There’s so much I find fascinating about Vaneta Rogers’s Newsarama interview with Steel #1 writer Steve Lyons that I hardly know where to begin. I suppose I’ll start by saying that there’s a lot to be excited about in the comic, which kicks off DC’s “Reign of Doomsday” event. For example, I’ve long argued that Steel is one of the most undervalued characters and designs in DC’s pantheon. Iron Man’s powers, Thor’s hammer, Superman’s cape, and an African-American folk hero’s name? That’s pure gold. And seriously, what a great design: The Alex Garner cover to the issue — itself part of DC’s genuinely awesome iconic-cover line-up for the month of January — is practically payoff enough. Plus, in a genre often (and accurately) decried for its lack of strong non-white heroes, John Henry Irons is an armor-clad, hammer-wielding, ‘S’-shield-wearing super-genius whose role in Metropolis’s scientific and business community is basically “the anti-Lex.” Tough to top that.
Similarly, at nearly two decades’ remove from the controversial “Death of Superman” storyline, I’m much better able to appreciate Doomsday him/itself. He’s no longer just the out-of-the-blue newcomer who got to deliver the coup de grace to the Man of Steel over more “deserving” villains like Lex Luthor (and set sales records in the process). Rather, he is to the villainous side of the superhero genre what the Hulk is to its heroic half: The power fantasy in its purest form, i.e. giant unstoppable guy pounds the crap out of everyone in his way. On an inner-eight-year-old level, that’s a thing of beauty. And remember how in his original appearances he slowly shedded a Kirbyesque jumpsuit-and-goggles look to reveal badass bone spikes and claws jutting out of every possible place on his body? He’s basically a microcosm of the direction of the entire superhero genre from that period, a walking symbol of ’90s excess at its boldest and best. Finally, in story terms, he accomplished the pinnacle achievement for any DCU villain: He killed Superman! Okay, so he got better, but still. As I believe Geoff Johns has argued, Doomsday’s name alone should scare the crap out of every character in the DC Universe. As such he’s a terrific basis for a crossover event.
The villain will return in the Steel one-shot, one of several “iconic” one-shots that month. The story will continue in Outsiders #37, JLA #55 and Superboy #6, and will presumably conclude in a fifth, as-yet-unnamed comic.
“Doomsday is one of the most popular villains in Superman’s canon of foes,” said DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras, “He injects a feeling of dread and chaos into the DC Universe that few other characters can.” Doomsday last appeared in Action Comics #871, where, after he was apparently beaten to death by Superman, Supergirl and a host of Kandorians, his body was given to Lex Luthor to make improvements.
Update: If you check DC’s solicitations today for Outsiders #37, you’ll see that this storyline is called “Reign of Doomsday” and is setting up “an explosive summer event.”
Is this a case of good-natured ribbing from one publisher to another, or should readers expect dueling deaths — make that “deaths” — of two of the best-known superheroes? (Move over, Batman and Captain America — it’s Superman and Spider-Man’s turn!) Or DC could simply be hinting that Doomsday will (again) awaken following the events of the recent “New Krypton” storyline.
Of course, those aren’t the only possibilities. Speculation already has turned to a “Death of Superman” Absolute Edition and a Legion of Super-Heroes arc.
The bloody Superman logo debuted in November 1992 on the black bag that encased Superman #75, the conclusion of the blockbuster “Death of Superman” crossover that saw the deaths of the Man of Steel and Doomsday, the killing machine from Krypton’s distant past.