Reviews

Comic Review – Action Comics #42

Writer: Greg Pak
Art: Aaron Kuder
Color: Tomeu Morey, Hi-Fi and Blond
Letterer: Steve Wands
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: 7/1/15

Action 42 cover“Truth” continues in Action Comics this week as Superman takes on monsters and the Metropolis PD. That’s right, it’s Superman on one side, and the police on the other; and in the middle are Clark Kent’s friends and neighbors. Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder prepare to take us on an action-packed ride that seems to be ripped from the headlines.

WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT

Continuing from where the previous issue left off, Superman has his hands full dealing with the shadowy monster blowing up part of the city. At the same time, the nasty officer Clark clashed with when he arrived in Metropolis leads an army of armed police on “Kentville,” Clark’s former neighborhood. What follows not only is a display of true heroism and action on the part of a depowered Superman, but that of normal everyday people as they peacefully resist xenophobia and fear. But, you know what they say about good intentions….

Action 42 interiorPak gives us a Superman that shows he doesn’t need powers to be true to the character. Clark is still selfless to a fault, risking his no longer invulnerable neck to protect those who recently turned their backs on him. At the same time, new character Lee Lambert, as well as Jimmy Olsen and the citizens of “Kentville” show that same bravery by defying a heavily armed police force just itching for a
fight. For this issue, Pak seems to reach beyond fiction and into our reality  (Benjamin Percy and Patrick Zircher are doing similar things over at Green Arrow this week as well.) The action scene with the monster is well scripted, but it’s the peaceful protests by Lori, Superman, and others that are far more powerful. While it doesn’t shave points off the perfect story, the police officer in charge of the raid comes off as a two dimensional baddie, though a perfect foil for Superman and Lori. The continuing problem of needing to read another unreleased Superman book for everything to make sense is aggravating, but Action Comics is proving itself to not need the other books to get the full picture (though I think the omnibus edition will be a good thing for readers.)

Kuder gives us plenty of action to live up to the book’s name; the fight between Superman and the shadow beast is well executed, complete with shadowy tendril and shadows caused by the flames. Superman comes off as heroic as always in the fight, but most notably in his quiet defiance of the xenophobic police. It’s the protest that grabs your attention the most as it gives the story its tension and drama. Here, Superman proves it’s not the powers that make him great, but his standing up for the innocent, even if it means taking a massive beating. When combined with Pak’s script, Kuder’s art brings great depth to the characters, even if it is without a word. The three colorists help make everything pop, and help set the scene.

Action Comics continues to be a jewel in DC Comics’ crown as Pak and Kuder weave a Superman tale that is already surprising doubters with how good it is. With a “ripped from the headlines” aspect, great action, and poignant drama, this latest issue shows that Superman’s true measure is not the strength of his muscles, but the love and courage in his heart.


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About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

Contact him at danielk@wordofthenerdonline.com

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