Doomsday always equates to a bad day for Superman.
The monstrous, spiky villain played an active role in one of the Man of Steel’s most famous story lines ever in the 1990s and killed the superhero, though Supes did get better.
But Doomsday’s return bodes ill again, and in a much different way than ever before, in DC Comics’ multipart Superman: Doomed crossover. Written by Greg Pak, Charles Soule and Scott Lobdell, the tale begins in an oversized Doomed one-shot and then moves to Action Comics No. 31 and Superman/Wonder Woman issue 8 – all out Wednesday.
It finds Superman dealing with the worst enemy he’s ever faced, “where our hero’s strengths may work against him,” Pak says.
“We’re going places that no Doomsday story has ever gone before, and it’s plunging our heroes and heroines into uncharted territory with huge emotional stakes.”
Soule first teased Doomsday’s return in the fall with the first issue of Superman/Wonder Woman, where the unstoppable supervillain of Kryptonian origins attacked and broke both of Wonder Woman’s arms. He had been housed in the Phantom Zone but was pushed out as fellow baddies General Zod and Faora were making their own escape from the prison dimension.
An organization called The Tower has been trying to twist Doomsday and use him to their ends, “which has not gone particularly well for them,” Soule says.
Doomed begins with all-out terror and Doomsday in full destruction mode when heroes have to gather to take him down. However, the villain has a whole new and different set of powers and danger that he brings – he’s like an insect going into the next stage of its life cycle, according to Pak – and Superman will have to deal with consequences both physical and mental in the aftermath of the battle.
“Getting inside Superman’s head when he’s dealing with something like this has been a big part of it for us,” says Soule.
Doomsday was first introduced in 1992 just before the “Death of Superman” story line that made him famous beyond the comics page – both he and Superman were seemingly killed in an epic brawl through Metropolis.
Doomed marks the first major tale for Doomsday since DC’s 2011 “The New 52” relaunch, and with it Soule admits that he and fellow creators are resetting the bar and focusing on a creature who seems to be completely and utterly devoted to death and destruction.
“It’s kind of like matter and antimatter – the world cannot exist if Doomsday is in it, and potentially vice versa,” Soule says. “It’s about dealing with a threat like that who just can’t exist. There’s no putting it in jail, there’s no locking it away.”
Adds Pak: “Imagine a biological threat that destroys all life. And imagine that thing involving and becoming more and more efficient at what it does. What would be the most efficient and best way for such a thing to develop in order to kill as much as possible?”
This new Doomsday presents a different challenge than the young Superman has faced up till now. The hero’s heart is in the right place, Pak says, but he has “tremendous” powers and responsibilities that will be tested to their limits, and possibly beyond. “It’s an incredibly hard and complex world to figure out how he should keep track of all the ramifications both positive and negative.”
Soule admits that one needs to go big with Superman, and the Doomed story line features his current love interest Wonder Woman, the Justice League and pretty much the entire Superman supporting cast including nemesis Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Lana Lang, canine pal Krypto and a whole new version of the metallic hero Steel.
While “some pretty unfortunate things” happen to Steel in the one-shot, Pak says, he’s “a pretty sharp cookie and he’s going to come back in Action 31 with a whole new plan and it’s going to be pretty tremendous.”
Doomed and its aftermath will affect Superman “10,000%” but Soule says he’s found having Doomsday in a story is “like writing a hurricane or a forest fire.”
However, as much mayhem as he causes, there needs to be little human moments amid the blockbuster action for the whole thing to work, according to Pak.
“We love superhero comics because they’re soap operas,” he says. “(But) we also love them because they’re spectacle. Comics do crazy, big, visceral, nutty things – we’re limited only by our ability to think stuff up.”
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