Superman: Doomed – Action Comics Annual #3 Review


Writer: Greg Pak

Artists: Ken Lashley, Aaron Kuder, Jack Herbert, Cliff Richards, Julius Gopez, Will Conrad, Vicente Cifuente, Pascal Alixe, Ulises Arreola

Superman / Wonder Woman Annual #1 Recap

Superman takes off for Earth to protect it.  Steel and Lana contact the Justice League and they relay information that Brainiac is building a distributed network of nodes to cover the world with the coma-inducing signal.  The only way to stop it is to bring down thirty-six percent of the nodes.  Entering Earth’s atmosphere, Superman’s Doom half completely takes over and Superman goes on a rampage — destroying Brainiac’s nodes and threatening innocent lives.  Batman, at the Fortress of Solitude, enacts a plan to allow Superman to suppress his Doom half.  Around the world, various heroes try to destroy as many of Brainiac’s node ships as they can.  Near the moon, Cyborg Superman has been overseeing the construction of a giant portal.  Steel arrives to try and stop Cyborg Superman, but Cyborg Superman proves too strong.  Lana, in a bid to save Steel, makes herself the target of Cyborg Superman’s destruction.  Steel saves Lana and flies her to safety.  Back on Earth, the heroes have destroyed enough nodes to render the network useless.  Wonder Woman fights Superman, but is eventually left with only one option — to kill him.  At that moment, Batman’s plan proves to be a success — the kryptonite in the atmosphere is cleared.  Superman suppresses his Doom half and reverts back to normal.  But near the moon, Brainiac’s giant ship has arrived through the portal.

Spoiler-Free Reaction

During the events of Superman / Wonder Woman Annual #1, other parallel activities were taking place.  This issue shows what else was happening and is a great addition to the previous story.  How did Batman eradicate all the kryptonite from the atmosphere?  This installment answers that question.  While giving some great exposition, this issue never slows down and pairs all of the information with some great action-filled panels.

Plot Details and Spoilers and Deaths: Oh My!

At the Daily Planet, Lois, who’s still under the control of Brainiac, internally fights to free her mind.  Brainiac uses Lois as a conduit to coordinate his daughter ships in a series of attacks around the world.  Lois’s efforts in freeing herself are fruitless.

At the Fortress of Solitude, Batman cautiously brings together Lex Luthor, Harrow, Ghost Soldier, and Dr. Veritas.  They surmise that Brainiac’s plan is not mass extermination.  Infecting Superman with the Doomsday virus was just a way to move him out of the way.  Ghost Soldier, knowing Superman’s nature, is sure that Superman will return due to the planet being threatened.

In Gotham City, Red Hood, Kori, and Arsenal fight with one of  Brainiac’s horde ship.  When the team is about to be bested, Superman flies in and destroys the ship in one hit.  He uses his intense heat vision to disintegrate the falling debris.  Due to the still present kryptonite in the air, Superman’s Doomsday infection takes over in full effect.  Infection spores emanate from his body.

At the Fortress of Solitude, Batman sees the events in Gotham City unfold.  He looks for solutions to clear the atmosphere of kryptonite, so Superman can have the strength to control the virus.  By Luthor’s calculations, even the most advanced methods in cleaning up the air would take over three years.  Batman proposes a plan that utilizes the imprisoned Phantom King, Dr. Xa-Du.  Due to Xa-Du’s uncooperative nature, Harrow uses her powers to coerce him into helping.  Ghost Soldier, having the ability to turn intangible, thereby allowing the Doomsday virus to not affect him, is sent off to help Superman.

In Sao Paolo, the Martian Manhunter is under attack by Brainiac’s drones.  Superman flies in to assist, but his infection sets the forest on fire.  The Martian Manhunter uses his powers to put a mental wall in Superman’s mind — blocking the virus and turning Superman, temporarily, back to normal.  The Martian Manhunter implores Superman to leave, but Ghost Soldier arrives with Baka.  Superman, losing faith in himself, is given a boost of confidence by Baka.  And the two fly off in full force to fight Brainiac’s giant horde ship.

Back at the Fortress of Solitude, Harrow distracts Xa-Du by attempting to trap him between realities.  Dr. Veritas uses this moment to tap into Xa-Du’s technology to turn the kryptonite molecules intangible.

In Metropolis, Superman and Baka arrive to face off with Brainiac’s horde ship.  Lois, still a conduit for Brainiac, attempts to infect Superman with trillions of nanobots.  Suddenly, Clark enters Lois’s mind and they communicate, with Clark giving her a heartfelt message.  They disconnect and Superman takes control of his Doomsday virus — using it to burn away the nanobots.  Lois regains control of her mind and body.  As Superman flies off to face the horde ship, Lois and Metallo follow him to assist.

In the Fortress of Solitude, Harrow has gained what she needed from Xa-Du.  Batman and the rest of the team put their plan into action — they open trillions of portals – clearing the atmosphere of kryptonite.  Superman regains his full power and takes control — turning him back to normal.  He launches towards the approaching horde ship and destroys it.  But to all the heroes’ surprise, the horde ships were just a distraction for Brainiac’s real invasion.

Wrapping It Up

Continuing the story from Superman / Wonder Woman Annual #1, this issue still focuses on Superman’s internal battle, but also acts like a mini Justice League story.  The rest of the heroes help out, but not in a way that made Superman stand in the sidelines.  The art was dynamic.  But at some points, you can see inconsistencies and haphazard placement of characters.  For example, in a panel where Krypto helps Superman destroy a horde ship, it looked as if Superman had decapitated Krypto.  But in reality, it was part of the horde ship obscuring Krypto’s head.  I know this was a large issue, so a large group of artists was warranted.  However, they could’ve planned some of the panels better.  The story was strong though.  I liked how once the action began, it never let up and kept escalating.  I’m looking forward to reading the next installment in Action Comics #34.


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