You’re reading this because you love comics. You love Superman. You already know the characters here and you know the story of when the Man of Steel first met Doomsday.
Now, if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering where DC Comics’ New 52 is going to take this story. What path are they going to take these characters down? Is this a reboot or a re-telling? I’ll be honest: either way, I was picking up this comic. The original story from over twenty years ago (yup, two decades ago) introduced the world to the Doomsday monster and told a tale so powerful and unexpected that it changed Superman forever. Regardless of how you feel about the original, it was truly monumental. I’ve read it more than a few times. I own the trade. I lend it to friends. It’s that iconic. So, as I opened Superman: Doomed #1 (One Shot), I really didn’t care what I got– old story updated or new story altogether– I was already invested.
The teasers and covers of the title were soooooo good. I mean, just look at Doomsday (pictured above)– he’s a pumped up, hulking, boney monolith of anger and destruction! I thought Doomsday was bad-ass (and pretty f*ckin’ terrifying) before, but this new incarnation is downright over-saturated in every way possible. More muscles, more teeth, more bones, and more fire under his ass (quite literally, actually) that the only real question here is why? And that was my prompt for buying the book.
So, I’ll make it easier for those on the fence: this is not a re-hash of tale from 1992. This is a new story. Superman and Doomsday (in some form) have already met, already fought, and already know the stakes the minute the two are in vicinity of one another again. This alone is a great sign. We, the readers, are not bogged down in origin story; we’re immediately brought in to a no-holds-barred scenario and the story continues from there. And it’s good.
The story (by Lobdell, Pak, and Soule) is pretty wild and fast-paced. We jump right into Doomsday’s reintroduction right from the get-go and it just picks up speed from there. This stand-alone issue is chock full of cameos: Wonder Woman (who is particularly kick ass), Green Lantern (who is unfortunately off-world), Lex Luthor (who is significantly– and all-too-convenient-for-the-story– Luthor-esque), and Lois Lane (who is morbidly confusing to me– you’ll get a better idea of what I mean when you pick up the book). But the obvious star of this Superman tale is none other than the villain, and Doomsday is the ultimate antagonist, literally teasing our alien boy scout around the globe until the monster finally attacks with ultimate severity and poisonous gusto.
I really liked the way the artist (Lashley) drew Doomsday. I’ll admit it, the character was the major draw here (duh!) so I actually poured over each picture of the beast within this mini-trade. Again: it’s the teeth, the bones, the massiveness, the ferocity– it’s all very intimidating and wonderfully compelling. I already know what danger this creature poses to Superman before I see this hulking chump, but here he is just alarmingly scary! However, it was the rest of the art I found a bit lacking. Don’t get me wrong, a nice shot of a wickedly pissed-off Wonder Woman charging into battle or the penultimate pic of Supes slamming a monstrous uppercut into the gray beast really wowed me, but there were other moments– mostly exposition frames– where the effort didn’t seem to keep pace with the rest of the book. Facial irregularities just annoyed me and while I know it’s a comic, I have to admit that it’s those little things that pull me out of a reading from time to time. I mean, when you’re reading a novel you can say that a certain chapter sucked because the writing slogged or the characters didn’t seem to make sense within the rest of the tale. Well, that’s based on the word; the art of the medium. In a comic, art is literally part of the medium. And when it detracts from the overall feel of the piece, I feel obligated to mention it.
Another point I want to make on the art is that I felt that the framework was jarring, mostly in the fight scenes. I get it, sh*t is getting seriously f*cked up, but when I can’t easily follow the progression of said f*ckeduppedness… well, then there’s a problem. Especially when those moments are pretty integral to the story! The finale to this epic battle is pretty stellar, but the art– on a two page spread– was messy and honestly left me wanting, even though I thought the action of the piece was killer!
Regardless, I’m not totally knocking this book. I really, REALLY liked it. I liked where it went and I already know I’m going to like where it’s going. (While this is technically a stand alone tale, the story continues in other titles.) Together, this team made Superman: Doomed something to admire, especially when they could have easily slipped into silly repeats and money-grubbing cliches. I was already a fan, but I didn’t need to be. If you haven’t picked up this title, go to the store or flip open another tab in your browser and purchase this comic.
It really is quite super.
Rating – 8.5/10