Action Comics #21 ReviewBy: Jay
Tony S. Daniel is back with the last part of the Andy Diggle plotted/Daniel scripted “Hybrid” story arc. As everyone knows by now, Diggle and Daniel were supposed to be the post-Morrison Action Comics creative team. But before their first issue hit stores, Diggle left under unknown circumstances, leaving Daniel on the book as artist and writer using Diggle’s plot as a template. After this issue Daniel leaves Action Comics and we may never know what their run would truly have been like.
Once again this story is taking place a year before the present day DCU. This issue picks up a little while after the ending of the last issue. Superman battles the new Hybrid with help from Dr. Veritas. Lex decides to engage Superman in his battle suit while Lois goes after the story. In the back-up: on Krypton Lara resists the military coup and escapes, while the Colonel’s men zero in on Jor-El.
Like I said in my review of Action Comics #20, I usually don’t review consecutive issues of a series. I like to mix it up so I can showcase more books on the shelves and hopefully bring attention to a series that may be under the radar. But due to my love of Superman and the controversy surrounding Diggle's sudden departure, I am going to keep reviewing this series for a few more issues to see where the new creative team takes the title.
Like the last issue, you can see that while this story may use the general theme that Diggle presented in the sole issue he penned, that story was altered to fit in with editorial mandates. This is a more solid issue than the previous. The focus is more evenly balanced between character and action. You can tell that Action Comics #19 was Daniel trying to shorten a larger arc and to take it from where it was to where it was required to be. The pacing was much better in this issue making it an overall better read.
While it still isn’t as good as issue #19, Daniel did manage to bring the feel of the characters that Diggle presented to us in that issue. We see the Superman that we knew and love from the pre New 52 DCU alive in well in this book. Just a few lines makes all the difference. Superman’s reaction in this book is true to the character that fans have looked up to for the past 75 years. He’s not dangling people from high rises and dropping them to intimidate them No, he is standing his ground to protect the innocent no matter the cost to himself. That is Superman, and that is what Daniel gives you in this issue.
As always Daniel delivers nothing short of perfection with the art. He conveys emotion, action, power and strength in each and every panel. His panels convey the story on their own. The art works in perfect tandem with the story in telling an overall piece. Lois is just gorgeous to look at, but she looks tough enough to be climbing into a crater and facing down any threat to get the scoop. Every panel is a delight to look at.
DC gives us another back-up story in this issue to justify the cover price of $3.99, but this time they drop two pages making this only a 6-page back-up written by Frank Hannah with Phillip Tan returning for the art. Hannah picks up “Part: 2 Dissension” where Lobdell left off in the last issue. The story has an even flow, so the writing styles don’t clash. Some people don’t like this back-up story, but I am really enjoying it. This is a new look at Lara. She has always been so defined by her relationship to the men she is connected to that it is a nice change to see her being an independent woman who stands up for herself and her beliefs. In this chapter the story is more focused on Lara and the coup and pushed Jor-El’s role as a back-up story, to the back-up story. I think they should have kept those two pages and used them to show us more with Jor-El.
Just like the last chapter of this story Tan has some really great art. not as polished as Daniel’s but he does a great job. His Krypton is a really interesting world that I want to see more of.
That is what I think about this book. Let us know what you think about the book, and about this Action Comics arc in the comments. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter to know whenever we post more reviews, news and previews on Comic Frontline.