A research mission consisting of three individuals enter the Phantom Zone and fight bad guy before narrowly finding their way out. Sounds like the Frankenstein storyline in Futures End, no? Unlike Futures End though, you won’t have to read seven different issues to find out what happens to this crew because Batman/Superman  neatly encapsulates this story in one issue.

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I should first tell you that this isn’t a continuation of the previous issue, nor is it part of the next story arc in #12. If Jae Lee’s cover throws you off with the main characters taking center-stage surrounded by ambiance of some sort and you think this issue is continuing the first arc in the series, you’re not alone. Issue #12 will pick up with that story. As for this one, you’re getting a continuation of the Superman Doomed crossover between Action Comics, Superman/Wonder Woman, and Superman. So if you don’t plan on reading the rest of the crossover, I can safely say this issue is not a must-buy. Now, on to the issue at hand.

Greg Pak and the other writers of Superman Doomed have done a good job keep the reader abreast of what’s going on with the opening Daily Planet page. So if you haven’t picked up the previous issues you can rest assured you’re not missing any important details needed to read this issue. Basically, Superman defeated Doomsday and breathed in Doomsday’s leftover spores which seem to be affecting Superman in a very negative way. Batman, Wonder Woman and Steel have all converged on The Fortress of Solitude to figure out a cure for Superman. Steel hangs out in the fortress while Batman, Wonder Woman, and Krypto enter the Phantom Zone.

There is a common thread Greg Pak weaves through this entire issue and it’s not too different than those 90’s WWJD braclets: everyone -Bruce included- keeps asking themselves, “What would Superman do?” This line of thinking helps makes this issue truly a Batman/Superman title because Superman stays in your mind the whole time you’re reading.

Over the course of our heroes’ journey into the Phantom Zone they encounter several baddies.

Spoiler
First, Mongul (Batman is quick to make it known he helped put him there) and Non of Krypton appear. They are holding a rift in the walls of the Phantom Zone that Doomsday may have broken through. Wonder Woman shows her strength and closes it for them. Battle ensues until Ghost Soldier comes to Batman’s rescue. After Ghost Soldier proves he’s not an immediate threat, our heroes find Xa-Du who is none-too-happy to see them. Again, battle ensues.
It is through each threat that we get to understand where Doomsday came from, kind of, and witness Batman and Wonder Woman get closer to understanding how to help Superman. Our takeaway from this issue is this:

  • Doomsday escaped the Phantom Zone.
  • Batman, Wonder Woman, and Steel have detained a villain who can help them fix Superman.
  • Everyone is thinking of you, Clark.

The pencils are handled by three capable artists in this issue. Each one does a good job at showing us what’s going on, but the differences between styles make the issue feel a bit disjointed. Almost like how one would feel in the Phantom Zone: just not quite right. Overall I feel good about each artist, however, I would have preferred to see only one illustrate the entire issue.

Recommended if:

  • You are following Superman Doomed
  • You love Greg Pak writing Batman’s inner monologue
  • You enjoy seeing a Wonder Woman/Batman team up

Overall

It is another good chapter in the Superman Doomed crossover. It pushes the story along, threading important themes in Bruce’s inner monologue. This issue does a great job of making us feel like the Doomsday virus is a threat as well as tugging on our emotional ties to Superman via our love for Bruce. Artwork is slightly disjointed but it only detracts from the story minimally.

SCORE: 6/10

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