Rebirth of The Man of Tomorrow...Today! (A Review of Action Comics #957)
Let's face it: I don't think anyone with a foot in the shallow end of the comic book pool can look back at DC's NEW 52 re-launch and call it an overwhelming success. Oh sure, there were a few high points here and there (Thank you Scott Snyder) but for the most part, the re-launch (which was more of a re'boot') was plagued with storytelling inconsistencies, alienated long-time DC readers and cancelled titles, which equated to declining sales for one of comic book's largest publishers. And so it was that DC finally swallowed enough of their pride to get back to basics with DC REBIRTH, a 2-year storyline which DC hopes to resolve many lagging problems to welcome back old school readers such as myself and usher in a new NEW return to greatness in the DCU. We're into the second wave of REBIRTH titles, and it appears that fans just can't get enough and there's plenty of reasons to be excited about ACTION COMICS #957...especially if you're a long time Superman comic book fan.
(SPOILERS AHEAD!!! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE LAST COUPLE MONTHS of SUPERMAN TITLES, including SUPERMAN REBIRTH #1)
While the world is coming to terms with the death of the "New 52" Superman, we find that the old universe's version of Superman, Lois Lane and their son Jonathan (seen in the pages of SUPERMAN: LOIS AND CLARK) are settling into a new home. Jonathan finally knows his father's secret (SUPERMAN: LOIS AND CLARK #8) and the family is starting fresh. Jonathan has already unpacked the television and a news report shows that Lex Luthor has stopped a bank robbery, dressed in powerful armor that sports Superman's trademark "S-Shield" and cape. Luthor vows to carry on Superman's legacy of protecting Metropolis. Clark, angered over this turn of events, hastily shaves his beard, dons Superman's costume and flies to Metropolis to confront Lex, making his existence secret no more. While the two are battling in Metropolis, we find that Clark Kent is on the scene as well...which surprises everyone, considering Superman's secret was made public in the pages of the New 52, so Clark couldn't possibly be alive if he's Superman...right? (wink, wink) Then, out of nowhere, a large shadowy figure crashes into the scene and DOOMSDAY (WHAT?!?) is revealed.
All in all, I thought this was a solid read. It's interesting that in Superman Rebirth #1, the classic Superman we all knew and love was trying so hard to restore the New 52 Superman back to life (similar to his own journey in the 90's "Death of Superman" storyline and yet, boom. I'm back, baby. :) But honestly, I'm totally good with that and ready to put that strange chapter to rest. Dan Jurgens hasn't always been my favorite writer, but I've watched him develop into a better one over the years and is able to capture simple moments with heavy action well, so this issue was very good I thought. The artwork? Meh. Honestly, I think it could have been a little better, but it still worked ok. I miss Ed Benes from back in the day on Superman very much.
Oh and we're back to the original numbering to one of the longest running comic titles on the planet (including the NEW 52 re-launch series). This in and off itself was enough to win me over. If you were a fan of the New 52 Superman, I'm afraid you're out of luck. Superman is DEAD. LONG LIVE SUPERMAN. The original is here to stay for the foreseeable future and I couldn't be happier.
I'm excited to see where the direction of the MAN OF STEEL is heading and hopefully, it's up, up and away! I'm back on board for DC REBIRTH and you should be too.