is quite an interesting prospect. And even more shocking here is how Superman is not only unfazed by this transformation, but even seems to be embracing it. All in all, this isn't a bad comic. Even though it had three different pencillers, the art didn't seem to suffer too much.

The Bad:

Little to no Flash. He didn't say a single word and just kind of hung out in the background, ultimately failing to do anything worthwhile. I don't know what I would have liked to see him do in this issue, but those looking for a good Flash story can easily skip this issue and not miss much.

Final score: 5 out of 10.

Next time, we'll skip ahead toward the end of Superman: Doomed with Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1.

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