I’m a believer that Superman should always be a beacon of hope and an example that people could aspire to be themselves. For that reason I was not a big fan of the New 52 Superman as for me a darker broodier Superman just does not work. When DC realized that a Superman who was a bit of a jerk was not working they fixed their mistake. They didn’t even try to fake it and tweak the New 52 version, they just killed him off and gave us back the real Superman. The real Superman was once again married to Lois Lane and they have a son, Jon. This is SuperMAN where New 52 was more SUPERman and it’s been great having him back.
Superman also always needs to face bigger challenges and threats that are worthy of his involvement. It can be hard to come up with fresh new ways to challenge the Man of Steel, but in Action Comics #992 Dan Jurgens and Rob Williams team up to show Clark Kent facing an enemy he never would have expected and neither would I. In The Oz Effect: Aftermath Clark has recently discovered the villain Mr. Oz appears to be his biological father Joe-El. Now Superman faces a problem he can’t punch and that no amount of super powers can fix. He now doubts everything he knew about his father and his being sent to Earth. You can feel the anguish that Clark is going through and the self-doubt that comes with it. Here we see a very human Superman, one who relies on his wife, Lois for help. They truly are a team.
We also get a great moment between Superman and Batman, when Bruce shows up as a concerned friend. It is good to see the Batman/Superman friendship really solidify again after the rough patch after the transition of the Supermen.
In his desperation for answers Clark contacts Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, and asks him to gather any information on Jor-El and Mr. Oz. On Mogo they review the final moments of Krypton and see the footage has been corrupted. Clark was hoping to see only his ship leave the doomed planet, but there is no way to be certain. The mystery remains.
Desperate for answers Superman uses the Flash’s cosmic treadmill to go back in time and witness the last moments of Krypton for himself and learn the truth about his father once and for all. We get a great cliffhanger when just after Superman jumps to the past Booster Gold shows up just too late to stop him and tells his robot buddy, Skeets, that the entire timeline is now in danger of collapsing.
Will Conrad’s depiction of Superman captures not only the power of the character, but also his humanity. I’m a big fan of the new Batman costume design and Conrad’s take on it is pretty cool.
One of the most important things in a Superman costume to me is bright colors. A light bright blue and a fire engine red with a little bright yellow in the mix is essential. Dark and dingy blues and reds just don’t convey the spirit of the character. Hi-Fi does an incredible job of choosing the right color tones to set the right presence and feel for Superman.
All in all Action Comics lived up to its name this issue.
Overall Rating: 4
(W) Dan Jurgens (A) Steve Pugh (CA) Francis Manapul