[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Patrick Zircher
Colorist: Ulises Arreoloa
Picking up where last issue left off, Action Comics #964 finds Superman and Clark Kent going to Superman’s Fortress of Solitude for a private talk. Superman has many doubts about who this Clark Kent is and he employs an alien device that elucidates “true memories.” Clark is a bit taken aback, but believing he has nothing to hide goes through with it. What we get is an alternate take on Clark Kent if he were not Superman, just an orphan taken in by the Kents but with the same friends – Lana Lang, Pete Ross and Kenny Braverman.
Superman remains befuddled. Clark, however, demands something from Superman, Clark can tell that Superman is afraid of Clark’s existence. Superman manages to give Clark a speech that doesn’t reveal the truth about his own Clark Kent identity, but rather plays on the need for Superman to be accepted in this world. This leads to the last part of the issue being a story by Clark in the Daily Planet that in iterations past would’ve been written by Lois Lane. As Kent writes about what a burden being Superman could be, we see some safety measures that Superman has installed at his home with Jon and Lois and they have a real Silver Age feel to them, certainly inspired by the adventures of Superboy in the same Silver Age. Additionally, we learn what Geneticron has been hiding….
They mystery deepens for Superman as he tries to figure out what’s going on with Clark Kent. The story offers no easy answers and this installment heightens the tension as we realize that there’s something really complex at hand. Clearly, Mr. Oz, while not making an appearance this issue has got to be the leading candidate for what’s going on with the existence of this other Clark Kent. This is truly a unique Superman story. Clark’s article is a nice “rah, rah” moment as it gets at what makes Superman such an admirable figure and gives the reader that thrilling feeling. The Silver Age touches with the Smith Family (Superman’s new last name) are nice homages to the hero’s heyday.
Tough to find something to dislike about this issue. The set up for this story line has been great so far, hopefully it will finish up just as strong with a plausible yet unexpected twist to explain the existence of a Clark Kent who is not Superman.
This is another great issue in the Rebirth era of Action Comics. All the Superman titles are strong right now and it’s a great time to be reading Superman comics. If you’re not already, this is an issue that is easy to jump in to. All the exposition is there to catch the reader up easily. Jump in! You’ll be glad you did.