Title: Action Comics, Issue #957
Author: Dan Jurgens
Artists: Patrick Zircher
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 8, 2016
After Lex Luthor announces that he will be Metropalis’ new protector, bearing the S shield on his chest, Clark Kent, from the pre-New 52 universe, could no longer stay in the shadows any longer and decides to make his presence known. Despite having any no proof of Lex Luthor being a villain, Clark cannot let him possibly disgrace the honor and memory of this world’s Superman. As the confrontation ensues, it appears there is a familiar, glasses-wearing face in the crowd, one that will leave readers puzzled.
If readers are familiar of how most of Superman and Lex Luthor’s encounters are like, then this comic will refreshingly feel nostalgic, where Lex is keeping face with the public, but Superman sees through his dishonest facade.
The pacing and structured is wonderful with the comic showing readers the current status of Clark and his family, Clark’s motivation to come out of the shadows, a fight that does not take up too much of the comic, but still well-paced, and several plot threads that will probably be explored throughout the series run.
There are several plot threads that are sprinkled throughout this first issue, they raise a great deal of enticing questions and they will most likely pan out and be explored throughout the series newly restored run. The most exciting and the most puzzling of all of these plot threaded mysteries is the return of the allegedly deceased New 52 Clark Kent, whom readers of the main Superman book may recall seeing perish right before pre-reboot Superman’s eyes. All of this combined with the action, the nostalgic feeling of a basic Lex and Superman confrontation, pre-reboot Superman introduction into the public eye, the action, and several other unanswered questions makes this well paced story a very great first issue story-wise.
This comic does contain story details from Superman: Rebirth and DC Universe: Rebirth, however, the story is not too confusing, and it does help to explain a few plot details so readers are not lost.
Superman might seem a bit brash, quick to accuse, and antagonizing, even if it is toward Lex Luthor; however, the look Lex gives Superman does help cement the idea that he is indeed up to no good, so Clark does not seem too paranoid.
Luthor is still portrayed as his usual calm business man who offers much, but his dialogue naturally feels disingenuous, especially when referring to the allegedly dead Superman, and, as usual, he just endues untrustworthiness with every word. He, throughout the New 52, has been a character who is hard to judge, however, even the readers can feel suspicion towards Luthor, especially when he talks about working with the Justice League as if he is a humanitarian. It is almost hard to miss after a single read to see a glimmer of Luthor’s underhanded intent, however, one smirk, some choice words, and an act of retaliation to Superman was enough to suggest he does have an agenda.
The vast majority of the art by Patrick Zircher is bright and vibrant, which goes along nicely with the feeling of excitement in scenes, such as when, Clark uses his heat vision to shave his beard, or when he flies from his home all suited up and his is son cheering him on, or when seeing Superman and Luthor trade blows and readers can see everything clearly.
The inking on the comic might seem a bit off or too darkened in some spots, however, for the majority of the comic looks rather balanced, it helps to add some detail but without being obstructive.
However, if there was ever a flaw in this comic, it would be the introduction of Superman’s new outfit. Aside from the fact that Superman still has his classic suit in storage and this new outfit’s existence, the appearance of the new super suit is questionable. One advantage this super suit has over the New 52 version, introduced in 2011. is that there is an absence of redundant armor and there is a return of traditional spandex. Although, the big questionable, if not enhanced, flaw is that the suit is deprived of even more red by removing the color from Superman’s boots. This aesthetic choice makes the suit looks bland and makes the color scheme even more unbalanced. While it is nice to see Superman back in spandex, the suit is still questionable.
This first issue is exciting with pre-reboot Superman stepping out of the shadows, few unanswered questions to be explored, and the ending might keep readers on board just to see how that fight will end. Despite Superman being quick to accuse Luthor, it is clear that he is up to something given his dialogue and actions. It really does feel like a classic Superman and Lex Luthor confrontation. The return of the original numbering, while an odd choice, is still a cute little nod and a nice continuation of the pre-New 52 Action Comics run, which fit with the intent of the Rebirth event, including elements from the previous continuity and into the New 52.
The real Superman steps out of the shadows
A well-paced and exciting story as Superman makes his introduction into the public eye in order to prevent Luthor from parading around as the city’s new protector. The issue brings up so many questions that will no doubt be enacting plot threads for future stories. If readers miss Superman calling out Lex on his two-faced, businessman schemes, then this will surely be entertaining.
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