Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Ian Churchill
Letters: Rob Leigh
Release Date: 12th April 2017
Following Superman’s epic battle with Mr Mxyzptlk and his stark warning of an even greater threat (who we can only assume is Mr Oz), Clark can’t quite shake the feeling that something is off. And finally, 20 issues in, we get Superman’s origin story, again.
Dan Jurgens doesn’t just slow the pace this issue, he literally hits the brakes as we see how Superman came to be and how he was raised to become the super-powered boy scout we all know and love. The story itself presents the tale as a series of projections and for the most part sticks to the original origin that was used prior to the New 52 which, to be fair, wasn’t that different to this. He does bring in a sub plot involving two of Superman’s foes being recruited by an unknown entity but for the most part it’s the same familiar origin story.
Ian Churchill does a good job on pencils and reworks the origin story to give it a more modern look without changing anything too drastically. His work on the hidden plot portion of the story is well executed and the two villains on display are impressively detailed and, personally, I think the first one we see is probably the best version of him yet.
Hi-Fi is on colours and they do not disappoint; the origin story panels use a muted colour palette which gives the whole thing a nice ‘flashback’ quality. The villain sections are bright and vibrant, especially the first one which really pops thanks to a high contrast between the characters and the background.
That said, this really is a bit of a tough sell, as the majority of the issue features a re-telling of an origin we have already seen a lot (though not as much as Batman’s I suppose) and the minor tweaks and changes made to revert it back to a post Mew 52 state seem unnecessary. I understand the idea of clarifying Clark’s past but it feels very late in the day to add this in now when he has already been established for the best part of a year. I have to believe there is more to this than we can currently see, but after the tense, gripping rollercoaster that was Superman Reborn it’s hard not to feel a little deflated.
With that said, the writing itself is of a high quality and the villain subplot is intriguing, something that I hope will come in to play in a much bigger way next issue. The art is of an incredibly high standard all the way from the first panel to the last and it does help a little to carry a book made up of what feels like mostly filler material.
We all know that the creative team of Action Comics are capable of creating an excellent story, so perhaps my negativity on this issue is due to how much of a high standard I have started to hold the series to. As an origin though, this is a fantastic place for a new reader (even one who has never read a Superman comic before) to jump on. I would even say a new reader could add an extra point to my rating as this literally gives the reader a full run down on Superman, saving spoiler filled trips to Wikipedia. For the rest of us though this is one we may have to play by ear, and the next issue will ironically fully reveal what value this one has to the story as a whole.
[Click to Enlarge]
The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
John Tweets from @ShinKagato