By: Greg Pak (story), Karl Kerschl & Daniel Sampere (art), Tom Derenick (pencils), Vicente Cifuentes, Marc Deering, Wayne Faucher (inks), Hi-Fi (colors)
The Story: When you’ve got even the ghosts in a panic, things aren’t going well.
The Review: Unenthused as I am by Doomed, it was with some dismay when I saw that Batman/Superman would be also be participating in the crossover. It shouldn’t have surprised me, what with Pak being an architect of this storyline and all. And on the plus side, at least I’ll be mostly up to speed on everything going on Doomed, which, as my recent frustrations with the Batman/Superman–Worlds’ Finest crossover show, isn’t something that happens very often.
Interestingly enough, even though Doomed is a Superman-centric storyline, he features hardly at all in this issue. I approve. At this point, there’s really nothing left to do with Superman except to see him decline further, and there’ll be plenty of that later on. If Superman has a presence at all, it’s in spirit; his friends spend a lot of the issue considering what he’d do in their shoes: Batman putting his faith in others; Wonder Woman repressing her warriors’ instincts; Ghost Soldier exchanging loyalties to stand up for what’s right; Steel risking everything to save everyone. It’s a sweet testament to Superman’s impact on the world, and a reminder of what’s at stake if he’s lost.
In terms of advancing the plot, this issue only just manages to bring a few new pieces of information to light: the contagious cellular damage of Superman’s condition and the role of Xa-Du (the Kryptonian ghost who haunted Superman in Action Comics #13) in bringing Doomsday into the world. For continuity sticklers, Xa-Du provides an interesting tidbit in the Kryptonian legend regarding Doomsday, “the beast destined to kill the last knight of the House of El.” What this suggests is the legend hasn’t come to pass yet, meaning Death of Superman hasn’t taken place in the DCnU.
Aside from that and the somewhat pointless distractions of Mongul and Non (a Zod supporter), there’s not much going on here, nothing you don’t already expect anyway. Of course the whole world’s freaking out about what’s happening. Of course our heroes are torn between wanting to save Superman and preparing for the possibility of destroying him before he becomes an unstoppable threat. If there’s going to be some fresh twist to this Doomsday story, we haven’t seen it yet.
Despite the multiple artists, the visuals are mostly variations of DC’s house style, each about as respectably straightforward as the next, though I’d say whoever handled the big middle portion of the issue—don’t ask me who; all I know is that it’s not Kerschl—probably has the richest, most detailed pages. But this is decidedly mid-tier art, not the kind you expect for what’s supposedly one of the major storylines of the year.
Conclusion: Thin in almost every respect, though the arc isn’t—here it comes—doomed just yet.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – Since when did Ghost Soldier have the power to turn others intangible?
– Another bone for the Diana-Bruce shippers: “…I focus and stare into her eyes. If this really were Hades, she’d find a way to bring you back.”
– And the award for Most Useless Analysis of the Situation goes to Steel for his read on the Phantom Zone: “This is…bad. It’s tapping the power from the rift. Someone’s got…plans.”