Superman: Doomed begins next month and DC is clearly trying to make sure the storyline remains on your radar. The latest SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN teased the event and now, the latest issue of SUPERMAN is doing the very same thing.
Scott Lobdell covers A LOT of ground in this issue. Seriously, he includes some very basic teasing of Doomsday's return, what's going on with Lois Lane, the odd occurrence in Smallville, the situation with Kandor, and more. You won't get any satisfying answers to any of these topics, though. Instead, this issue serves as 100% buildup and treats every character and plot thread in a way that can be friendly to new readers (but a bit redundant to ongoing fans). While some of these plot points are only very swiftly addressed and/or established, the issue manages to end on a note that successfully builds a bit of hype for what's to come.
Ed Benes' pencils and Peter Pantazis' colors remain consistent as Lobdell presents them with a slew of different locations and individuals. The panels tend to really thrive when the focus isn't on standard humans and instead geared towards superhuman creatures and the diverse settings. Luckily for our eyes, there's plenty of that to be found in this issue. Now, this isn't to insult their work with regular humans, but those moments don't pack the same kind of punch as the more elaborate characters and/or locations. Despite a slightly awkward pose, Superman's debut and the shots of him flying after that are solid.
Seeing as this is a prelude for an upcoming storyline, it's understandable there's going to be some exposition. However, there's a lot of it because the issue jumps from scene to scene, tackling numerous and seemingly very different plot points while also attempting to remain new reader friendly with each and every one of them. Like I said above, this can make the read feel pretty redundant at times if you're keeping current and sometimes the exposition is laid on a little too thick.
And, please forgive my inner fanboy, but if we're teasing Doomed, I would have really loved to see a little more from the segment that involves Doomsday -- or perhaps even an actual appearance by the character. The issue manages to discuss and incorporate quite a few characters, but the powerful villain is merely discussed.
I'm left feeling down the middle after reading SUPERMAN #30. On one hand, it covers a whole lot of ground and definitely has me curious to see how one or two of these plot threads will unfold. But on the other hand, it's unclear if this is really "mandatory" reading for the upcoming story. Sure, it shows the beginnings of numerous elements, but each of these developments could potentially be recapped in an adequate opening page or a few brief blurbs of exposition. It's basically giving us one tease after another of things to come instead of truly leaving its own mark.
Considering it's only $2.99, I'd say it's worth checking out for these very interested in Superman's current mythos and the upcoming event. For everyone else, you'll probably be okay just diving in with the first official chapter when Doomed drops.