The already controversial “Truth” arc begins in this week’s Action Comics, as Superman must face the world with his power levels have significantly decreased. With that wrinkle and a look that resembles pre Flashpoint Superboy, some Superman fans are worried that their hero is in for rocky times. Lets take a look, shall we?
Continuing from where the Divergence issue left off, Superman, now known to the world as Clark Kent, wanders to a nearby fuel station for clothes, food, and transportation. A fight with some local toughs shows he’s still a hero and he’s not as weak as some people think he is. One cross country tour home later, Superman arrives back in a Metropolis where a large amount of the population wants his head and the police are out to get him. However, Jimmy and Clark’s neighbors are glad to see him and throw a party in his honor. Of course, dark machinations are afoot….
Pak (along with Kuder, who is co-credited with the story) shows fans there is nothing to fear from “Truth.” Superman may not be as powerful as he usually is, but he is far from powerless. His fight early on with the thugs shows that, as well as revealing he’s still the honorable and heroic figure we admire by trying to defuse the situation first. It’s also nice to see him be down to Earth and celebrate with his neighbors, with the local kids happy to be with their hero. Jimmy remains the loyal friend, and we have a good mystery about who is the figure pulling the strings. We are also introduced to a new character, Lee Lambert, who besides being a Double L adds more diversity to the Superman cast.This story also marks a return to Superman’s Golden Age power levels, and its interesting to see Superman with those limits, even if they were explored somewhat in Grant Morrison’s run on the title. He might not be flying, but seeing him leap tall buildings in a single bound is Fleisher style fun. Unfortunately, in this issue, the bad guys consist mainly of random hicks and evil cops, as well as the mysterious figure behind the scenes. While a threat to Superman presently, it is a tad generic. The story also depends on issues not yet released, making the publication order seem weird. While it might make sense in the eventual gigantic omnibus trade, here it comes off as weird. It’s still an excellent story, though.
Kuder’s art remains top notch. Superman may look like a brawler, but his exuberance at the little things shows he’s still Big Blue to his core. The characters are emotive, and the backgrounds gives us wonderful views of both pristine wilderness and the canyons of Metropolis. The new look of Superman actually looks pretty cool, and it helps him with his new persona as “Man of the People”. The colors by Morey and Hi-Fi makes everything pop, giving a brightness and energy that suits Superman perfectly.
Just some slight story hiccups, mainly dealing with the timeline keep this from being an absolutely perfect tale. Superman may be depowered, but he is certainly not powerless. This marks the beginning to the “Truth” arc, and if the quality of this book can be kept across all titles for this crossover, this might be a tale worthy of the Man of Steel for years to come.
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