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Batman/Superman #3.1: Doomsday #1 [Review]

foreverevildoomsday001Tales of Doom

Written by: Greg Pak
Pencils by: Brett Booth
Inks by: Norm Rapmund
Colors by: Carlos M. Mangual
Cover by: Tony Daniel, Sandu Florea and Tomeu Morey
Assistant Editor: Anthony Marques
Editor: Mike Cotton
Group Editor: Eddie Berganza
Published by: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

This issue is REALLY the entire reason I “bought into” Villains Month at all to begin with, prior to deciding to “also” check out the Cyborg Superman issue and everything snowballing from there. Doomsday is probably THE key character for me, even more than the Cyborg, when it comes to my history with Superman. Whether the actual Doomsday arc, the issue of Reign of the Supermen where the Cyborg throws his body into space, the Hunter/Prey mini-series, the Doomsday Wars mini-series, his appearance during Our Worlds At War or his “Jokerization” during Last Laugh…the creature is one that I’ve “always” taken note of. 

All that said, my initial take on this issue is extreme disappointment. Labeled Doomsday #1 for the issue, I expected actual details–of the creature, of its past, clarification of its involvement with Superman already –and perhaps something of what might yet be coming. While we do get a look at the past, with the creature inserted much more closely to Superman himself in the family history…it seems to almost “cheapen” the character, making it just another part of stuff carrying over from Krypton to plague Superman on Earth, rather than something that arrives out of nowhere or “legend” and all that.

Rather than any real background on the character or firm details of the creature’s origins, we’re given a glimpse of a past encounter with the creature involving Zod, and from Lara’s perspective.  We get some development of Zod’s history with Supergirl (Kara)…which works in context of showing the danger the creature can present, of its place in Kryptonians’ consciousness…but really does not seem to “matter” for an issue that’s supposed to “focus” on the creature. This story seems like it would be far more appropriate as an issue of Supergirl, showing her remembering what she’s learned of the creature. Though the creature’s prominence on the cover is apt, this issue doesn’t really feel like it lives up to its “title,” and certainly fails to live up to my own expectations.

Despite that, had this simply been a random issue of Supergirl and I saw the creature so prominently placed on the cover, I’d’ve likely found this a rather enjoyable “one-shot” of sorts. And with the Zod/Kara stuff, it’s seeming likely that the entirety of Villains Month MIGHT actually drive me to checking out the Supergirl title.

The story itself is solid; I do like the art in and of itself. I don’t mind the reconfiguration of the bone protrusions from Doomsday, except the cheek-horns that just look totally ridiculous to me and seem a pointless addition to the face. While I’ll read about “any” Doomsday, this is somehow probably my least-favorite of all the looks the character’s been given.

All in all…I suspect if you’re a fan of the Supergirl series, you’ll enjoy this. Ditto if you’re a fan of Pak or Booth, or just want the cover to look at. With the apparent “consolidation” of titles for this month, I don’t know where Doomsday is likely to next show up (if at all), but this issue feels like it’s pointing me to the Supergirl title. If you’re expecting to find out where Doomsday came from in-continuity of New 52 or the New 52 “past” of the creature and Superman, you’ll have to look elsewhere or stretch a between-the-lines interpretation.

As a $3.99 one-shot with the fancy 3-D cover…if you can find this at cover price (or opt for the “standard” edition or digital edition), and don’t hold high expectations (or my comments have dispelled those expectations), it’s not bad and I have to “grudgingly” admit I’d recommend it as an expectation-less standalone.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW) #26 [Review]

teenagemutantninjaturtlesidw026City Fall, part five

Story: Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow & Tom Waltz
Script: Tom Waltz
Art: Mateus Santolouco, Charles Paul Wilson III
Colors: Ronda Pattison
Leters: Shawn Lee
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Published by: IDW
Cover Price: $3.99

Mikey reconnects with his pizza pal; Donatello and April seek assistance from an old, reluctant ally; Leonardo finds himself lonely within the Foot family; Raphael solidifies an alliance with Angel and visits Casey, and Splinter fulfills his end of a deal with Old Hob.

All in all, there’s a lot going on in this issue, as we see snippets of what’s going on for a number of different parties. I’m actually reminded tonight of some of Laird‘s issues from the mid-2000s Mirage Volume 4 series, where everyone was off on their own, so any given issue might not have much for a specific character/story but would touch base briefly on a number of characters and things going on. While I would certainly like to see “more,” as a single-issue of a monthly title in the midst of its largest arc yet, this is about as good as it gets. I grouse about other publishers double-shipping titles, and yet I would–on the level of quality the TMNT books have been carrying–gladly follow a weekly series even with the $3.99 cover price.

The art is consistent and overall quite good. There are times I’m a bit distracted at the turtles’ faces, but that’s just the shaping in this depiction…it’s a bit different and slightly cartooney, yet not bad, and other than momentary distraction I really do like this visual take on the characters. The humans–and I’m struck especially by April–look great in this issue, and I’m glad this mega-arc at least is maintaining the consistent visuals (with art variances coming with the Villains Micro-Series that ties in to “current events”).

This is part 5 of City Fall, so in and of itself isn’t the best jumping-on point: the issue’s action all comes from events previously established both throughout the first four chapters of the story and the IDW TMNT continuity as a whole. However, I do believe IDW‘s keeping to the 4-issue TPBs, so this should be the first single issue after the newest TPB volume, and in that regard this would be a handy jumping on point.

Despite being only one of about 10 issues I bought this week, this was top of the stack–ahead, even, of the one DC Villains Month issue I’ve most anticipated (Batman/Superman 3.1: Doomsday #1)–and despite my intent to save the issue to read later, found myself taking an extended lunch break (the bulk of the break having been spent going to the shop to purchase all these comics) to read this issue.

TMNT is consistently one of the most anticipated issues of the month for me, and seems to always leave me having enjoyed the given issue while anxiously looking forward to getting the next issue…something that is an unfortunate rarity in this day and age.

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