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Avg Rating: 3.3
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Written by STEVE LYONS

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

As a comics reader who was collecting long before 1992’s Death of Superman, who’s been reading continuously since then and who plans to keep reading for the foreseeable future, I am always interested in what creators do as they revisit iconic storylines.  Whether you liked it or hated it, it’s difficult to deny almost 20 years later that the Death of Superman storyline and its successor Reign of the Supermen aren’t iconic.  The major heroes and villains introduced in the stories (Steel, the Eradicator, Superboy – can’t count Hank Henshaw who was introduced before becoming the Cyborg Superman) are all still appearing in comics today. 

My interest in the new Reign of Doomsday storyline seems driven more by connection to the past than by a strong desire for the story itself.  I haven’t been reading ifanboy or Comic Book Resources in hopes of a sequel and felt that Jurgens did a great job putting Doomsday to bed with his Superman/Doomsday prestige format series several years back.

Yet we all know it’s hard to keep a good(?) character down, so Doomsday is back in Steel #1 taking on John Henry Irons with a bit of John’s niece Natasha thrown in by writer Steve Lyons in a nice nod to the fact that Natasha herself adopted the Steel persona for awhile (and was Starlight for a bit and then Vaporlock in Lex Luthor’s Everyman Project, but all is forgiven, right?).  Lyons creates what feels a bit like an editorial driven Part One to the Reign of Doomsday story that plays out pretty much by-the-book.  Steel narrates the story, takes on Doomsday, saves some innocents and… well, we don’t know.  Gotta read the next part, right (though as it’s coming up in Outsiders, a title I dropped a few months back, I don’t know that I will)?

Lyons has a nice feel for John Henry and the character’s voice sounds authentic, but the issue becomes very action driven very quickly.  There is little time for reflection by Steel before he engages Doomsday for a fight in which he is sure to be overmatched.  The fight sequence is fairly straightforward, with a moment of surprise but an end that was intentionally telegraphed by Lyons from the first panel.  It’s an interesting choice, but doesn’t, necessarily, lead to an interesting comic.

Ed Benes is on art and his work feels a little rushed here.  I normally enjoy Benes (though his predilection for cheesecake shots can be a bit tiresome) mainly because he is a master of detail.  There is very little detail here and some panels are completely without backgrounds.  He nails the Hero Shots of Steel going into battle and a number of panels have some power, but, on the whole, the art feels a bit like the issue overall: hurriedly assembled.

As an intro to a storyline that will ask me to purchase titles I don’t normally, the issue fails.  I am not particularly enticed to get the next issue of Outsiders to see how the Eradicator reacts to Doomsday’s return, though the concept of going from one replacement Superman to the next is a pretty good one.

And my pull list next week is pretty light, so who knows?  There was nothing in this issue that was a complete train wreck, though nothing, either, that really repels me.

Story: 3 - Good
Art: 2 - Average

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