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
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.