What do you do on the day after Doomsday? If you're Superman, you begin having violent fantasies about being a monster, or tearing Lex Luthor apart. Disturbed by what he's feeling and hoping a rest will sort him out, Superman retreats to Alaska, where he's reunited with superdog Krypto.
But the dark feelings only escalate ...
Labelled Superman Doomed: Infected Part 1, this follows this week's Superman Doomed special, which really should have been tagged as Part 1. If you've not read it, pop over to my review for a recap, and thoughts.
Action Comics has been DC's strongest Superman title of late, and writer Greg Pak and artist Aaron Kuder continue the sterling work here. They give us a Superman who's as emotionally intelligent as he is strong, a man who realises that something's off with his super-self. While checking into Dr Shay Veritas' weird science lab for tests might be the obvious first step, he's a country boy at heart, and thinks he can shake whatever the problem is with a spot of camping Superman-style.
Pak's script shows how our hero has faith in Wonder Woman and Batman, trusting them to handle new League member Lex Luthor, and his possible infection by Doomsday, while he takes a break. For their part, Bruce and Diana have enough faith in Clark to let him go off alone in the first instance.
And Lana's friendship with Clark isn't in the least threatened as she sees him fly off with the Justice League (including a suddenly soaring Cyborg, courtesy of dinky fire wings).
Additional scenes show Steel moving to repair the damage done to him by his own run-in with Doomsday, as Senator Sam Lane tries to enlist him in his anti-Superman games; and Lois Lane and Lana Lang parting ways in Smallville.
The growing darkness in Superman, and his self-awareness, is expertly laid out, and smartly represented in Kuder's expressive art. Kuder's not alone in providing visuals - also producing pages are Rafa Sandaval, inked by Vicente Cifuentes, and Cameron Stewart, and all concerned produce cracking work. Highlights include a rather impressive John Henry, the mind-controlled and controlling Lois, the Alaskan scenery and a quite brilliant, chilling final image.
The only wrong turn in the entire issue is the Krypto scene; I really do not like the current Dog of Steel. For decades a lovable little pooch, he's now a big bugger, running with wolves rather than romping in space. He brings Superman a torn-off deer limb for supper, something his master - not obviously having a Doomsday virus moment - seems to find adorable. At least Krypto doesn't show the new fangs here.
Given how well Pak and Kuder did with sweet monster-boy Baka of late, I'd have expected them to take Krypto down a cuter path, rescue him from the horrors of New 52 'edginess' - work on that, huh, guys?
The colour art throughout by Wil Quintana, who also works with Kuder on the eye-catching cover, is first rate, while co-letterers Dezi Sienty and Taylor Esposito turn in sharp work.
Kudos, too, to the production elf who conceived and executed the attractive recap page, in the traditional Daily Planet style; it works very well.
So that's the second engaging chapter of this week's trio of Superman Doomed stories. Next up, Superman/Wonder Woman #8, reviewed on this blog too.