Action Comics #23 Review
DC announced the new creative team for Action Comics: Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder, and that their run will begin with November’s Action Comics #25. Until then we have the transitional team of Scott Lobdell and Tyler Kirkham for the main story in the “Atomic Knights” arc while Frank Hannah and artist Tom Derenick continues “The World of Krypton” back-up story arc. What do I think of this issue? Find out below!
Superman and the Pax Galactica put aside their dispute to unite against the Lexus. In the back-up: Jor-El and Lara have a new ally, could they end the military coupe?
Action Comics Lobdell continues his “Atomic Knights” arc. The story felt a bit rushed. You could tell that this team and this arc is just a place-filler until the new creative team takes over. There is really no character development at all in the book. But there is plenty of action.
Lobdell tries to make Superman more “edgy” and less of the “Big Blue Boy Scout” again.
Like the last issue Lobdell walked that line of making Superman too much of a blunt instrument by having him fight pretty much everyone in this book. While it was a bit out of character for Superman to go into any battle thinking he is indestructible and invulnerable, I think Lobdell needs to ground that ego some with Superman. He isn’t Hulk, he doesn’t proclaim he “Is strongest there is!” He is that kid from the farm with humble roots and a humble personality. Lobdell needs to walk the line a little better.
Another aspect Lobdell and I think most modern writers do not fully grasp is that Superman is NOT weakened by magic. It is not like Kryptonite, it doesn’t burn him or drain him. Superman’s relationship to magic is the same as anyone’s he is affected by it as is anyone without magical/mystical defenses. If Zatanna says “noom eht ot namrepuS” Superman will be transported to the moon just as Black Canary would if she said “noom eht ot yranaC kcalB.” I understand that Superman is a hard character to write because he has few weaknesses but if you want to use magic as a means to weaken Superman then do it correctly.
What I did like was the fact that Lobdell remembered that Superman doesn’t kill. To me that is a huge thing about Superman. I took issue with this subject in my Man of Steel Review and Analysis. I really like that someone finally addressed this in a recent comic.
I’m still not really feeling Tyler Kirkham’s art. He does a good job with the Pax Galactica in the book. They all look great, each member has a different look and feel to them that you can see their personality in the art. But again this is a Superman book, and I don’t like how he draws him. His Superman looks a bit Asian to me, which doesn’t fit the character. I still feel like at times I was reading a Manga version of Superman.
The story was rushed and the art wasn’t where it needs to be when it comes to certain characters. This needed more polish on the story as well as the art. DC needed something to fill the space between the previous creative team and the upcoming one and that is what this felt like.
DC gives us more bang for our buck again with another great 8-page back-up story in this issue, written by Frank Hannah with Tom Derenick on the art. Hannah picks up “Part: 5 Fortitude” where he left off in the Superman Annual #2. This back-up story has really been the story I have enjoyed the most in the last two issues. I love the way we get these familiar characters with new twist that shows a new side to them, without taking anything from what we previously knew about them. This has really been a Lara story, even though it focuses on Jor-El, I think Lara is the character that shines. Hannah really has given this character that for the majority of Superman’s 75 years has been nothing more than window dressing, a background character and gave her a life and energy force that she has never had before. Hannah has made me fall in love with Lara. This chapter also introduces us to a major character in the Superman mythos, but I won’t spoil that for you, you have to read the book to find out who shows up.
What I didn’t like about it was that DC put Part 4 in the Superman Annual #2. Not everyone reads all things Superman like I do and some people don’t follow annuals. I also didn’t like that they didn’t mention the Teklons at all in this issue. They introduced and teased us with this new species on Krypton and then just dropped it. I hope they use them somewhere.
Derenick does another great job on the art in this issue. Just like in the last issue his art fits perfect with this arc. You can see the difference between the different sects of the Kryptonian society, the Military and the Science Council. He does great action scenes as well. I’d like to see him and Hannah do a full issue.
Like I said the back-up story has me more interested than the main story. I hope that this was like a prequel to an upcoming arc in one of the Superman titles by Hannah. I really want to see where the Teklons story goes as well as how Lara and Jor-El wind up together.
Overall, I liked this issue a lot more than I thought I would. I say pick it up. The back-up stories in DC are hit or miss with a lot of them not really interesting enough to read, but with this the back-up story is a bit better than the main one.
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 previews, reviews, news and interviews on Comic Frontline.