Donning the Cape: Action Comics Special #1 Comic Review

Action Comics Special #1: Lex Luthor’s Dark Secret Revealed

Written by: Dan Jurgens, Mark Russell, Max Landis.

Art by: Will Conrad, Jill Thompson, Francis Manapul.

Cover by: Will Conrad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intro.

The last survivors of a dying universe, classic Superman/Clark Kent along with wife, Lois, and new born son, Johnathan, escaped into the unknown New 52 for a chance that his family might survive. Clark Kent thought he might finally get a well deserved break from the superhero life. Sadly, there’s no rest for the Man of Tomorrow. After the death of the New 52 Superman, Clark had no other choice but to put on the cape once again, as his new world needed a symbol for hope and the Man of Tomorrow.

The run-down (Summary)

The main feature in this oversized (48-page) special starts out with a mysterious break-in at the Fortress of Solitude by an unknown time-traveler with an ancient grudge against the Man of Steel. Things go from bad to worse as the time-displaced assailant raids the Fortress’ intergalactic armory for the nigh unstoppable Kryptonian battle armor. In this swan song assault, the mystery man of tomorrow launches a series of attacks aimed at exploiting Superman’s greatest weakness: his family. Help comes from an unlikely partner in Lex Luthor who rescues Lois in a his own suit of armor, no longer sporting the symbol of the House of El.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plot of the Panel (Opinion on Art and Story)

Combined with highly detailed artwork from Will Conrad, readers are sure to find easter eggs that call back to Jurgens’ early stories (especially Funeral for a Friend and Reign of the Supermen). Conrad’s amazing splash pages pay visual tribute to the usual feats fans grew up loving most: Superman pulverizing a heat-seeking missile with his bare hands as he saves Lois and a plane full of passengers; swooping in through the Metropolis tower-filled skyline to save Lois in mid-air; being blasted into the gold/bronze headstone monument raised in the heart of Metropolis, a call back to where he took his dying breath after defending Metropolis from Doomsday. Unlike the electrifyingly timeless action-hero imagery that long-time fans are sure to recognize, the most heart warming iconographic in the special speaks to the new direction that Jurgens has laid out for the “not-so” Last Son of Krypton: Superman flying home to Jon donning his classic red boots, red trunks, and red cape waving through the Metropolis night sky with a pizza for dinner (can we say “iconic Super-dad of the year” coming in clutch for a hungry kid after a long day at school?). The iconic imagery alone is enough to catch even the most casual reader’s eye.

 

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Damon Cagnolatti

Damon Cagnolatti

An avid comic-book reader and super-rap nerd, he draws on the transformative traditions of Hip Hop and comics culture to bridge the gap of cognitive dissonance to a funky rhythm kicked with "pen, coin, and voice". On the weekends, he enjoys growing fresh fruits and veggies; a real low-key farmer in his backyard.
Summary
As Dan Jurgens wraps up his stellar run on Action Comics, this special offers an additional two story mini anthology that works to reestablish the quintessentially compassionate and thoughtful Superman and the psychopathic stoicism of Lex Luthor. Dan Jurgens has proven time and again that he is the master-scribe of the Superman mythos. This final issue says farewell to Jurgens and fortifies the bricks and mortar he laid to rebuild and restore The House of El in the wake of historically waning sales, waxing and uncompelling stories, and the “less than Super” every-man of the New 52.
Good
  • Classic self-contained storytelling
  • Allusions to canonical stories in the mythos
  • Very cool splash pages and artwork
  • Detailed artwork and imagery
  • Clean panel lay-outs
  • Great tribute/final farewell issue
Bad
  • Motive for story villain might be a bit confusing for new readers.
8
Great
Art - 10
Character Development - 8
Plot - 8
Accessibility for New Readers - 6
Written by
An avid comic-book reader and super-rap nerd, he draws on the transformative traditions of Hip Hop and comics culture to bridge the gap of cognitive dissonance to a funky rhythm kicked with "pen, coin, and voice". On the weekends, he enjoys growing fresh fruits and veggies; a real low-key farmer in his backyard.

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