Call me crazy but I kind of like reduced-in-power Superman; now you can stick him into stories he would have been too powerful for, but you can also flip that and stick him in dangerous situations his power set isn’t capable of stopping. Superman facing something bigger than himself? Sign me up.
Action Comics #47: is it good?
Action Comics #47 (2015-) #1 (DC Comics)
This is an action issue as Superman takes on Wrath and Frankenstein. He can’t just use his fists though as they’re both rather powerful and the issue explores Superman’s ability to harness and maybe even accept the dark side… literally.
Why does this book matter?
This issue explains who Wrath is, offers up lots of action and attempts to thrust Superman into questioning whether or not he’s truly good. And if he is good maybe he’s capable of accepting evil into his heart? Cool stuff.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Wrath’s backstory is strong and it ties well into Superman’s recent history. Her powers may be a bit of a deus ex machina, but you can’t argue she has good reasons to beat Superman’s buttocks. Writers Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder use Wrath’s power and the darkness it imbues on your temperament well as it gives Superman plenty of internal conflict. While there may not be enough pages or issues to explore this conflict deeply it’s fun to see Superman question his own righteousness.
The art by Georges Jeanty balances the action well with the flashbacks and dramatic moments — that’s probably why the action takes place mostly off screen. When the darkness does attempt to infest Superman’s soul it’s interesting to see how Jeanty uses the darkness to wrap around the panels and Supes himself. There are moments where his pencils look something out of John Romita Jr.’s sketchbook and others like Mark Bagley. His style is simple yet solid when it comes to dramatic pacing.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The lack of action is a bit of a bother, especially when some of it takes place off page. Take for instance the opening of Superman fighting Frankenstein. A cool battle for sure, but aside from a punch here and a shove there the victory takes place off page. This makes their battle seem almost pointless and its only purpose is to keep Superman’s hands full for a bit. At one point Wrath delivers a flashback via narration to Superman; that’s fine, but what the heck were the two of them doing during this? I guess standing around, because when we cut away from the flashback they’re standing around and Superman is ready to do something about it; instances like these are a bit odd and jarring and detract from the issue’s flow.
The conclusion to the book is so quick and unearned I can’t imagine most readers will be happy. Deus ex machina, Superman’s evil nature never really being explored and on top of that the bad guy doesn’t even get a wrap up. She’s standing there, then gone. That makes this conclusion very unsatisfying.
Is It Good?
An attempt is made to deliver an interesting story but it falls flat due to a lack of solid action and a poor wrap up. Wrath’s backstory is interesting though and the art carries the emotional resonance well.