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Action Comics #890: The Black Ring Part One

Written by Christian on Monday, July 05 2010 and posted in Reviews

Action Comics #890 marks the beginning of Paul Cornell and Pete Wood's new story featuring Lex Luthor's quest for a black ring.  However, will Action Comics suffer with the continued absence of Superman?  Click to find out!

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

On sale JUNE 30 * 40 pg, FC $3.99 US
Look out, Metropolis - Lex Luthor is back! The dynamic new creative team of Marc Guggenheim (Amazing Spider-Man) and Pete Woods (SUPERMAN: LAST STAND OF NEW KRYPTON) hits the scene with an oversized issue packed with non-stop action! That's not all! Superstar artist David Finch (BRIGHTEST DAY, New Avengers) joins ACTION COMICS this issue as new cover artist!

Note: Author was changed after issue was solicited.


Action Comics has begun its slow march towards its 900th issue. Long a home to Superman and his family, Action Comics has recently been without Superman for over a year during the New Krypton event that spanned the Superman family of titles. Although it was expected that Superman would return to both of his comics after the event ended. Instead, it was announced that Paul Cornell would be taking over the book at issue #890 with a story focusing on Lex Luthor, Superman's greatest foe.

Paul Cornell has recently established himself as a writer who can juggle continuity, characterization and plot masterfully. Action Comics #890 proves to be no exception. Following up on Luthor's recent role in the Blackest Night event, Cornell has Luthor searching for a power ring to claim as his own. Teaming up with the unlikely ally of Lois Lane, Luthor plans on travelling to where residual Black Lantern energy is most prevalent and collect it for his own nefarious purposes.

Cornell's Luthor is a cold, calculating man with an intense drive and focus.  However, using Lois Lane as a foil for Luthor keeps him personable and almost likeable when he's not assassinating disgruntled employees. His focus moved away from destroying Superman, Luthor comes off as an anti-hero of sorts. Cornell's cliffhanger ending and future solicitations seem to point towards Luthor being the least evil person in his upcoming story arc. However, this doesn't mean that Cornell plans on fully redeeming Luthor's character. Between assassinating an employee and the revelation of Lois's true identity, this is still the same Lex Luthor readers know and hate. This is just a Luthor focusing on an activity that doesn't involve killing the most iconic superhero in the world.

Pete Woods art is a treat as always. His lines are crisp and smooth and compliment Cornell's writing appropriately. His portrayal of Luthor is especially strong.  By giving him a softer expression than how he's usually depicted, Woods helps sell the idea of Luthor as the protagonist of the story. Additionally, his layouts are designed in such a way to keep Luthor at the focus of almost every panel of every page, just the way Luthor would like it. Woods also provides a nifty easter egg in the form of Luthor's assistant, who looks uncannily similar to a iconic character from Paul Cornell's earlier British television work.

Overall, Cornell and Woods have provided a strong start to the march towards issue #900. This arc could prove to be as immensely enjoyable as Cornell's past works, including the lauded Captain Britain and MI13 series. By placing him on their second oldest comic, DC has given Paul Cornell a chance to shine. From the looks of Action Comics #890, Cornell does not look to disappoint.


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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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