Written by: Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder
Art by: Scott Kolins, Tomeu Morey, Pete Pantazis and Steve Wands
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 18, 2015
I really don't want to start another review telling everyone how much I didn't like the Truth arc so I'll begin by talking about the Superman books in general. To say they are a bit of a mess is an understatement and to say that most fans are disappointed with the direction since the DC You started is even worse. No secret identity? No (or fluctuating) powers? It's no wonder that a bunch of people we talk to here at Weird Science have bailed on Superman until things go back to "normal". The wait is not over yet people and while I have enjoyed the books since the Truth (there I go again), they still are not good enough to recommend. Does that all end this month in Action Comics? Let's find out...
For those who don't remember where this book left off last month, Superman was infected by the Shadow Monster black goo in Wrath's super secret facility in Alabama and this issue opens with him in full out pissed off mode. While he goes to town on the plant robots, he thinks back at all the Shadow Monsters he's recently fought and realizes the plan all along was to infect him. The problem is, he doesn't seem to care. The goo is giving him power and if you've been reading any of the Superman books lately, that's something that's been in short supply.
While I'm sure that Clark would have loved to completely let loose, Lee and the other people that were being experimented on are still alive and want/need to escape so when the police show up, Clark has left them a "gift" and they are long gone.
As far as openers go, this was pretty cool. Maybe I'm the only one, but I'm so desperate for Superman to get his powers back that I'll even go with Shadow goo. I know it's not a permanent solution, but it's cool to see him get to cut loose. I haven't fully decided if I like the experimental refugees yet. I love Lee, of course, but I don't know if this book needs more people tagging along with Clark. Luckily, it looks like he is planning on making them Steel's problem. Nice.
We then get a scene with Clark and Lee arguing about the pros and cons of being goo infected. Superpowers? Pro. Uncontrollable anger that plays right into Wrath's plan? Con...Big Con. While Lee is on the "Let's keep on keeping on" camp, Clark wants to take the fight to Wrath and uses the oldest trick in the book to disappear. I know that he isn't Batman, but he might as well have said "Your Shoes are Untied" and ran off laughing.
While I was enjoying the issue up until now, it does take an odd turn from here. We find out that Clark can go into the shadows and teleport hundreds of miles away. He also can sense Wrath through the darkness. I don't know what to think about the teleporting as it feels too convenient to me, but it makes sense to feel Wrath's presence while infected.
We then travel to West Virginia to see Wrath and I will refrain from debating if that's an upgrade from Alabama (I did go to WVU and spent a summer in Alabama so I do have an opinion on the matter) and she seems to be waiting patiently for Clark. She seems to spend her time yelling at her underlings and preparing a multi faceted plan to infect millions of people and fight Superman.
Things then get a little confusing as Wrath tells Superman why she infected him and throws Lee back in the mix. As Wrath talks telepathically to them about fixing the world, they are attacked by Shadow Monsters. I know she is insane, but I don't think Wrath is convincing them of her good intentions by sending monsters to kill them. Then there is that whole bomb thing. I also wish that the creative team would have used a better way to distinguish when Wrath was talking to them, but that might just be me.
Then the issue takes a left turn down crazy street by introducing one of my favorite characters for no real apparent reason. I don't care if Clark says it makes sense, he is only here for his coolness factor and to set up an epic battle next issue. Yep, the issue ends on a cliffhanger that promises a fight that I didn't know I wanted...until now. Please don't wimp out on us, we need this fight to happen.
I liked this issue enough, but as I read it it felt like a bunch of ideas and scenes just thrown together. Superman getting some powers back, refugees, Shadow Goo bomb, Wrath wanting to "save" the world...even Lee felt out of place this issue which is crazy. Then the awesome guest star at the end that felt even more out of place. However, the one thing that I think everyone will appreciate is that even though he is infected, Clark still feels a lot more like Superman in this issue than he has in most of the books since June.
I did love Aaron Kuder's art. That's no surprise because I've loved every issue of Action Comics he's been on. While there is no real standout panels, everything looks great and really keeps the story flowing nicely.
Bits and Pieces:
I enjoyed this issue enough, but it did come across as a bunch of scenes forced together to get things moving along. We learn some new Shadow powers, kind of find out Wrath's ultimate plan and watch Superman start an awesome fight that doesn't make much sense, but I can't wait to see more of. The art in this issue is top notch, but even though I enjoyed it, I still can't recommend it to everyone. If you've stuck with this DC You Superman, I think you'll be okay, but if you're waiting for things to return to normal, I'm afraid you'll have to keep waiting.