By: Greg Pak (story), Brett Booth (pencils), Norm Rapmund (inks), Andrew Dalhouse (colors)
The Story: It’s more than a no good, very bad day—it’s Doomsday.
The Review: I won’t hold back in my opinion of Doomsday as a character. You ready? Here we go: I don’t care for him much. Whew—I usually don’t speak so much out of turn, but I just can’t help myself in this case. My prejudice with Doomsday comes mostly from how shallow he is. He’s not really motivated by anything except an animalistic desire to destroy, and apart from his power levels, there’s nothing distinguishing him from other forgettable beasts of his kind.
With so little to work with, Pak had every opportunity to reimagine Doomsday from the top-down, but he apparently finds it easier to just reduce the monster to an incidental figure in its own issue. There’s nothing here about Doomsday’s origins—where he came from and what made him as he is. There’s nothing about how he arrived on Krypton, how he was disposed of, and how he wound up crossing paths with Superman. At best, you get a vague outline of the Death of Superman that conveniently avoids any need to compromise the story’s timing with the new continuity of the current DCU.
What this issue mostly boils down to is a reiteration of all the points and themes Pak made in his Zod one-shot about two weeks earlier—which is unacceptable. Villains Month may be an overblown and silly promotional campaign, but it nevertheless has a clear mandate which sets up certain expectations for the titles included under its banner: offer insight into the featured villain. It is not okay for Pak to side-step this fairly simple goal even if Doomsday seems too shallow a character to dig into, and it’s definitely not okay for Pak to simply regurgitate a bunch of material from another issue he wrote.
What’s worse is that you don’t even glean any new information about Zod. The most Zor-El manages to come up with is that “Dru-Zod turned out not to be so…nice.” Otherwise it’s all the same monster-loving nonsense he came out with in Action Comics. The fact that Kara Zor-El is the recipient of all this information may be an important development, however, though probably not for any storyline soon to come. Zod has yet to appear in current continuity, and when he does, Kara’s awareness of him may be crucial for future dealings with him.
Our time on Krypton isn’t a complete wash. We get some interesting details about the El family, particularly in the strength of the women in comparison to their more sensitive husbands. Allura’s bitter sarcasm is one thing, but Lara is a complete badass. Now envisioned to be a member of the military guild, someone who perhaps shares Zod’s longing for action, Lara is now more convincing as someone who was instrumental to the birth of Superman besides just providing a womb. Pak leaves some big gaps in the connection between Lara and Zod, and this seems like prime material to explore later.
You do have to wonder if maybe the whole issue would have been more convincing with someone other than Booth at the artistic helm. There’s a reason why he’s usually associated with teen titles; the perky features he puts into the characters’ faces make them look unnaturally young, even when they’re supposed to be in their middle ages, and their wide-eyed expressions never fails to make them look flabbergasted and a bit brainless.
Conclusion: For an issue ostensibly about Doomsday, Doomsday is the least interesting figure in it. It’s most useful for those who missed Action Comics #23.2: Zod, but even then you won’t get much out of it.
Some Musings: – Interesting, how a data-pad would have a blood-dripping crest on it. Someone in the El family has a dramatic streak.
– Considering this had nothing to do with Batman, it seems kind of weird to feature Doomsday in this particular title, doesn’t it?