It’s easy to make all sorts of jokes about “Doomed” being doomed, but I was still more than willing to give Scott Lobdell and Javier Fernandez’s new series a shot. I appreciate that new characters and concepts are getting a chance as part of the DC You launch this month, and this one certainly had potential. Now that I’ve read the issue, though, I feel like the name of “Doomed” is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Chugging along at a slow pace, the basic plot involves Reiser, a hapless new intern at S.T.A.R. Labs who tries to negotiate for the worst position at the scientific research facility, while also living a life in an outer borough of Metropolis with several roommates. It’s not a bad idea, but it all falls down in Lobdell’s execution of this plot. Reiser comes across as exceptionally clueless at best and downright stupid at his worst. This is a character who seems to just float through life in an oblivious haze, unable to understand basic concepts, like a time that was scheduled to interview new roommates or that, when you’re in a hazmat suit performing decontamination, you don’t get to take off the suit to catch a breath of fresh air. Maybe this is supposed to come across as charming or innocent, but instead it makes him appear dumb. By the end of the issue, it’s hard to keep from wondering if he was supposed to be a test subject at S.T.A.R. Labs instead of an intern.
However, Reiser is the best-developed character in the issue. His roommates, his aunt, his co-worker, even his love interest come across remarkably one-dimensional at best. One of the two roommates is such a non-entity that you might blink and miss the fact that he even exists.)
Fernandez’s art is perfectly reasonable, but it’s also not flashy enough to overcome the script it’s illustrating. There are a few little moments that jump out, like the concentric impact rings from where a transformed Reiser has landed in the opening sequence of the comic. It looks sufficiently creepy and sets the stage nicely for the entire scene set deep underground. On the whole, however, it’s just a slightly exaggerated art style that tells the story competently, but neither the art nor Ulises Arreola’s coloring is something that’s going to stick in your head down the line.
With clunky and unrealistic dialogue and an annoying lead, there’s nothing in “Doomed” #1 that makes me want to come back to see if the series turns around next month. With so many strong new series and creative teams at DC Comics this month, it’s reasonable to say that there’s enough other material that’s successfully living up to its potential. In the case of “Doomed,” I’m not convinced this first issue is enough to create an audience.