Last month, DC released a teaser with the dripping logo from the 1992 storyline "Death of Superman" along with the slogan, "Doomsday Will Reign!"
It turns out that DC was promoting the return of Doomsday, the villain who killed Superman. Doomsday will be back in a four-part story starting in January's Steel #1 by DC newcomer Steve Lyons and artist Ed Benes. The story will continue in Outsiders #37, Justice League of America #55, and Superboy #6.
The news led most fans to believe that the story will focus on the characters involved in Reign of the Supermen, the story that followed Superman's death and introduced four potential replacements for the Kryptonian hero.
Steel, Superboy and the Eradicator, who stars in Outsiders, are three of the four potential replacements who were introduced in Reign of the Supermen. The fourth was Cyborg Superman, who became a DCU supervillain.
Doomsday's role in the upcoming issues hasn't been explained by DC. In fact, the publisher released solicitations with misleading descriptions -- including naming Metallo as the villain in Steel #1.
To clarify what's coming, Newsarama talked with Lyons, whose working relationship with Action Comics writer Paul Cornell seems to have gotten him the attention of DC editors. And as we talked over what's coming in Steel #1, it became clear that the events of Reign of the Supermen will be important to the return of Doomsday.
Newsarama: Steve, when you were first approached for this writing gig, did you know you'd be bringing back Doomsday in this story?
Steve Lyons: No, I had no idea. I wrote the story that was originally solicited for this issue — the one with Metallo. Then, everything changed, and suddenly, for my first DC Comics script, I was kicking off a major crossover event — which is both exciting and a little bit terrifying.
Nrama: Are you coordinating the return of the villain with other writers in the DCU?
Lyons: Not really, to be honest. My editors — Matt Idelson and Wil Moss — have been doing all the hard work! They've been making sure the story fits together across the various titles. I've just been taking notes from them about what I need to include in my script, things that will pay off down the line.
Nrama: How did you find out about the opportunity to write Steel #1? And what did you think of the project?Lyons: I was approached out of the blue. I've been trying to break into DC Comics for years, so I was bowled over to suddenly get an email from them asking me to pitch something. I have Paul Cornell to thank, I believe, for mentioning my name. We've been friends for a long time, and have worked on Doctor Who novels and audios together.
Nrama: How will Doomsday's return and Steel's role tie into what happened in Reign of the Supermen?
Lyons: I wrote the script for Steel #1 with a copy of Reign of the Supermen on my desk. I was very aware of Doomsday's role in Steel's origin story, and I wanted to use that. As for why Doomsday is coming after Steel now... well, actually, even I don't know the full answer to that! I'm sure everything will become clear...
Nrama: Steel has been through a lot over the years. What's his status now? And what's his role in the DCU as we pick up this story?
Lyons: In many ways, Steel is back where he started. No alien armor. No superpowers. He still lives in Metropolis, and runs the Iron Works foundry. His niece, Natasha, is still an important part of his life. Our aim with this special - and the arrival of Doomsday hasn't changed this - was never so much to launch Steel in a new direction, but rather to nail the basics and remind people what's so cool about the character.
Nrama: How are you approaching Steel's character in this story?
Lyons: I think the most important thing about John Henry Irons is that he's a self-made man. He's a gifted scientist, sure, but most of all he's determined to succeed. He dragged himself up to where he is now — to becoming a hero who can stand shoulder to shoulder with Superman. He's also guided by a strong moral code. He always does the right thing, and he expects the same from the people around him.
Nrama: The original solicitations said that Metallo was the villain in this story, but now that it's been revealed that it's Doomsday, is there no Metallo?
Lyons: No Metallo anymore, I'm afraid. I think Doomsday's quite enough for Steel to be dealing with.
Nrama: Will Steel's role in the story continue into the other issues involved in the story? Or is he pretty much relegated to this one issue?
Lyons: Um. that would be telling, I think.
Nrama: Fair enough. Then let's talk about the art on this book. The original solicitation had Sean Chen on this issue?
Lyons: Unfortunately, Sean isn't drawing the book any more. The revised schedule interfered with his other work. However, we have Ed Benes on board instead. I've just seen a few pages so far, but I'm really excited about them.
Nrama: DC readers are very familiar with Ed Benes' work. But where else can we see your comics? Are you working on other projects?
Lyons: Comics: I've been working on the BBC's Doctor Who Adventures magazine, which
is aimed at younger readers. Superhero stuff: I wrote three X-Men novels for BP Books, and short stories featuring Spider-Man, the Hulk and the Avengers. Other stuff: Doctor Who, Warhammer and Micronauts novels, Doctor Who and Stargate SG-1 on audio.
Nrama: Then to finish up, Steve, is there anything else you want to tell fans about Steel #1?
Lyons: Doomsday Will Reign!