Review: Action Comics #970

by Matthew Lloyd
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[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Patrick Zircher
Colorist: Ulises Arreola

Luthor is imprisoned on Nideesi where L’Call and Zade prepare for Superman’s eventual arrival. They apparently have fought Zod before and know of Superman’s prowess. Superman arrives a short time later and goes directly where Luthor is being held in order to break him out. Zade and L’Call intervene and stop the jailbreak. Instead of a protracted battle, L’Call attempt to show Superman L’Call’s own history so that Superman will understand why L’Call’s experience of pain and suffering allows him to be judge, jury and executioner- his family’s death at the hands of Darkseid and his parademons. This doesn’t go very far with the Man of Steel and Superman still refuses to allow Luthor to be executed. L’Call and Zade finally bring out Ch’Aar to further explain the natures of their visions and prove their veracity.

Throughout this run of Action Comics, Superman has struggled to reconcile the Luthor he has known with the Luthor that appears to be on this world. As Ch’Aar goes on about the accuracy of the visions and the monster Luthor will supposedly become, Superman finally relents. As Luthor is judged guilty by survivors of other worlds, Superman adds in a guilty vote!

The moral dilemma reaches a climax this issue as Superman appears to make a surprising decision. Since this is comics, we know what appears to be in the last panel of this issue may not be exactly what it seems come next issue. However, one can’t help but feel sympathy for L’Call. This situation continues to be very compelling, who wouldn’t want to stop a mass murderer before he starts his killing? As Superman says at one point, “Time is malleable.” His point being that something hasn’t happened until it has actually come to pass and a preemptive strike is morally wrong. This philosophical discussion takes center stage of this issue.

Superman’s apparent final answer on the last page is startling, to say the least. Aside from that should it turn out to be true, the rest of this issue is pretty close to flawless.

This issue is a page turner. We are now set up for what must be the finale next issue. Has Superman changed his stance? Is he viewing Luthor differently? Are his preconceptions about Luthor being used by L’Call and Ch’Aar? The moral dilemma is just too good to pass this issue or arc by.  I actually want to see Luthor redeemed.  It’s this possibility that makes this one of the best Superman arcs in a very, very long time.

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