Greg Pak’s run on Action Comics continues to be enjoyable, but I’m not sure that I’m not just overrating it in comparison with the last year or so of fill-ins we had to suffer through. After that… anything would seem good. But I suppose it is early days, I do think that this could grow into something special.
The issue begins with a flashback to Clark Kent’s childhood, where he’s trying to fly for the first time. He doesn’t manage to (probably because Scott Snyder only just did a flashback showing his first flight last week) because his super-hearing kicks in, and he over-hears his parents talking about him not being human. This leads to us seeing how the Kents revealed to Clark that he was from Krypton, and them giving him the famous red cape. This is all to demonstrate just what that cape means to Superman, and make the connection between him and the mysterious shape-shifting monster more apparent. That cape comforted Clark as a kid, and it’s doing the same for ‘Baka’.
Baka easily escapes from the pen he’s in, and runs around the Fortress Of Solitude, where he is drawn to photos of Clark’s past (I loved seeing a conventional American bedroom, with bookshelves and pennants on the walls right in the middle of the alien fortress), so it looks like he misses his family. At this point, Clark gets a call from Lana Lang, who is going deeper underground to investigate what the hell happened in the last issue. She is being trailed by ‘Ghost Soldier, but her more immediate problem is a load of giant monsters out to eat her. Obviously, Superman and Baka fly in to save her, but the most interesting thing in these scenes is the way Pak is writing both Lana and Clark’s inner monologues, and how they compare and contrast. Pak’s Superman feels real, and I really think his take on Lana is the best in ages. Pak gets across really well how weird it must be for her to have the most powerful man in the universe be her childhood friend.
In the midst of battle, Baka displays the ability to talk, but soon runs into a more humanoid monster, who on the cover is referred to as ‘Ukur, The Beast Lord’, which is pretty bad-ass. Apparently Ukur and his monsters are there to protect the Surface World from a secret subterranean empire. The issue ends with an epilogue, showing that, thanks to Superman and Lana, some kind of seal has been broken and the Queen of the ‘Imperial Subterranea’ is now free to attack the surface, which is probably bad news.
The artwork from Aaron Kuder was once again fantastic, perfectly suited to the large amount of, well, action Pak puts into this series, but it was a bit annoying to have the first 8 pages of the issue drawn by 2 other artists, they were fine, and one of those sequences was a flashback, but dammit, I prefer consistency at all times.
So, whilst I’m still not sure whether or not this title is great again, it’s a hell of a lot better than it was before, so if you still like Superman, jump back on board.