This week DC presents us with yet another new comic with a strange premise, Doomed by Scott Lobdell. In Doomed, a “Metropolis U student gains the power to transform into the monstrously powerful Doomsday! The power may be the key to fixing his life, but every time he transforms he risks getting stuck forever as Superman’s most heinous adversary! How far can he go before he’s doomed?”
And is it good?
Doomed #1 (DC Comics)
This is essentially the origin story of how a guy by the name of Reiser’s life got flipped, turned upside down. After waking up as a monster with the powers of Doomsday, he flashes back on the last twelve hours and wonders how he got to this point. It all connects back to his new job at S.T.A.R. Labs and a moment of pure stupidity.
This entire issue is basically the origin story of how Reiser became the thing referred to as Doomed (an odd name to be sure) and a quick glimpse at his normal, everyday life. While it’s disappointing that we really don’t get to see how this character acts after the incident or much excitement at all really (the issue is rather quiet and slow going), as a first issue this isn’t too bad. Lobdell does a good job of establishing Reiser, painting him as an enthusiastic and likable young man. There’s enough here to connect with Reiser and empathize with the situation he’s landed in. Doomed #1 feels like one of those old Marvel superhero origin comics from the ’60s, which gives it a very fun, nostalgic vibe on top of it all.
I think the dog might need bigger teeth first before braces.
Other than that, Doomed #1 feels a bit lacking in areas. It’s a character-focused issue, so there’s not much attention given to the story as a result. However, due to not much happening for most of the issue (it’s just seeing Reiser in his daily life) there’s no real excitement or energy throughout; it feels like the comic could have had a bit more story or focus on his Doomsday/monster side to liven things up. Also, there are some plot points that feel a bit too coincidental or rather dumb in how they are handled. Probably the most notable one to me is how Reiser ended up transforming into a monster: he takes off his radiation helmet in a radiated room just so he could breathe better and because he forgot where he was. What the hell?
Lobdell’s writing here seems a lot better than his usual output, though it still suffers from a few problems. Again, his characterization is pretty solid when it comes to the main character and hopefully it will extend to the supporting cast as time goes on. The dialogue and narration are decent and don’t really feel all that stilted, though neither are particularly memorable. The pacing is fine, but the story structure has some issues when it comes to story flow and transitioning. The comic does do a lot of abrupt cuts between scenes and panels that are kind of jarring at times. Also, the comic has a couple of unintentionally funny moments throughout that do kind of cut into the tone of the book, like the origin circumstances I mentioned in the previous paragraph or Clarice’s under reaction in the final panel.
I wonder how one gets a straitjacket onto a dinosaur in the first place.
Javier Fernandez is the artist for the comic and he does a pretty decent job. Outside of some funny and goofy looking reactions at points and the fact that some female characters have similar faces, his characters are drawn well. While the scripting is probably to blame for some flaws, the layouts are fine and the locations and areas within the story are depicted well. The biggest thing to mention is the design of Doomed, which is rather unremarkable. He doesn’t look a thing like Doomsday like the solicits say and there’s no eye-catching visual area to his form that is interesting. Maybe we need to see him in action first to see if some more intriguing design elements come into play, but so far it doesn’t seem like a striking design, especially given the infamy behind Doomsday.
Is It Good?
Doomed #1 is a comic that isn’t as bad as it looks or seems, but it’s not great either. It’s a decent effort, presenting a classically-structured and familiar style origin story for a super-powered being. It does a great job of introducing the main character and it shows some promise, but it feels like it needs more before it can become something truly great. Maybe hold off a bit until the second issue arrives and see what the series has in store.