Superman faces a massive storm, as well as the limitations of his abilities, in this “Zero Year” tie-in issue.
As “Zero Year” reaches one of its multiple climaxes (A major blackout in all of Gotham), we are given a series of tie-ins to help establish a sense of a shared DC universe across the Bat family and occasionally other heroes outside of the umbrella of the Dark Knight. Action Comics #25 brings Superman back to his younger years as a new citizen of Metropolis. Clark Kent finds himself combating the inner struggle of not being able to save everyone all the time.
This is a problem that Superman has faced for years. He tries to save everyone but realizes it’s impossible. If only he were faster, stronger, smarter, maybe he would be able to save all the people he wasn’t able to—this is the primary focus of Action Comics #25. A younger Clark Kent is all smiles as he clashes with villains in his new home of Metropolis. After he makes quick work of the baddies—and scaring a few citizens in the process—Clark hears a news broadcast about the blackout in Gotham, as well as the hurricane that also making it’s way toward the city. Superman takes the initiative and decides to test his strength against the raw power hurricane.
Greg Pak begins his ongoing run on Action Comics with next month’s issue, but despite being a tie-in issue, he uses Action Comics #25 as an introduction to future topics he can revisit later. Lana Lang is a focus this month, and it appears she will return to Clark’s life very soon. Pak is able to imbue enough character into Lana and Clark in a way that will make the reader understand who they are as individuals. We’ve seen the young Clark Kent before, but Pak writes him in a way that is both refreshing and entertaining. The inner demons of Superman seem to be the focus of Pak’s writing and it will be exciting to see him explore these horizons going forward in Action Comics.
Alongside Greg Pak is artist Aaron Kuder, who has dipped his pencils into the Man of Steel well previously with his work in Superman #20. Kuder is able to bring out the human side of Clark without tampering with the Kryptonian side of Superman. He draws each side of Clark as separate identities and because of this, the artwork stands out in a very natural way. Certain scenes depict Superman’s disappointments in himself and Kuder brings those emotions to the surface with ease.
The issue, as a whole, is entertaining and satisfying. However, it feels a bit forced. Although Superman and Batman coexist in the same universe, Action Comics and Detective Comics tend to work as separate platforms that only focus on their titular character. It is a bit strange that Superman is included into the tie-in issue when he will most definitely not take part in anything else that has to do with Scott Snyder’s “Zero Year” storyline. If there is anything story wise that would affect the Batman series it is that a hurricane is on its way, but one line of text would’ve solved that and it doesn’t seem to be necessary to devote an entire issue of Action Comics to it.
The “Zero Year” tie-in is both a hit and miss. It stands out as a one-shot or a preview into the new arc of Action Comics but falters on the weight of importance in the actual tie-in aspect of the book. That being said, getting a taste of Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder together before beginning their run on the series is worth the pickup this week at your local comic shop.