Thursday, October 8, 2015

Action Comics #45 Review

Pete and (Re) Pete

Written by: Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder
Art by: Scott Kolins, Tomeu Morey and Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 7, 2015

If you follow our site and/or listen to our podcast (HERE by the way), you already know what I thought of the entire Truth arc.  If you are new to the world of Weird Science, let me welcome you and tell you...I hated the Truth.  It ended up being the Event that really wasn't and left me confused and angry.  That being said, the story in Action Comics was by far the best of the arc (tallest midget in the circus?!)  and if anyone can turn things around it's Greg Pak.  It takes some remembering, but when he jumped on to this book all those issues ago, he turned it into the must read Superman book on the shelves and I was a huge fan.  I'm still a fan and blame these forced crossovers for my lack of enthusiasm, not Pak's writing.  Guess what?  It all continues with this issue being the first chapter of the continuing crossover that deals with Superman losing his identity, powers and cape.  Does Pak wrestle from under the weight of this story and get things back on track?  Let's find out...

The issue starts out in Talladega, Alabama and while the setting may be different, things haven't changed much since Superman walked through Alaska at the beginning of this story.  I guess we can chalk it up to our planet being full of assholes, but I'm getting sick of the over-the-top, alien bashing attitude against Superman.  It's not that it wouldn't really happen, it's just getting old.

Clark is in town on the trail of Wrath and thanks to some facial changing tech, he can walk among the normal folks unnoticed.  That doesn't mean he's going to act different, however, and the opening scene reminds the reader that Clark is still a super guy.  A super guy with a super hideout.

Clark may be in Alabama, but Pak takes the reader down memory lane with a recap of the Truth story.  Hey, I'm all for getting people up to speed, but this combined with the opening was a little overkill.  The rerun is interrupted by the arrival of Toymaster, Hiro Okamura.  In one of the worst cases of overreacting, Clark kicks Hiro out of his hideout, blows it up and sends Hiro back to Gotham.  I can't be the only one who wondered why the hell this scene was even in the book, right?  My guess is it was to show that Clark isn't playing games and really wants to remain off the grid.  If that was the case, it was a really forced way of doing it.

The forced storytelling continues when we get back to Metropolis and everyone is still picking up the pieces from the shadow monster attack.  It looks like everyone is taking Superman's advice and working together...almost.  Some people have a problem with Lee and her shadow monster problem and aren't trying to hid it.  It's okay, she has some new fans in a couple of men in black types who are trying to find just where she is.  That should go well for her.

The story continues by showing that Clark has thought ahead and has a plan in place that would make Batman proud...if he was still Batman and had even a bit of his old memories.  Clark has done his homework and figured out that Wrath had visited the Lyfegene Corporation three times the past year and he wants to find out why.

While his actual plan seemed pretty generic, it worked and he gets inside.  What he finds is a whole bunch of craziness that ties a couple of loose strings together with Wrath and does bring the story closer together as a whole.  It also gets Superman mad as hell and he starts kicking ass and taking names.  He saves a bunch of lives, but the issue ends with a very familiar face in big, big trouble and Superman changing before our eyes.

Besides the recap heavy beginning, I liked this issue.  While I still am not sold (or even understand) the story as a whole, Pak and Kuder get one thing very right...Clark Kent.  In fact, this issue is the best Clark Kent we have seen in a long time.  As long as they keep giving us that one thing, I can deal with a few hiccups and will continue reading.

Scott Kolins' art is good if not consistent this issue.  Some panels look outstanding with their hyper detail (Superman's hideout), while others fall flat (Metropolis).  As a whole, I liked the way this issue looked and wouldn't mind if he continues working on this story going forward.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue starts as a full out Truth recap and ends being a nice setup for the continuing story.  I liked the art for the most part and Pak and Kuder give us some great Clark Kent action.  I'm still dealing with a Truth headache and can't recommend this story...yet.  I like where things are headed and hopefully I'll be a fan soon.


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