Writer: Charles Soule
Artists: Tony Daniel, Matt Banning, Sandu Florea
Action Comics #31 Recap:
Inhaling the particulate remains of Doomsday to save Smallville, Superman became infected and started to turn into a being of rage. At first, his fantasies of violence were hallucinations. As time progressed, his desires became reality the second he got angry. That’s right, Superman was “Hulk-ing” out. Senator Lane later pays a visit to John Irons and asks him to assist in incarcerating Superman in John’s lab. When Superman arrives at the Fortress of Solitude and is denied entry, we learn that his DNA has been altered. Physically, he has begun to exhibit Doomsday’s bony protrusions on his knuckles. Surprisingly calm about the situation, Superman embraces his transformation and starts to think of himself as a savior to mankind.
This was a quick read with a very good blend of action and exposition. Unlike issue #30, the romance here isn’t forced. What’s also to note is that the art was consistent and beautifully drawn.
Plot Details and Spoilers and Deaths: Oh My!
Diana enters Clark’s apartment and finds him sitting in the shadows. The living room is in disarray. He toys with her at first by stating how he can hear the fear in her voice. As he comes into the light, Diana draws her golden lasso.
We flash back to eight hours earlier. Diana visits Cat Grant at Clarkcatropolis.com to find out if she noticed anything strange with Clark. Hesitant that Diana might be some crazy girlfriend, Cat keeps quiet. Diana reveals a voicemail to Cat where Clark is using uncharacteristic words. Cat spills the beans and recalls the last fight she had with Clark about running their news site.
In the present, Clark continues to challenge Diana. He remarks how Batman is jealous of super-powered beings like him and Diana. Clark’s words escalate to accusing Diana of not letting him into her world and being cold to him. The conversation leads to Clark prodding Diana to kill him when she still has the chance — before he fully transforms. Throughout this scene, we see that Clark has physically morphed into having Doomsday’s grey skin and red eyes.
Two hours earlier, Lois is rushing to a military base when Diana calls her. Unable to talk, Lois tells Diana to notify Perry White of her whereabouts. Lois is suddenly stopped and arrested by soldiers. Diana appears and uses her newfound powers as the God of War to control the soldiers. She “Jedi mind tricks” the men into divulging the reasons behind Lois’s arrest (Her eyes were glowing when she was breaking into the military mainframe.) and finally makes them release her. To satisfy Lois’s curiosity of why the soldiers were so coopertive, Diana tells her that the military “realized they had a witness” and didn’t want any trouble. In a final conversation about Clark, Diana learns that Lois received a strange call from him the night before. She ignored it and passed it off as a drunk dial.
Around the same time, Batman is also tracking Clark via Bat-wing. Communicating with Alfred, Batman deduces that Clark would most likely go to Metropolis because that’s where he would feel most human. Diana suddenly jumps on the nose of the Bat-wing. He lands and gives Diana the results of his current investigation. A sample of Clark’s blood collected at the scene of the fight with Doomsday reveals that there is no difference between Clark’s blood or Doomsday’s. By inhaling the spores, Clark received a massive dose and is now transforming into another Doomsday. Because the spores are psycho-reactive, they respond to will. Batman notes that Clark has the ability to resist it and tells Diana to check for Clark at his apartment.
Back to the present, Diana is refusing to kill the now transforming Clark. He goads her into doing it by showing a display of rage and strength. This alerts Batman to the scene. Diana forces Batman to leave so that she can handle it alone. As Diana encourages Clark to fight with all his will, he lets out a painful scream that shatters all the neighboring buildings’ windows. Clark collapses into Diana’s arms — back to a normal state.
Wrapping It Up
The second chapter of this Doomsday event is really picking up the pace of the overall story. The writers don’t spend a lot of time with needless internal monologues. One thing that I did appreciate was the dynamic between Diana and Cat. They could’ve gone down that road and made it a verbal cat fight between two women, but they left it as two people concerned about a friend. I have to say, the art in this issue was great. Nice lines and dynamic, rich coloring. I definitely had fun reading this one.