Sunday, April 12, 2015

Superman: Doomed #1

Story Scott Lobdell, Greg Pak and Charles Soule
Art Ken Lashley
Colors Sunny Gho
Letters Carlos M. Mangual
Cover Ken Lashley and Alex Sinclair, after Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding
Assistant Editor Anthony Marques
Group Editor Eddie Berganza
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.
Doomsday created by Dan Jurgens, Brett Breeding, Jerry Ordway, Louise Simonsson and Roger Stern.

The cover is loosely based off an old Superman Doomsday collection, and I have to say this is a major improvement. It's been more than 20 years since the world was introduced to Doomsday, and he was long overdue for a redesign. This New 52 version looks pretty cool and creepy. Plus, it helps that Ken Lashley's art is simply beautiful.

Our story begins in the Bahamas, where Doomsday is destroying a small island by simply standing on it. Everything and everyone in close proximity to the monster burns up and dies instantly. The government sends a couple of fighter jets out to deal with him, but the planes fall apart when they get too close. Luckily, Superman is there to save the pilots. But one of them was poisoned and turns a sickly purple. Superman flies back to the island, only to find Doomsday has disappeared.

Superman goes to the Fortress of Solitude to work with Dr. Shay Veritas. Apparently the last time Doomsday appeared was through a rift in the Phantom Zone, meaning he is likely using the zone to teleport around the world. Dr. Veritas points out that Doomsday was only in its larval stage when he last battled Superman, and now that he's matured, Superman is the only person on Earth who can survive 10 minutes of direct contact with the monster.

Superman struggles with the prospect of having to kill Doomsday for a while, and has a heart-to-heart talk with Perry White as Clark Kent. And we get some subplot stuff with Lois Lane and Lana Lang in Smallville, but I don't think that's too important for our Flash purposes. So let's skip ahead to Doomsday's next appearance in Zambia, which is where the globe-trotting hero Steel happens to be. Steel directly engages Doomsday in battle, but is quickly poisoned. His suit keeps him alive, but he is seriously wounded and sidelined. Luckily, Wonder Woman shows up just then to fight the monster. She is also poisoned, though not as badly as Steel. She fights the beast for a while until Superman shows up. But at the sight of the Man of Steel, Doomsday promptly teleports away.

Superman and Wonder Woman then head to the emergency Justice League bunker in Washington, D.C. (Apparently they're still not ready to move into Lex Luthor's satellite.) Batman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash is present, and even Hal Jordan makes an appearance via hologram. However, Hal says he's fart too busy with the Green Lanterns to return to Earth. Superman then requests that all the heroes stay away from Doomsday and focus their efforts on assisting the areas where the monster has already been. Luthor then shows up unannounced via hologram, much to the displeasure of the League.

Luthor says that Doomsday isn't just killing everything, but that it's actually absorbing all life around him, growing stronger with each thing it kills. Luthor speculates that the monster's ultimate goal is Superman, but it feels it isn't ready to kill him yet, so it's been avoiding the Man of Steel. Luthor says if Superman leaves Earth, then maybe Doomsday would leave, too. Flash calls that "maybe" weak sauce, and Wonder Woman in particular is quite upset with that proposal. But Superman actually agrees with Luthor on this, saying he'll leave Earth and take Doomsday away with him.

So Superman says goodbye to Batman and Wonder Woman, then finds Doomsday in India. He punches the monster up into space, flies up, grabs it, and directs it toward Venus. The two fight for a while, before Superman subdues it with a big blast of heat vision. He then returns to Smallville, beaten up and poisoned, only to have Doomsday teleport right on top of him. They fight some more, until Superman finally kills Doomsday by ripping it in half. But Superman is left severely wounded and turning purple.

The Good: 

Epic story. This is a great beginning to a big crossover event. The stakes are high, the action is great and the character development is nice. Making Doomsday poisonous is a great idea that gives him a whole new dimension of dangerous. I was a little sad that Doomsday was killed in this issue, but that's not the story that's being told. Doomsday's death was only the prelude to this big adventure.

Great art. I've never paid attention to Ken Lashley before, but this issue definitely put him on my radar. He has a very strong, dynamic style that perfectly fits this story. It will be sad to continue through this crossover without him, but in the future, I'm going to have to keep my eye out for any Lashley projects.

The Bad:

Little to no Flash. His big moment here was calling Luthor's plan "weak sauce." That's not enough for me. I know this is Superman's tale, but it would have been nice to see the Justice League actually get out of that war room and help some people. Flash especially could have been pulling people out of the way of Doomsday's path.

Final score: 6 out of 10

Next time: The beginning of the end ... [Infected] starts in Action Comics #31.

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