[Editor’s Note: This review contains spoilers.]
Action Comics #958. Dan Jurgens- Writer, Patrick Zircher- Artist, Ulises Arreola- Colorist.
It’s called Action Comics for a reason. And while this title was originally the home to a number of different action oriented features, it’s mostly been home to Superman for the past 60-plus years. The current issue has a lot of action, but more importantly Dan Jurgens is able to include quite a bit of story as Superman and Luthor battle Doomsday through downtown Metropolis. Like last issue, the narrative raises more questions than it answers.
There are a lot of mysteries running through this story arc. How will the pre-Flashpoint Superman adjust to being this world’s Superman? Is Luthor really honoring this world’s deceased Man of Steel? How can Clark Kent and Superman be seen together in the street when the whole world knows that Superman IS Clark Kent? Is this the same Doomsday that killed the pre-Flashpoint Superman in the classic Superman #75 from 1992? Who is Mr. Oz, and what is his interest in Superman?
Dan Jurgens is doing a nice job of rolling the mysteries out slowly. Little, bit by little bit the story grows and as it gets bigger it gets more complex. Perhaps the most compelling aspect of this issue is watching Superman questions if he’s misjudged this world’s Lex Luthor, as Lex holds nothing back in assisting Superman in trying to stop Doomsday. The mysterious Mr. Oz’s appearance and role in the issue continue to intrigue as he watches all the participants from afar. And I can’t fail to mention Clark Kent’s cryptic answer to Jimmy Olsen as Jimmy questions how all this can be happening when Clark is supposed to be Superman! There is a bundle of questions that keep the reader guessing and it turns this into something much more than a big fight issue. It recalls much of that Superman #75 which featured a long battle between Superman and Doomsday.
Patrick Zircher makes this issue look great too. He communicates plenty of emotion in his characters’ faces and body language. He gets the pacing of the fight down and works in the other elements effortlessly. His line work invokes a little bit of Joe and Andy Kubert, but it does not come off as a swipe by any means.
There is a lot going on in this issue. For fans of the New 52 Superman who are lamenting his passing, this issue probably won’t make you feel any better as both Luthor and this other Superman are getting all the attention. Other than that, this is one heck of a comic.
I’m trying to imagine someone reading this comic and saying, “Nah, I don’t care what happens next.” I simply can’t! This issue uses episodic storytelling to the fullest as it moves things along just enough and keeps the questions unanswered for the time being. It also balances the line between action and story. Often, big fight issues lack any depth. This is not the case with Action Comics # 958. Go buy this comic – that’s the final verdict.