Action Comics 25
Greg Pak, Aaron Kuder, Scott McDaniel
Zero Year Crossover
Spoilers ahead! You have been warned!
I can’t lie. I’m excited about this new creative team. Finally, we’ve got a writer who actually understands what makes Clark Kent different in the New 52. And finally, we’ve got an artist who is not only consistent with the superheroes and monsters, but also humans. I like Grant Morrison, Scott Lobdell, and Scott Snyder. But for some reason, they’re portrayal of Superman just isn’t really working for me. They’re talented writers all, but I just haven’t really cared about their title character for years. And artists like Rags Morales, George Perez, Dan Jurgens, Kenneth Rocafort, and even the mighty Jim Lee may be experts all, but something just wasn’t quite working. And I figured it out… They’re working well individually, but not quite together. Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder are delivering more in one issue than Morrison and Morales did in over a year. And even though this is a flashback issue, I can feel the upcoming ramifications and character-driven stories brewing for when they make their plunge into modern-day Superman stories.
The story, as I said before, is a flashback tale. Tying (loosely, but also very cleverly) into Batman’s Zero Year event, this comic takes place several years ago. We have two narrators, with a young Clark Kent as Superman and a young Lana Lang as a sassy and strong engineer. We’ve got a blackout in Gotham City and a storm headed that way. Lana is on a boat just outside of Gotham and trying to keep her crew alive and Clark is, I kid you not, trying to actually stop the storm itself. Their heroism prevails (duh… It’s Superman) and the day is saved. But they both know, deep down, that this is just the beginning of what they can do. I love the fact that Lana is more likable in one issue than Lois Lane has been in years of New 52 stories. She’s the necessary tie back to humanity that Clark needs (with his new main squeeze being Wonder Woman and all) and she doesn’t seem like an unnecessary or annoying plot device. We then get a neat little backup story about a monster and a cliffhanger that will most likely be resumed in the next issue’s backup or the post-Krytpon Returns storyline to follow.
The issue’s strengths lie in the portrayal of Clark as naive, young, and hopeful… Something that hasn’t been entirely clear in the New 52 from all of his writers. It is a nice bonus that Lana is looking like she’s going to be slowly but surely replacing Lois. At least, for a while. I’m okay with that. And this backup story (with an art assist by the always-excellent Scott McDaniel) plants seeds for future stories, which is always fun. I am glad that Batman’s story was important to the events in this issue, but didn’t overshadow the main character. Something I was very hesitant when these “additional tie-ins” were announced was that Batman would be arbitrarily thrown into each and every one and the creators would be forced to essentially take an issue off. Luckily, that was not the case here. I can’t wait to see where Pak and Kuder take Clark next.
My Rating: 4/5