Losing his Justice League seat to Lex Luthor isn't the only big thing coming for Superman in April. Readers will also find out what happens in the New 52 when Superman battles Doomsday.
And no… readers shouldn't be so sure that Superman has already been killed by the villain.
Charles Soule, writer of Superman/Wonder Woman, indicates that the previous mentions of Superman's "death" at the hands of Doomsday in the New 52 were misleading (and the quotes around "death" are his). He implies that Superman's revamped mega-fight with Doomsday isn't in the past of the New 52, but might actually be in the universe's future.
In a storyline that begins in Action Comics, Superman/Wonder Woman, and Superman, the Super-writers are re-shaping the battles between Doomsday and Superman. Soule is working on the Doomsday story with Superman writer Scott Lobdell and Action Comics writer Greg Pak.
(It's worth noting that Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis, who's writing a digital Adventures of Superman story for DC, revealed last year that he was approached by DC to work with Pak on a weekly, year-long series to reboot the death and return of Superman. He declined the opportunity, but you can see him explain it at right here.)
Soule also indicates that the story will cross through the Superman universe, involving other characters, and will lead into this summer's plans for Superman.
"Superman's due for a real, big, universe-shattering story, and this is certainly that," Soule said.
Readers have already seen a very cryptic sequence related to a "prophesy" about the battle between Doomsday and Superman in the New 52 — as told in Pak's Batman/Superman #3.1: Doomsday, which was part of September's Villains Month.
Although that sequence wasn't necessarily factual — because it was only a story told by Zor-El to his daughter on Krypton — readers were shown that other heroes "rise" to take Superman's place after his death, including Supergirl, Power Girl, Superboy and Steel.
Since that September issue, Doomsday has been playing a role in Superman/Wonder Woman, which was launched in October. Soule showed a fight between Doomsday and Wonder Woman, and has featured the mystery of the villain's appearance at the center of his new series.
Soule, who's also working on Red Lanterns and Swamp Thing for DC (along with several titles at other publishers), talked to Newsarama about what we can expect from the upcoming Superman story with Doomsday, and whether he and other writers are shaping a new version of the "Death and Return of Superman."
Newsarama: Charles, are you guys all working together on this story? Do the various Doomsday issues in April go together?
Charles Soule: We've been working on this together for months to build a cohesive and really cool storyline across a number of Superman group books.
Nrama: So is it longer than just April — it's several months? And does it touch more Super-books than just those we see in April?
Soule: It goes for quite awhile. I don't want to say it's a certain number of issues, because what we're doing is leaving it open and making sure there's enough room for the story we want to tell. It's very, very big. It goes through the late spring and summer.
It crosses through a number of books. And we're going to look at the effect of Doomsday appearance on all the different characters.
The fun thing about the Superman group is that we have a lot of different elements of Superman, with Superman/Wonder Woman, it's about, in part, his relationship with Wonder Woman. So we'll see how Doomsday returning affects that. And all the other books have their own spin on it too.
Nrama: Ah, so is this the next big thing for Superman?
Soule: It doesn't get much bigger than this. I mean, Doomsday is certainly where we're starting, but there's a lot more that's involved with it, and it's going to put Superman, his entire supporting cast, and a lot of the rest of the DCU through the ringer.
And that's the idea. Superman's due for a real, big, universe-shattering story, and this is certainly that.
Nrama: You've had Wonder Woman and Superman investigating Doomsday since issue #1 of your book. Why did this villain in particular make sense for Superman/Wonder Woman? Or was it just the idea of kicking off the comic with a "big" villain?
Soule: Well, it's certainly the appeal of kicking off a Superman series with one of the biggest villains from Superman's history. You want to do something big if you can.
But also, the Doomsday and Death and Return of Superman story was a big deal in my own personal superhero fandom, back in the day. And so being able to do my spin on it, and touch on it in a way that was, hopefully, cool was a really great thing back then, and now being able to do it in a more thorough way is even better.
Nrama: Did Superman die before in the New 52? Wasn't that alluded to in Grant Morrison's Action Comics?
Soule: Right. Well, the truth is, if you look back at those issues, there was a lot of crazy stuff going on back then, between [Mister] Mxyzptlk and everything else that was going on.
So I think there are a lot of open questions about Superman and Doomsday and his (quote/unquote) “death.” And we will do our best to answer some of them — probably not all of them, but some of them in this story.
Nrama: You said your title is going to deal with how this affects Wonder Woman. Can you tell us anything about how the dynamic between Wonder Woman and Superman is challenged or affected by Doomsday?
Soule: As we move into the second arc of Superman/Wonder Woman, some really crazy things happen in issues #5 and #6, which will be coming up very soon. The strength of Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship will be tested, and they'll be forced to evaluate how they feel about each other.
In the Doomsday story, we're going to see that extrapolated. Some really interesting things happen to both characters, which I wish I could just tell you right now, but I'm not going to spoil them. But they're really cool. And so, what this is about is — relationships are ultimately about learning more about the person you're actually with over time, because nobody is 100 percent themselves in the first blush of a relationship, right? As you learn more, people start to be a little more real about themselves. So we start to see that with these two.
And at that point, the question is, do I like the person who he or she actually is, as much as I did when we were just running around and having crazy adventures in the beginning of this?
So that is a big theme that is going to run through the book over the second arc. Not to say that they don't. You know, another good thing about relationships is that you can change and continue to deepen things and continue to like each other.
It's been fun to write them as a real, mature couple - not as just these people giggling and flying around. It's been interesting, and that's what I plan to continue to do with the second arc.
Nrama: Then to finish up, how's it been working with Tony Daniel?
Soule: Tony and I — whenever you work with a new artist, and at this point I've been lucky to work with a lot of new artists over the spread of the books I've been working on, and I don't mean new to the business; I mean new to me — you take a little while before things start to hum, sometimes. You have to understand them as people and as creative people and as artists before you it all clicks. And I think that's a two-way street. And I think that Tony and I have absolutely reached that point. We text each other and talk a lot about different beats in the stories, and we're trying to figure out how to execute things in cool ways.
I'm very excited about the things to come and what we'll be doing on the story going forward.