Review: Batman / Superman #3.1: Doomsday
This is the first Villains title for the new DC series Batman/Superman, and it features none other than Superman killer, Doomsday. I have been looking forward to this one since its announcement as I have been a fan of the title. Full disclosure: I manage a local comic book shop, and I have heard many mixed reviews of the Batman/Superman book that span the full spectrum of criticism. The biggest complaint I hear is fans like the story and concept but have been turned off by the art of Jae Lee. The knock on Lee was surprising as I have been a longtime fan of his work all the way back to the '90s with his creator owned title Hellshock from Image. However, that all changes here with this Villains takeover as Brett Booth has assumed the art duties and fan favorite Tony Daniel does the cover. Booth’s work is definitely more palatable to the average comic book reader, and I have always liked his work, as well. Booth does top notch work as usual, and I will be interested to see if the title picks up steam and support because of the change.
The story itself was above average for me, and Pak delivers and expands on the legend of Doomsday; make no mistake this is all about Superman’s family. The issue begins on Krypton, years ago, during “Remembrance Day” in which Lara recounts the attack by Doomsday and the destruction he inflicts. In the story, Pak does an excellent job getting all the characters involved, none more surprising than Lara, who comes off as a serious bad ass as she takes on Doomsday herself. Pak also throws in a very terrifying and menacing looking Colonel Zod who delivers an exciting battle against Doomsday. Again, Booth also serves up the goods with great dynamics and flow.
The story is abruptly interrupted by a young Kara Zor-El’s scream from her nightmares of Doomsday’s attack. Pak then shifts the story in a more mythological tale as her father recounts to her the story of the Last Knight of the House of El. I would be remiss not to mention Pak’s nod to the polybag cover from the 1992 "Death of Superman" when Kara’s father pulls out the book of legends. The art here is outstanding, and Booth gives it a more highly stylized illustrated style with the most evil looking Doomsday I have ever seen. In the end, Pak's story is a mixture of origin, legend and an ongoing narrative; don’t expect any Batman references because this is all about Supes. I’m not quite clear as to where this story leads, if at all, to a resurgence for Doomsday, but the events have been put in motion, and one can hope it leads to a bigger story arc for the Batman/Superman title.
The initial Earth 2 crossover for the book, issues 1-3, seemed highly confusing, especially for newbies, and this story would be a nice way to get readers, new and old alike, onboard for a straight-up good versus evil arc. Overall, this issue would have been better served as the first rather than fourth as I feel more people would have jumped at it with little hesitation with art easier on the eyes and a story easier to digest. It’s definitely a very solid issue and one of the better villains books of the week if not the entire month.