Review: Action Comics #962

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Stephen Segovia
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Ulises Arreola

Summary
At the beginning of this story arc, we were introduced to a lot of exciting ideas. This made the first couple of issues incredibly engaging. In subsequent issues, the story has become mired in a sameness- Superman vs Doomsday. With this the final episode of the arc, we get a more satisfactory installment that does a nice job of wrapping up the fight while throwing a little more wood on the Superman/Luthor fire.

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Superman’s protracted battle with Doomsday finally comes to a resolution through a tried and true Kryptonian method – banishment to the Phantom Zone. Superman gets a nice assist from Wonder Woman that buys him enough time to get Doomsday lined up in the Phantom Zone’s cross hairs and send him away. The dénouement includes an attempt on Luthor’s part to get Superman to ally themselves together for the good of Metropolis. He has a very believable speech about the inspiration that the deceased “New 52” Superman provided everyone. Superman doesn’t quite believe him yet, though. Lastly, Mr. Oz has a role to play at the very end of the issue as we get a little bit more revealed about his machinations, oh yes, he has machinations.

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The Positives
The most satisfying aspect of this issue is the end of the Superman/Doomsday fight solely for the fact that it’s over and the storyline can get back on track. It was nice to see Superman come up with a solution that didn’t involve him going toe to toe with the monster to the death. This issue also allowed Diana, Superman, Lois and Jon to build some trust and bond with one another. Pre-Rebirth, Diana and Superman were a couple. This is not that Superman, but the relationship between Lois and Diana and Superman pre-Flashpoint was significant as it allowed the characters to interact as people and not just icons. More than simply a mutual admiration society, they really cared for and respected each other. This issue solidifies that going forward in the post-Rebirth DC Universe.

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It’s unclear who the villain is just yet. Lex should seem like a natural choice but the mysterious Mr. Oz doesn’t appear to be all sunshine and buttercups. It’s not often that a reader might feel Superman is being too tough on Lex, but this issue reads that way. This is an intriguing dynamic that has lots of potential for development in future issues. Mr. Oz hasn’t proven to necessarily be antagonistic yet, but this issue certainly points him in that direction. There’s still too much mystery surrounding him and that’s a good thing, but what has been revealed at least maintains the element of unpredictability.

Very often, the artwork by Segovia and Thibert has a very classic look to it. The close ups are well rendered and the blocking is very dramatic. There’s even a Gil Kane swipe for experienced eagle-eyed readers. All in all, the book looks very good and the art stands out at just the right times, enough to stop you and make you realize how well executed it is.

The Negatives
Just when you thought you were done with Doomsday…just read the issue. I hope this doesn’t get beaten to death, figuratively or literally. I’m concerned where this is going.

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Verdict
While this first arc was held up by too much Superman/Doomsday brawling, it ended well and set the table for a truly unique status quo for the Man of Steel. Ultimately, Jurgens and Co. are trying to challenge Superman on levels above and beyond his physical prowess, which is a bit ironic considering Doomsday has long been his single greatest physical test.

3.5outof5

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Roy Ranous

I've been writing on many different websites, blogs, and news outlets since 2004. I am well-versed in all things Batman, and love reading new comics every week. I am also an audio producer, podcaster, and aspiring voiceover artist. When I'm not writing/editing, I enjoy playing old video games, watching Transformers with my kids, and reading "Star Trek" novels.