Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s run on Action continues to be enjoyable, not really because of anything plotwise, but mainly because it’s great to see the character of Superman being written competently again in the New 52, and written in an interesting way.
Pak clearly sees Superman as Clark, as a person first, and all of the, well, action, is filtered through a very relatable character. The run kicks off in earnest here as the story moves to the present, with Superman flying in to save Lana Lang and her colleagues from the strange lizard monster that attacked them at the end of last issue. I said earlier that Pak writes Superman as a person first, and that’s clear here in the way he reacts when he realizes his ex-girlfriend is there, by showing off. He realizes it’s dumb, he’s dating Wonder Woman for pete’s sake, but he still wants to impress Lana. Not only does this make Lana look awesome, in that she can compete with Wonder Woman, but it’s a great humanizing moment.
That continues throughout the fight, as Superman quickly realizes that this monster is not a mindless beast that’s out of control, but that it’s trying to communicate and needs help, not punching in the face.
This is complicated by the one element of this story that I’m not a huge fan of, and it’s the involvement of a new character called ‘The Ghost Soldier’, who attacks Superman whilst the Government fire drones at the poor monster. Ghost Soldier is a pretty cool character, and he can phase through stuff, which makes him a decent fight for Superman, but it just seems repetitive of the things Scott Snyder is doing in Superman Unchained, with the Government sending Wraith after Superman. Let’s hope Pak manages to make sure this plot is different enough in future issues.
In the end, Superman is left with no choice, he can’t save the monster, and so flies it into the sun, like he’s the fucking Sentry or something, what a rip-off! Except, he doesn’t actually do that, he only makes Ghost Soldier and Lana and everyone think he has. What Supes actually does is take the monster back to the Fortress Of Solitude, where, for some reason, it turns into a cute little blue kid. Huh? That was an odd ending, but I am intrigued.
Throw in a touching childhood flashback for Superman, and the excellent art of Kuder, who really does suit Superman to a tee, this is a great start to an exciting run. Pak clearly gets Superman as a character, and his take on Lana Lang is more interesting that almost any other writer’s in the past 30 years, and with Lana set to play an important role in this story, I am excited. Things have been bleak for Superman since Morrison left, but now we’ve got this book, Unchained, and hell, even Superman/Wonder Woman is good. Now, if only we could do something about Lobdell…