Writers: Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Artists: Adam Kubert (p), Dave Stewart (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics
I admit that when I initially heard that Mr. Johns and Mr. Donner were going to be working on Action Comics together, I expected positive results. But I didnít really expect some of the best Superman comics that Iíve ever read, and thatís just what Iíve been getting.
This storyline puts me in mind of the Donner Superman films. Itís not necessarily something palpable like the nature of the plot that causes me to feel that way. But thereís something childlike and exciting about the way these creators are portraying the Man of Steel that is reminiscent of the core ideals of who and what Superman is. Thereís something about the characterization here that hearkens back to the reasons many of us loved Superman as a kid. He is once again the champion of the oppressed and the weak, a strong and caring individual who embodies the things that we most want to see in a hero.
Briefly, in this book, Superman deals with the consequences of what he did in the previous issue (essentially, kidnapping the newest Kryptonian arrival from the U.S. government). Clark and Lois discuss what should be done with the boy, and in the middle of it all, Bizarro is sent by another arch-nemesis of Supermanís to retrieve the Kryptonian boy, with dangerous and revealing results. Also (and maybe most importantly), we find out whose son this boy really is.
As I read this issue, it became increasingly obvious that the writers simply love Superman. They donít just enjoy him, or respect him or his creators for historical reasons. Itís so refreshing to sense this just from reading a comic, and it just resounds throughout the book. For that reason, the issue is filled with vitality and enjoyment.
As I mentioned in the description above, and as you know if youíve read the previous issue of this storyline, there is a Kryptonian boy who mysteriously arrives on Earth. I confess that I have no desire for Superman to have a child, whether biological or not; but, amazingly, the concept as depicted by these creators is actually good, and it all sits well with me. (I admit, though, this is partially because Iím certain that this boy wonít be around in the Superman books for long.) Because of the circumstances of the plot, because of who and what this boy is, and, bottom line, because of who Superman is, I actually found myself wanting Superman to take this kid in under his wing. If not Superman, then who? The government? Scientists? What kind of man would he grow up to be? These questions are all concepts that have been toyed with in the Superman mythos for years, (i.e., what kind of man would Superman have been if he hadnít been raised by the Kents?) I found myself asking the same sorts of questions regarding this boy.
As a side note, also regarding the boy, there is a little homage in this issue to an iconic individual in the world of Superman that was truly moving. Iím glad the creators found a way to subtly work it into the story.
Bizarro gets a re-imagined characterization here, and I prefer it to the traditional, somewhat silly personality that he used to have. In this instance, Bizarro is actually frightening; heís practically mindless, but heís been used and basically programmed by someone else for one purpose. To achieve what heís been programmed to do, heíll do absolutely anything, and itís downright intimidating.
The pencils, as always, blew me away. Mr. Kubertís portrayal of Superman and the rest of the characters is so in tune with the style of writing, the feel of the book, that it all just clicks. The action sequences are fantastic; thereís one page in particular, in which Bizarro hurls an entire bus at Superman that I would love to have hanging on a wall in a frame. Thatís how stunning, how classic, it is. Mr. Stewartís colors are dynamic and in sync with the pencils and the atmosphere of the title.
For the first time in years, Action Comics is one of my all time favorite books to buy each month, and I couldnít be more excited to see what the next issues will bring. If youíre a Superman fan and you havenít picked up these issues, what are you waiting for? If youíre not necessarily a Superman fan but youíve always had that nagging feeling that the character should be a whole lot more awesome, now is the time to pick up this title.
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