The first collected edition of John Byrne’sDoomsday.1 is out. Included within are the first four issues of the Armageddon series. Does the book hold up in the vast array of post-apocalyptic stories? Find out below!
Discovering that an unusually deadly solar flare on the sun’s surface will erupt and destroy the majority of life on Earth, the crew members of an international space station are forced to watch from above as devastation begins. Able to abandon their ship in time before the flare obliterates them as well, the surviving astronauts must learn to adapt to a ruined planet. As they seek refuge and other survivors, the group encounters various obstacles along the way — especially from other human beings.
Let me start with the positives. Doomsday.1 surely has its moments: the urgent intensity of the first issue as we meet the characters and learn of Earth’s impending doom; the heartbreaking close-ups of grieving individuals; the grim panels showcasing citywide destruction. Leonard O’Grady’s coloring is also spot on with dark and murky shading displayed throughout the entirety of the book in order to capture the eerie, sad, and catastrophic tone; however, there is just too much that doesn’t hold up.
From the very first issue, it seemed as though the main group of astronauts would be well developed; there was a whole lot of potential to explore each individual’s mental state from the moment Armageddon began and onward. Unfortunately, characterization completely fell flat. I think the main reason why this ended up being the case are due to the massive time jumps. Months go by between the end of one issue to the start of the next. The events that took place during the gaps in time are only briefly discussed before a new threat arises that needs to be dealt with over the course of 25 pages. There is literally no time for character or story growth.
I like post-apocalyptic tales. I think that such stories can excel through great character depth and a strong vision. Doomsday.1, however, did not follow through on the promises of the first issue. I suppose this one was doomed from the very beginning.
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