Superman is smashing asteroid after asteroid in an attempt to burn out the Doomsday virus. Supergirl finds him and lures him to a planet under siege by a being named Harak. Her theory is that Superman’s will is stronger than the virus, and that saving innocents will remind him of his non-Doomsday self. Superman engages Harak in battle, but things are not as black and white as they seem…
Meanwhile, Lana Lang and Steel launch themselves into space to find Superman. Unfortunately their instruments detect the the mysterious comas breaking out on Earth are spreading. Lana gets a phone call from Brainiac-Lois and quickly deduces she’s been taken over by someone sinister. But she doesn’t have to speculate on who when Steel spots Cyborg Superman and his space walruses on the horizon…
I think this is the happiest New 52 Superman and Supergirl’s relationship has ever been. It’s sad that DC editorial seems hellbent on destroying nearly every positive relationship Supergirl tries to build, so this was a nice surprise. Supergirl’s plan actually makes a great deal of sense, playing into Superman’s longstanding need to protect the innocent. It’s so strange that New 52 Supergirl is the one who expresses the most faith in the Big Blue Boy Scout in this crossover, but I’ll take what I can get.
The main conflict with Harak was also great. The super-serious-bad-guy-who-turns-out-not-to-be-so-bad trick is one Pak has played in ACTION COMICS before, but once again he took me by complete surprise. Superman’s back-and-forth between hero and villain kept things interesting throughout the fight.
The scenes with Lana and Steel were aslo fun pieces of character writing. I especially liked how Lana was intelligent enough to see through Brainiac-Lois’s ploy at the end.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to see a bit of Silver Age silliness in modern comics. But as part of an uber-serious cliffhanger, it just feels underwhelming.
Cyborg Superman was also an unwelcome sight. I don’t hate his character in the New 52, but we already have nearly everyone in Superman’s rogues gallery in this fight. I like villain team-ups, but mostly when they’re coordinated in some fashion. Cyborg Superman is now another rogue element in an already crowded and chaotic crossover.
Supergirl isn’t written much like her usual self, but I guess that’s par for the course in the New 52. I’ve never seen her have a playful relationship with Superman in this continuity before. You’d think she’d be more concerned under the circumstances.
There’s also the matter of the overall plot. Aside from some slight place-setting and the Cyborg Superman reveal on the very last page, it doesn’t move at all. After so much build-up in the prologue, you’d expect everything to be already in place.
ACTION COMICS #33 is good, but feels a little meandering.