[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Stephen Segovia
Inker: Art Thibert
Colorist: Arif Prianto
After the apparent death of the “New 52” Superman a few months ago, Action Comics has become the home to the pre-Flashpoint Superman and his family. In addition, Lex Luthor is attempting to honor the fallen Man of Steel as an armored version of the hero. For the first four installments, Action Comics has featured a protracted battle with Doomsday. Doomsday is a character that seems to generate stories that are heavy on action and light on plot. So far, there have been a number of mysteries to keep the reader engaged. Last issue slacked off a bit. Action Comics #961 seems to get things back on track a bit as we get some plot development, but there is still an awful lot of Doomsday/Superman fighting.
The issue starts in Metropolis as Luthor is trying to hold things together as the city tries to recover from Doomsday’s rampage. There is a Superwoman sighting and a little bit of dialogue between Lex and Clark that shows once again- Clark is not Superman. Upstate, Wonder Woman and Superman are on Doomsday duty.
Superman convinces Wonder Woman to take Lois and Jon to the JLA satellite for safety while he stays behind and finishes off Doomsday. The mysterious Mr. Oz makes an appearance in the form of sending help to the Man of Steel. Oz’s agents assist Superman in putting Doomsday on the ropes. Not a lot happens, but there is just enough that this issue felt a little stronger than the last.
While Superwoman’s cameo rescue seems like an editorially driven plug for another book, it does serve to remind the reader that these Super-books are all connected in some way. The moments with Lois, Jon and Diana all feel and sound right. These bits, though just a small bit of the issue keep the emotional element present. Mr. Oz finally taking action was a nice moment. It goes a little way in showing that Mr. Oz has allies and resources that will make him more than just an omniscient watcher. Oz’s assistance on the Doomsday problem seems to indicate that the plot of this arc will start to move along.
Doomsday. Doomsday. Doomsday. A little bit of Doomsday goes a long way. And we need an endgame for him – another death of Superman seems out of the question. The nearly unbeatable nature of the monster is bogging down the story.
Please, Mr. Jurgens, can we be done with Doomsday and get to solving some of the mysteries? Who is Mr. Oz? Who released Doomsday? Will Superman and Luthor become allies? Who is this Clark Kent that is not Superman? I know this is Action Comics, but the questions raised have far more potential than Superman vs. Doomsday Round 17. The interpersonal relationships continue to be the aspects of this book that are the most exciting and answering those questions will bring about some resolution to this the best part of the drama.