Review: Action Comics #977

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

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Ian Churchill
Color: Hi-Fi

Lois and Clark are in the offices of the Daily Planet and everything seems perfectly normal; Perry is yelling at Clark for being nearly late for a deadline and Lois is as cool and confident as ever. As Lois and Clark leave for home, Clark expresses his uneasiness at how he feels, because everything seems too perfect. And, of course he recalls Mxyzptlk’s recent attack and suggestion that something’s not right with the world. Lois heads home to Jon, and Clark heads north to the Fortress of Solitude to get a refresher on his own history and at the same time give us readers some insight to what actually happened in this new merged timeline.

Everything seems correct to Superman until the end of Kelex’s narration when he hears a second voice that doesn’t seem to belong. And Metallo has some interspersed moments with a mystery figure. Yeah, that will certainly come into play soon.

Any telling of Superman’s origin that is done right hits the heart strings. The best ever retelling is Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s from All-Star Superman. It will bring tears to one’s eyes. There are maybe 15-20 words, but they are the essential words. Dan Jurgens hits on the emotional highlights in this issue and lodges a lump in a throat at least once. In the retelling, there are a number of different versions of Superman’s origin that are referenced and that is effective in communicating that the history of the character is not forgotten.

In the first few pages of the issue, there is a reference to Superman the Movie, Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman, as well as some metatextualisms (new word, I just created that — Carlin, The Swan!!!). These references are all important parts of recognizing the history of the character and validating all incarnations. Well done.

I was enthralled on every page.  I would’ve liked to have been disappointed in this first post-“Superman Reborn” issue, but instead, it acknowledged so many of the aspects of the character that are important that it negated the loss of the uniqueness of the alternate Earth Superman theme that’s been so wonderful in Dan Jurgen’s run.

With all the unanswered questions after the “Superman Reborn” story line, there needed to be a clarifying issue or two. Action Comics #977 goes a long way in assuaging some fears. Hopefully, the next few issues continue to fill in the gaps. However, the emotional response to this issue is a resounding “Yes!” If you were worried, don’t be. Action Comics continues to be be a top-notch Superman title, managing to communicate the new amalgamated status quo in Superman’s history while also teasing the mystery that is still out there.

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