Review: Action Comics #903

Superman races into action alongside Doomsday. Wait... What?!

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

I imagine if DC made a Superman versus Doomsday movie directed by Michael Bay it would be a lot like the current Reign of the Doomsdays story by Paul Cornell. This is a lot of big screen action without any substance that makes me miss Cornell's extremely entertaining Lex Luthor story that preceded this event.

This is the last ride of the Superman that most of us grew up with before he becomes whatever Grant Morrison says that he is. And so far, he and his Super-team of Supergirl, Superboy and Steel have been trying to take on four alternate Doomsdays and a being calling himself the Doomslayer, who intends to destroy the Earth in order to wipe out all knowledge and all trace of Doomsday.

In theory, that's not a bad set up. But in 20 pages, the story doesn't amount to much more than a lot of super-punching. The most interesting thing to come out of it is that the Eradicator (one of Superman's doppelgangers from the Reign of the Supermen story) survived his destruction at the hands of the Doomslayer and lives on in the body of the original Doomsday. Hence, the Eradicator as Doomsday joins the fight against the three remaining clone Doomsdays. He even teams up with Batman and the Justice League!

For some reason, Cornell hasn't given the Eradicator the more formal style of dialog that he used prior to this story, so his persona doesn't seem as unique among the Super-team. The story also rushes through Doomsday's eventual reemergence in his own body, possibly expelling the Eradicator in the process. It's kind of obvious that will happen before the end of the story and it was badly telegraphed here. If history wasn't being rebooted, the Eradicator as Doomsday could have been an interesting direction for both characters.

Which brings us to the Doomslayer, who is basically a version of Doomsday that has intelligence and a desire to destroy the original model of himself. The Doomslayer must have also majored in monologuing at the Manga Khan School of Melodrama. He literally narrates the action to himself… and he doesn't even have an audience! There's no reason for any self respecting villain to yak on like this. Let me put it this way… the so-called surprise about the Doomslayer's origin that Superman discovers could have been a really cool moment had the Doomslayer not essentially spilled the beans a few pages before!

What, is this the silver age?
One area that does improve this month is the art. Axel Gimenez handles the entire issue and his style is actually pretty close to Kenneth Rocafort's. Without the interior artwork constantly shifting from Rocafort to another artist, it really does make the issue easier to read.

But there's no getting past how inconsequential this issue is. DC may be holding the line at $2.99, but these 20 pages pass so quickly that even that price seems steep.

Crave Online Rating: 4.5 out of 10.