The day has come where we learn who Clark Kent really is and given his peculiar behavior the last few weeks, Action Comics #975 contains one of the most anticipated reveals from DC Comics in some time. Superman’s son was kidnapped, presumably by Clark Kent, and we finally learn what the deal is in this supersized issue! Is it good?
Action Comics #975 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
“SUPERMAN REBORN” part two! Celebrating our 975th issue with a supersize special as another layer of the Superman/Clark Kent mystery is exposed! And in a backup story written by Paul Dini with art by Ian Churchill, learn what it all means for the Son of Superman, who is the prize in a deadly game!
Why does this book matter?
Seeing as this is somewhat of an anniversary issue (the big 975) you know DC is going to try to razzle and dazzle readers. I think they succeed here, with some solid art the art, to an anticipated reveal, and some fine character work too. I could imagine readers who haven’t been following along will buy it for the anniversary alone and they may not be disappointed.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
A good rule of thumb is to never kidnap Superman’s kid.
This issue is split between Lois and Superman rushing to find Clark Kent and their son they assume he kidnapped and the fallout from the reveal of who Clark really is. The first half is action packed with some cool blur effects of Superman rushing to Clark’s apartment by Doug Mahnke. It comes complete with some epic full page splashes of Superman dueling it out with…a variety of characters. Ultimately this section of the story pays off in explaining who Clark is and does so through some pretty cool homages to other Superman villains. This leads to the big reveal which I did not see coming at all, but should make longtime fans of the character giddy.
Mahnke does a good job making this issue look trippy as hell with a great sense of depth on top of it all. Superman looks great, as do the villains that pop up, and even the true Clark character. There’s a double page spread, right after the reveal, that helps convey the scope of the powers that Superman and Lois face. This helps convey that the odds of ever finding Jon are miniscule at best.
The second half goes crazy with the meta-storytelling, which suits an anniversary issue like this. Paul Dini writes the issue and it does well to recap who Clark really is quite well, including filling in the gaps as to where they’ve been for the last few years. It also ties well into the whole Watchmen angle that’s been teased for months now. Dini ties the anguish of the character to feeling forgotten and alone, which I’m sure many villains and heroes have felt having yet to be introduced in the New 52. It’s a nice way of giving a nod towards this character, but also the big changes DC has enacted over the last few years. This second half also calls attention to multiple Superman iterations like the LEGO line and cartoon. Fans of the hero of all iterations will love these nods.
Ian Churchill draws this second half with some trippy effects thrown in that are aided by Mike Atiyeh’s colors. There’s a more realistic look to the real-Clark character that suits the somewhat mind bending visual.
This scene reminds me of Ghostbusters…”Look at all this…junk food!”
It can’t be perfect can it?
The second half of the issue feels as though it drags on a bit too long at points. The character Clark Kent has been all along explains where he’s been, which is a sort of prison, but it’s not all that interesting. Who puts him there and why is certainly compelling, but the prison itself drags on for two pages when it could have used far less space. Part of the reason of showing it is to convey why this character is so darn angry, but given how old they are it’s a bit of a surprise they’re so worked up to begin with.
The second story also puts a lot of emphasis on this character’s hurt feelings in a way that makes them saner than is probably the case. Frankly, I’m not buying their anguish and the motivation to seek revenge. How about punish the guy who locked you up, eh? There isn’t enough done to make a case for their line of thinking, or their insanity driving them down the road either.
Is It Good?
This is about as good as an anniversary issue can get while still progressing the storyline. There are fun homages, meta-nods, and cool reveals that should satiate even the more rabid of Superman fans. The art throughout this volume is top notch well worth the price of admission.