Review – Action Comics #979 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Art: Patch Zircher
Colours: Hi-Fi
Letters: Rob Leigh
Release Date: 10th May 2017

The formation of the sinister group made up of some of Superman’s greatest foes is nearly complete as The Eradicator and Cyborg Superman recruit the fearsome Mongul.  Clark and Lois also have a big decision to make about their life in Hamilton and a possible change of location.

The pieces to this tale are starting to fit together now as the forces conspiring against Superman gradually begin to reveal their plans.  I don’t remember a time when such a force was assembled to defeat Clark and I really don’t remember Cyborg Superman being as powerful as he is portrayed here but the team does feel like a legitimate threat to the Man of Steel.  Jurgens has given the team a level of menace that seems genuinely dangerous.  I mean, we remember how much trouble Clark had against the Eradicator on his own so a group of this size seems incredibly overpowered.

Patch Zircher is on pencils and inks this issue and his depictions of Clark and his foes are nothing short of mind-blowing.  It really feels like Patch has drawn his inspiration from the Action Comics of old as Superman is every bit the heroic and statuesque warrior of justice we remember him being prior to the New 52.  His enemies too have that ‘classic’ look with some minor tweaks here and there to allow for some modernisation. Cyborg Superman and The Eradicator in particular look phenomenal.

Hi-Fi brings the colour again this issue and I was very impressed with the speed and blur gradients added to Superman’s flight sequences.  We have a lot of desolate surroundings this issue and Hi-Fi just fills these up with some wonderful effects, like the sunset over an icy tundra and the greenish glow of broken machinery. It really adds life to the art and causes each panel to truly pop.

There is trouble coming for Clark, but there is at least one villain not yet in play that should prove to be an interesting addition.  The story has been a slow mover due to the cast being gradually brought into the light but it definitely feels like the payoff is going to be worth it.  The series, although fairly deep into its latest arc, can still be picked up by new readers should they wish to jump in just before the action starts.  A lot has already happened but nothing that can’t be inferred by the story told within these 20 pages.

Action Comics brings with it a story that exists both inside and outside of the Superman series continuity, and that is no bad thing.  Though events are mentioned in both series, the actual timelines themselves are kept vague to allow both series to co-exist without stepping on each other toes.

One of the biggest complaints with the New 52 was that the whole thing felt too strict with events and it really stopped creators from telling the stories they really wanted to.  Thankfully this is not the case these days, and this exciting arc, though slow to start, is looking like it could be one of the biggest adventures the Man of Steel has had in recent memory.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Dave MacPhail
John Tweets from @ShinKagato

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