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Action Comics #980 Review

The villain team up of the century (hey we’re only 17 years into this one so it’s true) continues in Action Comics this week as Cyborg Superman, Mongul, Eradicator, Blanque, and Metallo aim to kill Supes dead. Considering how hard each one has been for Superman to fight in the past this doesn’t look good for our favorite hero. With the addition of one more villain in this issue, what chance does he have?!

Action Comics #980
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Artist: Patch Zircher
Publisher: DC Comics

So what’s it about? The official summary reads:

“REVENGE” part two! Both Superman and the Revenge Squad must traverse the deadly Black Vault in a race against time to reach General Zod! Amanda Waller’s secret Kryptonian weapon reveals himself to the world, but Cyborg Superman and Eradicator move in to recruit him. Tying directly into the events of this month’s Suicide Squad issues—and no matter who wins in this epic showdown, it spells certain doom for the Last Son of Krypton!

Why does this book matter?

The nostalgic 90’s kid inside me can’t wait for Cyborg Superman to enact his plan as he was a fixture of my first memories of Superman growing up. Dan Jurgens and others at DC Comics have also been building up to this for some time now only increasing the anticipation for the throwdown of the century!

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Do villains just ordinarily line up to proclaim who they are?

This issue carries forward the idea of moving to Metropolis from the last issue and this time Jon gets to weigh in. Given the dramatic confrontation Superman has in this issue it does seem somewhat light, but it’s nice to see Jurgens continue that thread. Much of the events in this issue take place just before Suicide Squad #18 as the villains attempt to reign in Zod for their plans (who goes full berserk and escapes in that issue!). The editorial should get props for the planning, because this issue fits very well with Suicide Squad #18, but also doesn’t spoil a thing. You basically get perspective as far as how Cyborg Superman and the Eradicator even reach Zod and it’s a dramatic journey indeed.

The journey here is also about self reflection, which Superman must do too as he’s in pursuit of the villains. This allows Jurgens to explore the inner fears of the characters, which ends up being a great way to peer into Cyborg Superman’s soul. It’s easy to forget he’s not some stereotypical evil villain, which Jurgens proves in this issue.

Patch Zircher draws this issue and he was a good choice as his inks behoove a darker tone that’s atmospheric and moody. Superman and the villains enter a dark place that’s creepy made creepier due to the art. There’s a dreamlike nightmare sequence using Ben-Day dots at their edges to convey the disturbing scenes and Zircher simply kills it.

Supes is all about family these days.

It can’t be perfect can it?

There’s a bit of an altercation in this issue that’s laughably shrugged off by Superman. The fact that it’s easy isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly makes all the setup of how formidable these villains come into question. It’s unclear if Superman is just that good, or if they stink, and that certainly added a question mark to the overall narrative.

It’s worth mentioning, however normal this is, that the events on the cover have no relation to the events in the issue itself. That’s marketing folks!

Is It Good?

Prepare to get your creep on as Superman and Cyborg Superman must face their demons. Dan Jurgens produces an issue that delves into the darkest fears of the characters, which in turn helps convey the inner workings of the main players in a soon to be battle of the ages.

Action Comics #980
Is It Good?
A good issue as it develops the inner fears of the main players. Plus it all ties into Suicide Squad #18 well.
Strong use of moody inking to convey the horror/nightmares
Peers into Cyborg Superman and Superman's inner fears which helps convey who they are
Ties well into Suicide Squad #18
In a brief fight Superman practically shrugs off the villains...who have up until this point been built up to be formidable indeed
So Zod isn't even in this even though he's on the cover

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