DC released this series a few years back. As you know I have this obsession with Doomsday and watching him and Superman fight it out. I had not seen any titles with him in it recently so when this one was released I was all over it. This is one of the very very few that I actually went out and bought each individual issues as they were released, along with its sequel. It was a little exhausting, always checking to see what titles are coming out that week and trying to make a trip to the comic store. I could have just ordered it online, but always good to support the local comic shop. I am not sure how an avid comic collector did this before the internet. Needless to say I was pretty excited to get my hands on this entire series.
As with most crossovers there are about five writers on this series. The only one that I had heard of was Jeff Lemire who wrote Sweet Tooth. The rest are mostly guys who have written for DC so I am not too familiar with them. I was curious about Paul Cornell as he has written quite a few novels. I always think that is very interesting to see a writer touch on different mediums, one day I hope to do that as well.
This one starts our right into the action. In fact I really thought I had missed something as Doomsday seems to appear, basically out of thin air and start opening a can of whoopass. Each issues focuses on a series of different Superman characters: Steel, Eradicator, Supergirl, Cyborg Superman, Superboy, and finally Superman himself. The scenario is almost the exact same every time, Doomsday shows up out of nowhere and starts a fight. All the supers struggle to battle the seemingly invincible monster. There are many questions that surround his ability to teleport not to mention a brand new array of powers that helps to make quick work of all the Supers. Where did Doomsday get these new powers, why is he attacking the Supers, how is able to teleport? These first issues are filled with a multitude of questions that you will have to read to get the answers.
As always I have not kept up with the DC universe for a variety of reasons. But the stories that I do read I almost always like, and this one is no exception. There is nothing extraordinary going on in this one, other than some radical fight scenes that were awesome and wildly entertaining.
I did feel that there were some elements missing, but that notion began to fade the more I turned page after page. It was kind of bizarre how the story began and slowly developed and began to give very small but subtle hints about what is going on. I had my suspensions that Braniac was behind this in some way, but I was wrong. So while you are reading this one don’t get discouraged that you don’t know what is going on, it will slowly make sense, and in the meantime sit back and watch Doomsday whoop some major ass.
The Doomsday character has always fascinated me. Growing up Superman was always this character that could fight anyone and win, I had never seen him be outmatched by any opponent. That was until Doomsday came along and completely shook things up. He was the only one that could match Superman blow for blow and keep coming back for more. That was the main reason I liked the character as he was the only one that could seemingly challenge the near perfect Superman. Which is one of the reasons I found it hard to really get into a too many of the DC storylines. I struggle to relate to their characters, especially Superman. I like Batman because he is dark and complex and seems to have many demons down deep, that is easy to get into. But being perfect and always doing the right thing, I don’t know what that is like. Another thing that really bothers me is that while reading this I realized that Superman still wore his red underwear on the outside of his tights. I mean come on, same with Batman, still had his black undies showing. I mean believe someone did not say ya know guys that looks a little cheesy. I think, and I may be wrong, but Cyclopes and Wolverine did away with their undies on the outside in the early 2000’s. I know Superman is more iconic, but for me it was really hard to take him serious knowing this series was only a couple of years old. Not sure what DC was thinking. I will say that it not until the New 52 that they changed his uniform and I think Batman’s as well. End Rant…
The only other thing I found a little off was the issue that crossed over with the Outsiders. I knew nothing about them or who they were, so I found that one a little hard to follow. But there is this whole space element that comes into play, and that I did like. That was a cool mixup that I was not expecting, plus I again did not know much about that portion of the DC universe.
By far the coolest part of this story were the fight scenes. There are so many awesome sequences that pretty much continue throughout the entire series. It was quite entertaining to watch so many battle scenes in a single story and it has been a while since I have read a superhero comic, so it was a really nice changeup.
The ending of this series continues right into Action Comics 901-904 with the series called Reign of Doomsdays. However this series ends with a special 96 page issue of Action Comics 900. This is a pretty weird issue. The main part of it finishes up the RoD story and pieces together some of the holes that needed filling in. Then there are like three mini stories that as far as I can tell have very little to do with the RoD story line. A couple of these mini-stories are neat, but I found it very odd that they were added to this issue and seemed to have nothing to do with the overall storyline. I also found AC 900 to be a bit strange overall. I did read that part of the issue did cross over with another event involving Lex Luthor so after I read that it made a little more sense. Still I think AC 900 was a bit of a mess, there were about 2 main stories that meet here that sort of have something to do with one another, then when you add in the mini-stories at the end it gets a little convoluted. The ending of the main story does get interesting and that is certainly why I picked up the sequel. I just have never seen where two story lines meet in a single issue, it sounds cool in theory but as I said it kind of felt like a mess. Still this issue is very famous because Superman renounces his US citizenship in this issue, which actually made the real news. Pretty cool.
The artwork is solid throughout the entire series. It did get a little stylized in the Batman/Superman Annual but nothing over the top. I really liked the Superboy artwork and the Outsiders artwork, both issues were very well done. I must also admit that there are some totally awesome fight scenes in both of these issues. In fact they are up there with some of the coolest I have seen, just total destruction and chaos all squeezed into a page for your eyes to try and comprehend. It is best described as mind numbing entertainment on a page. The colors are great too, some bright rich colors that jump off the page and bring the epic fight scenes to life. Then the final piece, the page layouts, creates a very wonderful graphic presentation. When all these factors come together they make for a great visual experience, one that you will not forget and will have you smiling page after page.
The other funny thing about this one is that Steel 1 is the first issues in the series. When I first saw the cover for this issue I thought it looked way cool, and knew I had to have it. But I waited around too long and could not find it at my local comic shop. So I kept it in the back of my mind for a few years until finally I was able to buy it from someone off the internet, for almost double the sale price! I even saw where a near mint condition issue was selling for $45. If you were lucky enough to have purchased Steel 1 hang on to it as it is worth some bucks, and I am not really sure why but everyone seems to want that issue. The only other thing worth mentioning is that the trade that collects these issues is called the Return of Doomsday, instead of Reign of Doomsday, not sure why they changed it but just wanted to let you know.
I recommend this one as it is one of the best all out battles in a series I have seen in a while. I love big energy blasting, super smashing, total destruction battles and this story give you one almost every page. The story is slow at first but the battles make you forget that and just keep going, with all the destruction going on you don’t have time to worry about a story. Toward the end things do get wrapped up and had me sucked in for the sequel. This is a fun read that does not take a great deal of brain power, but who cares just try to hold on!