The Doomed story line continues after the somewhat less than stellar one-shot and the uneven “Infected” arc that ran through Action #31, Superman/Wonder Woman #8, Batman/Superman #11, and Superman #31. Fortunately, Greg Pak has been one of the shining lights of this cross-book story line, and he continues to show us why with Action #32 which begins the “Enemy of the State” story
The Doomed story line really depends on the reader believing that the Doomsday virus that has infected Superman has changed him from the big blue Boy Scout that we’re use to into a dangerous individual who has begun to doubt his own ability to keep his growing rage under control. Pak’s command of the character really helps to sell this aspect of the story, and pushes it farther in this issue as Clark continues to let his “humanity” slip away in the wake of the virus.
This is an issue that’s jam-packed with so many different characters that it easily could have become a confusing mess under a less skilled writer. But Pak somehow manages to include short, poignant scenes with a variety of Superman’s allies, including Lana Lang and Wonder Woman, who have a fun telephone conversation with each other, as well as Steel and the “newly reformed” Lex Luthor, whose characterization here is excellent. In just a few short scenes, Pak is able to illustrate that Luthor has apparently turned a new leaf following the conclusion of Forever Evil, and seems intent on living up to his promise to help the members of the Justice League and their allies whenever and wherever they need it.
Another nice touch in this issue is the inclusion of some characters dating back to Grant Morrison’s run on the title at the beginning of the New 52 launch in 2011. One of these characters in particular has a very interesting and almost touching scene with Lois Lane, and also acts as a plot point to illustrate how Superman is fighting to retain what makes him a paragon of goodness even as his psyche and his body are losing the battle to the Doomsday virus.
The only disappointing part of this issue is that regular series artist Aaron Kuder did not illustrate or ink it; his shoes are filled by Scott Kolins this time around. And, to his credit, Kolins does a very solid job with most of the issue. In particular, his depiction of Steel looks fantastic, and there’s a really nicely done scene with Lana Lang in a makeshift military hospital in Smallville that is extremely detailed and laid out very well. For some reason, however, his facial work for Lois Lane and Wonder Woman was actually a bit difficult to tell apart (yes they both have long black hair but the similarity should really end there). Also, the opening page with a close-up shot of Superman is oddly more cartoon-like than the rest of the book, and not a great way to open the book, especially considering the rest of the interior art which is actually a decent replacement for Kuder.
Pak continues to deliver his excellent storytelling skills to help the Doomed story line become one of the better cross-title arcs from DC in recent history, and also turn Action into one of the better titles from DC.