Review: Action Comics #974

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

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Pencillers: Patrick Zircher & Stephen Segovia
Inkers: Patrick Zircher & Art Thibert
Color: Ulises Arreola

At the Fortress of Solitude, Superman with the help of Kelex figures out a way to begin Lana’s healing.  He puts her in Kryptonian armor which assists in stabilizing Lana and then begins to slowly heal her. While this is going on there Superman gets an alert from the “other” Fortress indicating a possible break in. As they finish with Lana, Superman gets an all clear signal.

Meanwhile, Lois is preparing for her date with the other Clark Kent. It quickly overwhelms Lois as this Clark proposes! It seems that this Clark is somehow aware of what things are supposed to be like. Upset, he follows Lois home secretly, seeing Lois and Superman (as Clark) and Jon having family dinner. He quickly puts together that the boy was her son, not her cousin’s as she claimed last issue. He recognizes Superman as himself and believes that this Clark has stolen his life.

In between these plot lines, there is a third that is transpiring at Superman’s other fortress. Despite the “all clear” signal, there is an actual break in at the other fortress. A team containing Hank Henshaw has broken in and not realizing what they’re doing free Blanque! (See the Lois & Clark mini-series that preceded Rebirth.)

The mystery at the heart of this storyline is truly fascinating. The resolution will be a big change for the Superman mythos as I imagine that the upcoming “Reborn” arc will somehow attempt to reconcile the history of the “New 52” Superman with the current Superman who is from the post-Crisis DC Universe. We’ve got some hints – last issue it appeared that not everyone could see the “other” Clark and this issue the re-introduction of Blanque indicates there may be some mind control going on. Additionally, it cannot be forgotten that along the way the mysterious Mister Oz told Superman that he and his family are not what they believe to be.

The upcoming “Reborn” arc will almost assuredly somehow re-set this continuity with some sort of reality bending event that brings the post-Crisis Superman into the current Rebirth DCU instead of a substitute from an alternate reality. It is a unique situation to have an alternate universe character take over the role as the main hero in the DC Universe. I can’t help to think that there will be a little sadness as the “truth” comes out in the “Reborn” storyline.

Action Comics #974 is another great chapter in the Rebirth era of Superman. There’s the dangerous tease of the return of Blanque, a few nice moments in the domestic life of Superman and Lois and the psychological crisis of the “other” Clark Kent.

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