Concluding the saga spinning out of Superman’s conflict with Doomsday, “Superman Doomed” #2 opens plenty of doors for future storylines. Greg Pak and Charles Soule have included a wide variety of Superman’s foes and allies in the “Doomed” story, and with that story wrapping up, the duo, with collaboration from artists Ken Lashley, Szymon Kudranski, Cory Smith, Dave Bullock, Jack Herbert, Ian Churchill, Vicente Cifuentes, Norm Rapmund and especially Aaron Kuder look to the Man of Steel’s future.
With Superman’s intellect submerged beneath the tumultuous persona of Doomsday, the heroes of Earth make a last stand against Brainiac. The Man of Doom barrels through Brainiac’s spacecraft and into a myriad of mental imagery as Pak and Soule fill the pages and panels between the characters with existential braggadocio. Some of the mental shards illuminate Brainiac’s attempts at reconciling his work, others his thinly-veiled plots to out-maneuver his opponent. All feature aspects of Superman’s reality warped in some fashion, giving Pak and Soule a chance to examine several possibilities that would fill a year of “What If…?” comics if DC had such a title.
A thirty-nine page story, “Superman Doomed” #2 delivers a fine collection of art, but in platooning a raft of artists, it also packs in a pile of glaring inconsistencies. From the contour of Martian Manhunter’s head to the appearance of Steel’s armor and even the shape of Clark Kent’s glasses, little visual ticks and twitches remind readers that there are multiple artists drawing the issue. Each one brings their own nuances to the art: Dave Bullock’s Darwyn Cooke-influenced exchange between a graying Superman and a retired Bruce Wayne; Ian Churchill’s wide-eyed Supergirl; Vicente Cifuentes’ photo-realistic work; and Ken Lashley’s hyper-detailed, bristly-textured characters and settings. While there are some fine shots in “Superman Doomed” #2, there is nothing really iconic that begs for life beyond the panel containing it.
“Superman Doomed” #2 would be much less impressive without the work of colorist Wil Quintana. It seems rare to have a single comic that is completely colored by one colorist, but rarer still is an oversized comic with only one colorist setting the tones. Quintana keeps Manhunter and Brainiac from being too similar, but brings the similarity into play when Lois Lane invokes her mental capabilities. The colorist even includes a shift as the green in Lois’ face fades with her consciousness. While the argument could certainly be made that Quintana overdoes things with sheen and halos, those moments are in a mindscape, where light doesn’t have to be completely accurate or reasonable. As with the colors, letterer Taylor Esposito helps keep all of the players in line and identified for the readers. If their situation calls for it, the character receives a different color word balloon and an altered font, each decision impacting the story and describing the commotion filling the world of “Superman Doomed” #2.
While this claims to conclude the “Doomed” event, “Superman Doomed” #2 delivers connections to other events, including what is to come and what has past already. At the end of the issue, there is no shiny bow tied onto the adventures of Superman, but rather an indication that his battles are not complete. The last page leaves some questions to be answered and certainly offers a peek at what is to come, but this single page is, without question, the greatest image in “Superman Doomed” #2. The energy and excitement delivered here is wide-ranging and offers readers hope and satisfaction, regardless of their acceptance level of the “Doomed” event. Superman’s world is impacted by the occurrences of this story, which seems set to collide with the grander DC Universe.