Accepting his self-imposed exile, Superman is in the far reaches of space, smashing asteroids. He’s trying to burn the Doomsday virus from his system, but it’s only getting stronger. Back on Earth, Steel and Lana Lang blast off in a spaceship designed by the hammer-holding hero, determined to help their friend. Red Lantern Supergirl has her own idea for assisting her cousin – persuade him to embrace the rage, as she has, and be ‘magnificent’.
To help him in this, she takes Kal across the galaxy, where an immensely powerful stranger – that’s him, Harak, on Kuder’s eye-popping cover – confronts an alien race trying to flee their about-to-explode home. Will SuperDoom save them, or hasten their end?
There’s your set-up, now go and read this issue. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been following the SuperDoom story across the Superman titles, it’s irrelevant that you might hate the idea of Doomsday possession – you will like this comic. It’s packed with all the awesome action moments, satisfying character bits and unexpected plot twists that make for a great Superman script. That’s Greg Pak, that is.
As for partner Aaron Kuder, he provides 22 pages of imaginatively composed, sharply finished art that blazes off the page. Just look at this first splash of SuperDoom, coloured by the excellent Wil Quintana!
I don’t use exclamation points often – two hypey by half – but this comic surely deserves a few. The unexpected return of Kara adds real spice to the mix, while the Lana/Steel team is a chemistry-packed pairing I never foresaw. But as established by Pak and Kuder over the past several issues, Lana is an electrical engineer at the top of her game. She can work with Steel’s tech systems without becoming a superhero herself. She’s an ordinary person, scared, awed, but able to bring her best game to save those she loves.
Readers of Scott Lobdelll’s Superman run (actually, more like ‘flee’) will likely be pleased to see Pak not only continue the business with Lois possessed by Brainiac – I don’t like the idea, but I sure as heck want it finished – but throw in a new kink that makes sense.
And Kuder draws a great Lois, classic but satanic in intent. His Lana looks a little awkward from some angles, as she has throughout the run, but I love that she doesn’t look like some generic comics dolly bird.
Something else I love is Steel’s spaceship – if that doesn’t wind up being adapted by Ted Kord when he shows up in the DCU as Blue Beetle, I’ll be a blue-eyed grasshopper.
I feared that by this time in the crossover Superman would be a mindless monster, but Pak’s internal narration gives reason for hope; our guy is still in there. For now, anyway.
The use of Kara is brilliant, with her embracing of the Red Lantern way convincing her that Superman should similarly ‘free’ himself from fear of his power.
She’s a little whacked-out, and her abandoning of her cousin to handle the crisis of the Char people seems irresponsible … I think it’s actually her way of showing faith in him. And given their difficult relationship in the current continuity, that’s actually an improvement. And Kuder draws her very nicely, a force of nature swooping in and out of panels, making mischief.
The issue ends with another character coming into play. He’s not one of my faves – no last-page-spoiler from me – but look what he has with him … space walruses!
What more convincing do you need to buy Action Comics #33? This series continues to be the best ongoing Superman title, and rather than having their good work derailed by the Doomed crossover, Pak and Kuder have used it to make a superb book even better.