Action Comics #23 review

Superman teams up with cosmic knights the Pax Galactica to battle the devourer of worlds, Lexus. The heroes have to learn to trust one another after Superman’s run-in last time with one of the Pax pack, Straith. With Lexus defeated, the knights – Straith, Ordling, Seamus and leader Lourdes – name Superman their ‘undisputed ruler’.

The conclusion of a two-parter, this is light-hearted romp powers from beginning to end with barely a let-up in the action. There’s plenty of humour in Scott Lobdell’s script, with Ordling considering Superman too ugly to trust, our overconfident hero punching the massive Lexus with the line ‘Blah. Blah. BlaaaAARGH!’ and a terrific last line from the Metropolis Marvel.

It’s not all fluffy fun, though, with Lobdell’s narration providing an interesting meditation on the nature of invulnerability and Superman’s susceptibility to magic. Best of all, he outlines Superman’s unwillingness to kill any living thing, a position I’m glad to see spelt out in the comics after the recent Man of Steel film.

New opponent Lexus – a surprising choice of name given Superman’s number one foe – is formidable, with a superb design courtesy of artist Tyler Kirkham; I hope he returns. And I hope Kirkham returns to the Superman books, too, because he excels at this type of tale, a widescreen summer blockbuster, full of massive panels and over the top character designs. Arid Prianto’s colours make the pages look even more delicious, and Carlos M Mangual’s lettering choices add interest too.

It’s a shame that the ever-entertaining Hector Hammond, who dragged Superman into this adventure last month, isn’t around this time, but at least we’re seeing him over in Superman.

Action Comics #22-23 likely won’t turn out to be seminal issues, but they’re good fun and introduce a number of new characters with potential. What’s more, it’s Superman who works out how to save the day – he’s more than simply super-muscle

Main feature over, the current World of Krypton back-up wraps, with Jor-El and Lara rescued from the Krypton coup by one Commander Zod. I’m sure they’ll be great friends. Once again there’s a dodgy portrayal of Superman’s parents, with Lara apparently brutalising disappointing boyfriend Jax-Ur. The art by Tom Derenick, coloured by Hi-Fi, pops and Frank Hannah’s script is tautly dramatic, but this short series hasn’t been my cup of tea at all, with its portrayal of Lara as an angry military type and Jor-El using mind control on Krypton’s citizenry, supposedly for their own good. I’d be happy to forget the whole thing, but we’re threatened with more Krypton stories ‘soon’. If Action must have back-ups – and I’d prefer it be a regular-sized $2.99 comic than a $3.99 book – they should star Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen or, given they’re soon going to be title-free, the Legion of Super-Heroes. How about that, DC?

12 thoughts on “Action Comics #23 review

  1. Hi Jimmy, I've been meaning to comment on your own review over at Heretical Jargon that militant Lara is 'much more likable than her as a weak female who never felt in control of her life'. I've read dozens of stories involving versions of Lara and other than perhaps John Byrne's whiny woman, horrified by hairy Earthmen, don't recognise this person you cite. The Lara I grew up with, the Silver and Bronze Age version, was a former astronaut – impressive. Even the just pre-New 52 version, who started out in the lower class Labour Guild, rose above her origins.

    Nah, we don't need no cranky soldier Lara!


  2. Great review Martin, but “Superman's unwillingness to kill any living thing” is something he fails at every day or almost every day. Bacteria, viruses, worms, insects, all kinds of plants. Those are all living things and their deaths can be inferred from some of his actions throughout the new52 and he was never shown to care or try to prevent it.



  3. Superman has never been shown to be the champion of bacteria, viruses, worms, insects, or all kinds of plants ever in his seventy-five years in comics. Are we perhaps scraping the bottom of the barrel for either New 52 Superman or Lobdell hate? It was one of the most fun issues of Action in years whether Superman is the ruthless killer of bacteria, viruses, worms, insects, or all kinds of plants or not!


  4. My issue was with the wording “any living thing” not with Lobdell or any other writer to ever write Superman, nor Superman himself.

    New 52 Superman is my first comic Superman anyway so I can't compare him to the previous ones.



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