Superman #31 review

The Superman Doomed story continues in splendid form this issue, as writer Scott Lobdell bows out as series writer. His biggest dangling plotline is the problem with Lois, currently a secret psychic puppet of Brainiac. Here she messes up efforts to cure Superman of the Doomsday virus by having him leave Lex Luthor’s prison-turned-hero-hospital. An image of the Teen Titans battling Detritus – which starts with D for D-list villain – has Superman zooming cross continent to St Louis. 

He helps the kid heroes, but with his spiky-chinned, mad-eyed Doomsday look scares them more than does Detritus. Superman doesn’t hang around, through – by the end of this instalment he’s flying off to parts unknown/the next chapter in Action Comics #32. 

The Lois subplot doesn’t really move forward, though her mind mischief does add spice to the mix. Superman’s Girlfriend Wonder Woman is also on hand, but doesn’t do much bar stand around and worry as super-scientists Shay Veritas and Ray Palmer puzzle over Superman’s changing physiology. Cyborg and Batman are around too, the former for the taking of data, the latter for crossover value. 

Lobdell does something I never thought he’d manage – he makes Veritas seem like a real character rather than a cardboard cut-out; for the first time I believe she really is a good guy. 

The real story, though, is the artwork. Ed Benes pencils much of the issue, and does a thoroughly decent job, while Jaime Mendoza interprets and finishes with style and strength. 

But Jack Herbert – good gosh, where has this man come from? His sharp compositions, attractive figurework, knack for pacing and flair for action have me keen as mustard to see him get a regular assignment. As finished by Vicente Cifuentes, there’s a Brian Bolland quality to the work which I love. More please, and soon. If Kenneth Rocafort happens to leave the relaunching Teen Titans, DC, Herbert is your man …

Credit order has me assuming Jeromy Cox colours Herbert and Cifuentes, and he brings his A-game, while tones titan Pete Pantazis handles Benes and Mendoza with his usual skill. 

Pantazis also colours Benes’ decent, but rather standard, cover, while Jonathan Glapion provides the inks. And Rob Leigh letters the issue nice and neat, like. 

Superman Doomed, against all reasonable expectations, has brought out the best in the Man of Steel’s books over the past few weeks, and Superman #31 is no exception. With Lobdell leaving right about … now … it falls to the creative teams of the other titles to get Lois back to normal along with Superman. With The Doomsdayed Superman, like the Parasite last time she was ‘cured’, being a power absorber, it shouldn’t be hard. 

Before that, though, I have to say Goodbye Scott Lobdell. It’s been fun. Also mad, frustrating, annoying, H’ellish … but in terms of imagination and energy, I’ll have some fond memories of your time on this book. 

10 thoughts on “Superman #31 review

  1. Really? Doomed is the best Superman can get? Not the social crusader and composite versions of Golden, Silver and Modern Age Superman of Morrison's run? Not the philosophical global protector that Superman is in Snyder's Unchained? Or the strongman with heart that Pak depicts him prior to Doomed?

    If this is the best Superman can really do then I'm truly disappointed in DC's claims to strengthen the Superman line of books.


  2. You're misreading through a prism of anger – I never said Superman Doomed was the best Superman can get, I was remarking on the relative quality of New 52 stories. My Superman is the Bronze Age fella – smart, compassionate, strong physically and mentally but capable of being hurt. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate other portrayals.


  3. If memory serves, that came up in Supergirl a few months back – Superman saved The Block from a cosmic catastrophe, but in the process Veritas became bound to the Block – and her employees wound up her doubles. Even the men – eek.


  4. You picked out several of the moments I enjoyed as well. I also thought that Herbert's smooth style was very nice, contrasted to the sketchy Benes pages.

    This was another issue where the effect of Superman's slow descent is seen in others. I have liked that part of Doomed. Ironically I think this might be Lobdell's best issues of Superman.


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