Superman is one of my all time favorite comic book characters for a plethora of reasons. Regrettably, truly great Superman stories are few and far between, as it’s a shame that so few writers can get a good grasp on the Man of Steel. This month, after a long lead up, DC kicks off “Doomed,” a crossover event where Superman will battle Doomsday for the first time in the New 52…and not come away without consequences.
Given that Greg Pak and Charles Soule are two of the event’s key writers, this promises to be an epic extravaganza, and one that, we’re assured, is not just a rehash of “The Death of Superman.” It’s time to check out the start of this event, Superman: Doomed #1!
Superman: Doomed #1 focuses on the repercussions of Doomsday’s arrival. The monster, teleporting through the Phantom Zone, continues to emerge at various spots on the globe and wreak untold carnage. Superman, feeling partly responsible for this threat, confronts the monster, as all over the world cogs and portions of devious machinations come together. Can Superman defeat this creature? And, even if he does, is the end result worth it?
Ken Lashley covers the majority of artistic duties, aided by Sunny Gho (colors) and Carlos M. Mangual (letters). Overall, the team gives us a strong, coherent set of scenes. The fights are especially epic, and give you the kind of battle Superman should have in at least every few issues. Creative panel layout, combined with a color palette full of reds, purples, and grays, gives an otherworldly feel to the issue, and really fits the mystery of Doomsday. Nevertheless, some of the scenes, especially the non-battle related ones in Smallville, presented characters that looked half-finished and were off model more than once. Also, Lashley’s Superman looks great fighting…but not so much in repose, where his chest comes off as too large.
When it comes to the writing I must say, sadly, this comic is a great example of the old adage “too many cooks spoil the broth.” Separately, Scott Lobdell, Charles Soule, and Greg Pak can all consistently craft great stories. However, for this issue, we have all three men coordinating a single story. As a result, the flow of the issue felt choppy, and it was evident, at least to me, who wrote each section, with those by Pak clearly the best of all three, yet still constrained by what had come before. It seems each writer wanted to address plot threads established in his own title (Superman, Action Comics, and Supmerman/Wonder Woman), which resulted in a lot of seemingly extraneous events that probably do more to confuse new readers, or even readers who may not pick up all three.
Still, even though the writing has faults, Superman: Doomed #1 still sets us up for an intriguing crossover. I’m drawn into the story, and will be sticking around, at least for the near term. The interactions with the other DCU characters, particularly Lex Luthor, are quite well done. This issue does give us a solid portrayal of Superman, along with some great battle scenes. It is a fun issue, but really isn’t the best way to a start a long-teased and heavily-advertised crossover. “Doomed” has promise…but this issue isn’t the most solid kick off.
-great battle scenes
-interaction among Superman, the Justice League, and Lex Luthor
-intriguing story set-up
-multiple writers results in disrupted story flow
-issue tries to focus on too many plot threads, which makes it a poor jumping on point for new readers
-passive scenes of a noticeably poorer art quality
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He wants someone to draw a spoof of this fight with Super Grover vs. Cookie Monster.
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