The last few Superman crossover events have been arguably disappointing. Now comes the beginning of Superman: Doomed, and with it the hope that this crossover will be better developed than both He’l on Earth or Krypton Returns. That’s not too much to hope for though since Pak and Soule are helping Lobdell with the development in their respective titles and on this massive one-shot.
It has always felt like Doomsday should be a more influential threat than he is always made to be. This is the monster that killed Superman 22 years ago! Whether it is simply that no one has really been able to develop the largely silent, destructive force, or that he is literally a character resigned to build bigger plot lines, Doomsday is back. He has escaped the Phantom Zone and has his sights set on Superman.
Lobdell, Pak, and Soule take a similar approach to telling a Doomsday centric story as Dan Jurgens did in 1992. What that means is Doomsday is more a means to an end than a main antagonist. This one-shot reveals that the New 52 Doomsday is much more than the Doomsday who killed Superman; he’s a hybrid who can destroy life simply through his presence. To top that off, he grows stronger the more life energy he saps from the environment. Of course, Superman is the only one who stands a chance.
The authors take their time building the threat as well as the drama surrounding it. Both Steel and Wonder Woman are seen falling to the massively destructive power of Doomsday, and Superman is clearly shaken by his destructive force. This emotional turmoil, which may seem a little overplayed, will clearly be a key component to the crossover. The authors stretch Superman’s uneasy balance between his emotions and his power as he watches the people he’s sworn to protect die on a massive scale.
Lashley’s art is excellent throughout the issue. His representation of this new incarnation of Doomsday is truly menacing. Doomsday’s new appearance combined with the physical representation of his new life destroying powers makes him feel like a true threat for the world’s strongest hero. The art not centered on Doomsday is appropriately crisp or gritty, depending on the situation.
So what’s not to like about this opening salvo? It seems that Doomsday is a one and done kind of villain, even in the New 52. As in the past, Doomsday shows up, wreaks havoc, and is put down. Yes, the overall conflict moves the story forward, but Doomsday could be a development goldmine.
Aside from the fact that Doomsday is super cool and has a lot development potential that will again go untapped, Lobdell, Pak, and Soule make a pretty cool opening issue to the Doomed crossover. It’ll be interesting to see how Superman’s latest run in with this destructive threat impacts the character’s development in the future.