Superman Doomed #1 review

I was there when Doomsday killed Superman.

I was bored. Thump. Bash. Wham.  A lot of splash pages and a lot of bruises and blood. Not a great story - the great story came in between the dull Death of Superman and the rather rubbish Resurrection. It featured the four claimants to the Superman name and was really rather special.

So a big crossover featuring the New 52 version of the Kryptonian battle beast was never going to be an exciting prospect. As with the original story, he seems to have been on his way to a massive fight with Superman for ages, popping up in the various Superman titles, snarling and killing with all the dark charisma of a wet kipper.

Well, he finally meets Superman in this issue and it's really rather good. Yes, the actually fight scenes aren't massively engaging because Doomsday is a mute brute, but everything around it is compelling.

The story, written by all three main Man of Steel writers, Greg Pak, Scott Lobdell and Charles Soule, continues from last month's Superman, which saw a holiday island destroyed by Doomsday, and the people of Smallville cast into mysterious comas. Here Superman sees the aftermath of Doomsday's rampage, which has killed thousands. He consults scientist pal Dr Shay Veritas, who advises that the only way to stop the beast is to kill it. This sits badly with Superman, who changes to Clark Kent to seek advice from Daily Planet editor Perry White. Of course, he can't give Perry precise details of his dilemma, but he manages to get something out of a terribly vague conversation.

In Smallville, Lana Lang and Lois Lane meet for the first time. Lana wants to check on her parents, Lois wants the scoop on the mass sleep ... at least, that's what she makes out. She's actually in thrall to evil space alien Brainiac, reporting back to him. It seems he may be behind events in the Kansas town.

Teleporting around the world. Doomsday shows up in Zambia, absorbing the life energy of millions of animals. Elsewhere on the African continent, John Henry Irons - aka Steel, one of the aforementioned heirs to the Superman legacy - and niece Natasha are on a trip to Zambia, putting him in pole position to take on Doomsday when the beast shows up there. He doesn't come out of it well.

Wonder Woman arrives on the scene, keen to give Doomsday a thrashing after a recent run-in with him. Superman shows up too, but Doomsday vanishes before they can team up. The pair retire to a Justice League bunker where, we see, Lex Luthor has joined up.

He insists Doomsday is charging around the planet sucking up enough energy to absorb his real target, Superman, Earth's most powerful being. Superman should get off planet, lure the monster - who's getting ever bigger and nastier - elsewhere for the safety of billions. Superman realises Lex is playing him, but also sees his point.

Soon, man and monster meet in brutal battle and only one walks away ...

... which is pretty excellent. Rather than issue after issue of Superman and Doomsday pummelling one another, it seems it's over and done with here, with the Superman tie-ins dealing with the aftermath.

Which is a bit of a pain for people who actually like Doomsday (there must be some), and think the clash starts in this week's Action Comics #31, billed as Chapter One and reviewed elsewhere on the blog.

And what a shame DC's bungling of the Forever Evil series means we see Luthor with the League before the delayed final issue appears.

But as for this actual issue, I loved the encounter between Lois and Lana as they try to weigh one another up. Lois may not be quite herself, but it's still fascinating to see Superman's Un-Girlfriends together - and Lana looks as cool as anything zooming onto the scene on a motorbike. 

Shay Veritas - in a rather attractive new science suit - is less annoying than usual here, giving Superman a few home truths. Maybe she's not evil, after all.

The Clark and Perry scene, with the editor thrust into the traditional Pa Kent role, is a winner. It's great to see Clark realise that someone with a bit more life experience can shine some light on his (heavily euphemistic) problem.

I didn't expect Steel to show up, it's always good to see him - he never fails to impress with his courage and heart.

Diana also demonstrates enormous guts, taking on Doomsday without waiting for League help, but then she is the god of war.

There's a nice moment of humour amid the dark drama ...

... I wasn't sure, mind, if Superman is joking here. I do hope so.

I did laugh, too - and I know we weren't supposed to - at this moment.

Simon Baz, character find of ... er .. who? Not so much Green Lantern as Invisible Tealight.

The three writers blend their styles well, and the script is nicely served by artist Ken Lashley. Yes, you read that right, a double-sized book and only one artist. Has that happened previously in the New 52? Lashley suits the DC superhero house style, producing page after page of detailed combat scenes and nicely 'acted' character moments. My only problem is that I really don't need to see charred human and animal remains everywhere, such images seem to be dwelling on suffering.

And it's all coloured with vim by Sunny Gho (the Africa scenes are just beautiful) and lettered by Carlos M Mangual. Lashley's cover - a homage to a Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding original - is well rendered but not brilliant, monster close-ups never are. Great logo, though. 

All in all, a far better than expected, very enjoyable, start to an event I was dreading. The story continues in Action Comics #31 and Superman/Wonder Woman #8, reviewed below.


  1. My review will be up at 8, but as usual we are in lock step here, even down to the panels we picked!

    I thought this was better than anticipated and thought the Perry scene was the highlight.

    You laughed at the romantic moment with Diana. I was perplexed by it. She just doesn't understand him. Why are they together??

    1. Looking forward to your review! And fear not, I was laughing at the Hal panel, the Superman/WW one was the one I hoped was a joke.

  2. A Superman vs. Doomsday story being "better than expected" is such faint praise that I'm not moved to actually make any kind of effort to read the thing.

    Hmm. I just wondered how bad the story would have to be in order to qualify as "worse than expected". That's actually kinda hard to picture.

    1. I could actually picture it being a cartoon. The theme song would go:

      They fight and die
      And fight and fight and die
      fight, fight, fight
      Die, die, die
      The Supesy and Doomsey Showwwwwww!

  3. i found it weird that Superman was questioning "what he becomes if he kills doomsday" and not asking "how do i kill doomsday". just seems odd to me that Superman would be so willing to kill. like i understand doomsday needs to die and i think Clark could see that as well but to actually be able to take a life
    shouldn't that be a hard thing for him to do? Clark isn't like Batman or Wonder woman or Flash and Green Lantern all characters who are all trained to kill but choose not too. he's a country boy who just wants to do the right thing. i had this same issue with Man of Steel feeling snapping Zod's neck wouldn't even cross a normal person's mind like Clark

    1. I didn't get the impression killing was easy for him, and was sold on the terrible threat level. I don't ever want to see Superman killing anyone, but the New 52 Universe tone is generally so off that the Doomsday killing seems nowwhere near as shocking as Superman's execution of the Phantom Zoners way back when. Which is really rather sad.


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