Action Comics #31 Review - The Darkness Begins

Writer: Greg Pak

Artists: Aaron Kuder, Rafa Sandoval, Cameron Stewart, Vicente Cifuentes

Superman: Doomed #1 Recap:

Superman learns that the Doomsday he had previously fought may have been in the larval stage.  This new Doomsday is much more mature, larger, and emits energy that can be devastating by just being near him.  As the Justice League converge to help Superman fight Doomsday, Lex Luthor hypothesizes that Doomsday is not mindlessly killing, but absorbing smaller prey until he can reach a level that allows him to absorb Superman’s vast energy.  Accepting a proposed solution by Luthor, Superman draws Doomsday away from Earth and engages in a fight with Doomsday that goes from Mumbai to Venus to Smallville.  Severely injured, and in one tremendous show of force, Superman tears Doomsday in half.  As Doomsday’s blood covers Superman’s wounds, Superman collapses.

Spoiler-Free Reaction

An engaging issue that focuses primarily on Superman.  Unlike the other previous issues, this story seems less disparate and more cohesive.  There is only one scene that hints at what’s to come.  I’ll give you a hint: Kryptonite and radiation are involved.

Plot Details and Spoilers and Deaths: Oh My!

Superman awakens from a hallucination.  One where he looks like a hybrid of Doomsday and himself — all-powerful and all-consuming.  As Lana Lang is about to run to him, Wonder Woman lands in a thunderous boom.  She takes Superman and flies him out of Smallville.  In flight, escorted by the Justice League and Lex Luthor, Superman learns that Luthor is coordinating emergency efforts — a task given to him by Senator Lane.  Angered by Luthor’s attempt to quarantine him, Superman hallucinates himself assaulting Luthor and tearing him apart.  Superman then concentrates on Wonder Woman to steady himself and flies off.

On land, Batman retrieves organic material at the site where Superman collapsed.  As government researchers move in, Batman sets off an explosive which destroys all remaining evidence.

Superman sets down in Alaska and is greeted by Krypto.  Sleeping till morning, Superman is awakened by the sound of hunters firing their rifles from a plane.  In a fit of anger, he flies to the plane.  He first tries to calm himself by thinking of Wonder Woman, but the rage is too great — he tears the plane in two.  At first, he thinks it’s another hallucination.  It’s not.  He quickly catches the hunters and safely lands them.  Superman is initially horrified by his actions, but starts to enjoy his newly acquired emotions of rage and power.

Senator Lane visits John Irons at his lab.  Still in bad condition from his encounter with Doomsday, John dips into a pool of organic steel to accelerate the healing process.  Lane then reveals his reasons for the visit.  Lane suspects that Superman purposely inhaled all the particulates from Doomsday’s disintegrated remains in order to protect the people of Smallville.  He wants to catch and incarcerate Superman in John’s lab.  John reminds Lane that his lab was built for criminals.  We then pan out and see Metallo and the Atomic Skull in stasis above John.

In Smallville, Lois uses her Brainiac-given powers and reads the mind of a government official.  She finds out that they’re processing the data at the Sawyer military base.  Lana then deduces that if Doomsday’s dangerous particulates were still in the air, Superman would’ve stayed to protect Smallville.  She removes her bio-hazard suit to prove her point — and she’s right.

Arriving at the front doors of the Fortress of Solitude, Superman attempts to enter.  The Fortress refuses him entrance based on a negative DNA scan.  Superman then notices that his knuckles have formed bony protrusions like that of Doomsday’s.  Strangely, he feels calm and accepting.  He embraces it and sees himself as a powerful savior.

Wrapping It Up

Though an evil Superman has been done many times over, I very much welcome it.  Starting from Superman III when he was turned by the man-made Kryptonite, I enjoyed watching his inner conflicts and then heroically emerging as the bright shining star we all know and admire.  I like this new take on Doomsday that they’re doing and I hope the next issues will explain why Doomsday is infectious this time around.  My guess, and it’s probably pretty obvious, is that this Doomsday was cloned and enhanced by Brainiac.  Perhaps this is his latest ploy in collecting Earth?  I think this would’ve been a great issue if the art wasn’t a committee effort.  There were times when it looked like a totally different artist had worked on an adjacent panel.  These were the most evident in the characters of Superman, Sam Lane, and Wonder Woman.

Tags: Atomic Skull Batman Comics DC Doomsday John Henry Irons Justice League Krypto Lana Lang Lex Luthor Lois Lane Metallo Sam Lane Steel Superman Wonder Woman

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