With the Brainaic Mothership’s psychic tendrils reaching out for every mind on Earth, Superman and his allies are forced to make an unthinkable choice…
I love this crossover much much more than I ever did FOREVER EVIL. Do you know why? Because it actually feels like a universe-spanning event. Instead of existing in its own little bubble, SUPERMAN: DOOMED encompasses the continuing stories from all Superman titles, be they ACTION COMICS, BATMAN/SUPERMAN, SUPERMAN, and SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN. It even brings in cameos from outside the family, with Aquaman, Cyborg, Martian Manhunter, the Outlaws and the Red Lanterns all appearing. (And some of them are even helping the civilians!) I get the feeling we’ll be feeling the effects of crossover for a while.
I may have mentioned this before, but the fact that all these people from all these continuities are all helping each other really brings out the sense of an epic crisis. Something big had to occur for all these people to come together. And I’m not just talking about Superman’s massive supporting cast, I’m talking about his villains too. Lex Luthor, Harrow and the Ghost Soldier’s ongoing support continues to show how the stakes have been raised.
Their plan to send the Earth into the Phantom Zone to shield it from further invasion is brilliant, but it’s let down by a few gaps in logic detailed in the “Negatives” section.
As a side note, did anyone else get some guilty pleasure out of Lex Luthor being taken out by Brainiac. For someone who’s been built up as invincible over and over again, to get defeated in two panels was pretty satisfying double points for it being right after he boasted that no psychic attack could hurt him. It also cements the threat of Brainiac, as if we need more convincing.
The ending didn’t make much sense to me. Superman can’t risk breaking the psychic link between the Brainiac Mothership and the Earth, least it have a damaging effect on the billions of brains Brainiac has connected to. Instead, he decides to send Earth and the Mothership into the Phantom Zone “A place without time…in order to buy the time we need to save everyone.”
This raises several questions, the first being “isn’t Brainiac still on the Mothership?” If he isn’t, then that A) wasn’t made clear and B) raises the question of where the **** he’s conducting his invasion from. If Brainiac’s in the Phantom Zone with everyone else, how does that help? The heroes may now have all the time they need, but so does Brainiac. Brainiac’s monologue after the blast into the Zone (around pages 22-23) all but confirms that he did indeed cross over along with them, so nice job Superman.
Secondly, isn’t the Phantom Zone where Dr. Xa-Du is the strongest? You know, that vengeance-mad Kryptonian hell-bent on destroying everything Superman loves? The guy who escaped no earlier than ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #3, i.e. the preceding “Superman: Doomed” issue to this? There’s a reason he’s called “the Phantom King”. And what about all the other Kryptonian crminals in the Phantom Zone? What about General Zod and his crew of sociopaths? Oh God, does this means we’re going to see yet more supervillains in this story?
Speaking of more supervillains…
Mongul appears at the end of this issue. That’s how many Superman villains now? By my count that eleven. (Twelve if you want to include Harak) I love seeing a rogue’s gallery come together, but this is starting to feel really chaotic and disorganized, and not in a good way. With all the people we now have to keep track of, I’m starting to doubt this crossover can keep all the balls in the air.
ACTION COMICS #34 is flawed, but still an epic, exciting installment to the crossover.