Colin McKay Miller's Reviews > Superman: Return of Doomsday

Superman by Paul Cornell
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's review
Jul 05, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: graphic-novels
Read from June 27 to 30, 2012

Return of Doomsday totally sucked, but I kinda liked it anyway.

I have that boring opinion where I think Superman is boring (save for the villains and that speech in "Kill Bill 2"). However, back in 1992 when Death of Superman first came out, I wanted to know how Superchin would finally bite the dust. At 11, I didn't know that comic writers won't kill off characters for good, and that what should've been a great commentary on the loss of an American icon turned out to be a nerdy money grab. Even today, the extent of the interest I have in Doomsday is that he killed Superman—you know, at least for a little while. Beyond that, he's like a duller, dumber version of Venom (and that's saying something). And then, 19 years later, the DC writers decided to have Doomsday come back and beat up other Supermen.

Return of Doomsday is a crossover collection of the four Supermen that came after O.G. Superchin's big defeat (yup, I read those, too): There's Steel -- the black Superman who's got a hammer and a cool suit of armor like Batman or Iron Man; the Eradicator -- the dull, alien version of Superman who floats around in Bono shades; Cyborg Superman -- who's basically the Terminator dolled up in the red and blue outfit; and Super Boy -- the equivalent of Robin trying to be Batman. One of these Supermen had a crappy movie spinoff starring Shaq (I'll let you figure out which one). Anyway, Doomsday returns to fight them one by one. But wait! my brain says, Didn't Doomsday get defeated and several of these characters killed off? And there I have to stop my brain from thinking logically, because any comic book tale can be undone by alternate universes, plot resets and anything else the writers can find down the backside of their underpants. There may even be a logical answer and a timeframe that I'm missing, but honestly, it wouldn't shape my enjoyment of the story much.

All the other characters remind me that I’m outdated when it comes to comics, too. Supergirl’s going through some sad panda Goth phase, Batman isn’t Bruce Wayne, and the Bono Superman comic throws in so many new characters per panel that they're labeled as they’re introduced. They have great names like the Looker, Metamorpho and, my favorite, Black Lightning. What's next, White Coal Power? (No wait, never mind; sticking "white" and "power" in the same sentence always sounds racist.) Anyway, Return of Doomsday is actually only the first part of Doomsday’s punchfest. Considering the basic plot development of episodic superhero storylines, as this is the initial portion of the story, you know what will happen (things will look bleak for the heroes). All that said, I did enjoy the artwork—save that occasional bird’s eye view shot that makes even the most abnormally fit specimen look squat and pudgy—but yes, it’s totally lame and easy to criticize…

…and still so, so easy to enjoy. Maybe it’s just that I like seeing Superman get repeatedly punched by someone as boring as he is, or that the little pleasure zone in my brain zoiked! by comics can’t be criticized away, but there you have it. Two stars.
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