Superman faces off against the Knights of Pax Galactica and an immense galactic threat in Action Comics #23!
With Andy Diggle’s team leaving Action Comics, Scott Lobdell and Tyler Kirkham stepped up and inserted a short narrative when DC needed it. Naturally the story had to fit two issues going into villain’s month and a looming new team taking over afterwords. That being said, the story is well done, and the artwork really stands out; leaving the reader wanting more, but unfortunately, not getting any.
Tyler Kirkham’s outdoes himself with the artwork in this issue.
The amount of colors, blow-up pages, and beautiful silhouettes throughout the comic continue to amaze up to the very end. His roots in Green Lantern really shine (pun intended) through each blast and wave of energy that pulsed through the Knights as well as the menace. Although the menace resembled Megatron’s less angsty cousin, Kirkham dared to try something different and the result is a horrifying evil that creeps through the galaxy, destroying everything in its wake.
The Knights of Pax Galactica are given more back story and character development in this issue and they were all very interesting. From the mindless barbarian to the warrior queen, they are all given enough personality for the reader to understand their pain, suffering, and of course, bloodlust. Although the comic had to come to an abrupt end, the reader will feel overall satisfied with the small yet action packed arc that Lobdell was able to create on short notice. I, for one, cannot wait for the Knights to return at a certain point although it may take some time.
At the end of the past few Action Comics, there have been backup comics for a Jor-El prequel and a new antagonist to Krypton. The issues are hit or miss for the most part but this final one ends spectacularly. One would expect the new antagonist to somehow survive the explosion of Krypton and end up a future villain for Superman, but the comic takes an unexpected turn and a very fitting introduction to a rogue that has had little to no action in the New 52. It leaves enough of a back-story that future comics will not have to divulge numerous pages to the typical, “and this is how I became who I am,” scenes we’ve all grown accustomed to.
Action Comics #23 falls into the same negative categories that plagued its predecessor. The comic feels rushed and the resolution happens so fast that it almost feels as though the story itself isn’t necessary. The supporting characters are very strong but the villain falls into the ‘show and tell’ scenario. We have been ‘told’ why he is evil but we haven’t ‘seen’ why. The comic would’ve felt stronger if we were shown why this monster is so evil and what kind of acts make him a universal threat, but instead we have a few lines that told us so. Although the villain looks evil, he doesn’t really feel evil, and there is no question that the standout part of this arc will be the Knights of Pax Galactica.
Despite its missteps and overall rushed attitude, Action Comics #23 is a solid issue. The artwork and the Knights alone are enough to make this comic a purchase at the end of the day. However, seeing the introduction of an old rogue revitalized in the back-end issue also adds to the comic in a very creative way.