Team Superman vs Team Doomsday - Round One
Since Paul Cornell started writing Action Comics, he has lifted it out of the rut that the title was in during the tedious Nightwing and Flamebird run. Whilst Lex Luthor seemed an odd choice to be the comic’s star, Cornell brought an interesting and exciting story full of action, plot twists, major villain guest stars and providing a new look at Lex Luthor. Now with 3 Doomsdays on the loose, Cornell looks to ramp up the action for Superman’s last story in Action Comics.
Team Superman must survive on a mysterious ship which contains a pocket universe within along with 3 cloned Doomsdays, unaware that their actions are being observed by a mysterious assailant.
· Cornell excels at producing well written stories and this is no exception. The dialogue is fantastic and Cornell nails the voices of each character in the story. Everyone gets their moment, both in terms of dialogue and action in this issue and although Superman dominates the story for most of the time, he kind of deserves it given he’s been missing from Action Comics for more than a year.
· Secondly, Cornell produces a well paced issue with a good structure. The tale progresses at a suitable pace from fight scene to talk scene to plot progression scene at a nice rate. In terms of the story ‘s structure, Cornell provides an excellent balance between action, dialogue and plot points which gel together brilliantly.
· Cornell utilises the uniqueness of each Doomsday clone well. Despite not actually working as an official team, they provide more than enough of a challenge for Team Superman and you really get the sense of the fact that the unstoppable monster being cloned makes for some pretty good ‘Oh ****’ moments.
· Furthermore, Cornell writes an excellent Superman. His work on Lex Luthor was exceptional and Cornell shows in this issue as well as the previous one that he can write a damn good Superman. In this issue, we see several traits in Superman such as his leadership skills, his compassion for anyone, even Doomsday the monster that killed him and his unwavering devotion to do the right thing but not to die unless it was absolutely necessary. But Cornell also shows another aspect of Superman not typically seen. Cornell produces intelligent dialogue which worked well with Lex Luthor and equally well with Superman. His brain does work faster now since One Year Later and Cornell uses dialogue which shows Superman using that super brain of his to address a crisis. It serves as a reminder that Superman uses brains as well as brawn to deal with problems.
· The new villain, Doomslayer is shrouded in just the right amount of mystery and intrigue to draw the reader’s attention to him. As well as this, the fact he’s engineered a Doomsday level catastrophe adds to his threat level given he’s a fairly new villain.
· The art, whilst jarring was nonetheless great. Rocafort’s detailed pencils along with some unique inking provide very interesting art on his part. And Merino gives us sizeable splash pages as well. Both artists show that they are more than capable of making the fight scenes in the issue seem exciting and vibrant as possible.
· Also, Rocafort’s cover is just jaw dropping. The detail and the colour are exceptional, not forgetting the layout of destruction on the cover which makes for an excellent image to look at.
· However, there are a few gripes. Firstly, the appearance of President Obama summoning Superman on national television is a belated excuse on DC’s part to try to cover up the Action Comics #900 story where Superman renounced his US citizenship. In this instance, it seems DC are trying to make Superman look like the All American Hero again despite the fact the story was blown out of proportion by the media which is a shame really. I thought it was a bold statement on Superman’s character development.
· Secondly, at the time I saw this, the Eradicator’s death seemed like a cheap shock value gimmick to show how badass the Doomslayer was and I also thought it was partly to pave characters out of the DCU in time for the reboot.
· Finally, the artwork is done by 2 artists which I’m not a fan of and both artists’ styles are quite different from one another, making the comic seem a bit jarring at times when the artwork switches.
So there you have it. Paul Cornell does another fabulous job gearing up Superman’s final adventure in the first volume of Action Comics. This is the Superman book to buy if you’re not doing so already.