Action Comics #44 review

The battle for Clark Kent’s neighbourhood continues, with the Mayor revealed as the force behind the shadow demons plaguing our hero. Her influence extends, taking over some of the ordinary people who have been standing behind Superman, causing them to turn on their fellows. But when the inky darkness hits Superman’s new firefighter friend Lee, things take a surprising turn.

There’s not a great deal to comment on this issue, I’ve said it all previously. Aaron Kuder’s artwork hits new peaks, with explosive action served by jagged layouts, and pinch-hitter Howard Porter following his cues with style and gusto. Greg Pak’s script is pacy, efficient, delivering a solid read, but there’s nothing earth-shattering here. Superman finally realises his anger has been feeding the beast, we see that the Mayor – now named Wrath, just because – can influence people’s minds, and while there’s a bit of a victory for Superman and friends, she retreats to rally more bad guys. The story goes on…

… and on. Enjoyable as this all is, it’s very much a case of ‘for what it is’. And what it is seems to be a big old filler, something to keep the comic going while we’re in the midst of the depowered Superman period. Quality-wise, Action Comics continues to be the best Superman title, certainly to be recommended above the supposed flagship book. For one thing, it’s the only one which actually shows Superman still has the ability to inspire. 

But I just wish Pak and Kuder were able to move onto something new. Issue after issue of Superman and shadow demons bashing one another, even with the welcome addition of new characters Lee and Dante, is getting rather wearying. The creators have the talent and enthusiasm to do amazing things with this series, but they seem to have been locked into a holding pattern. I hope they escape it soon.

11 thoughts on “Action Comics #44 review

  1. While I'm enjoying depowered, outed Superman, I have to admit that I'm much more interested in how his status affects the people in his neighborhood than I am in Wrath or any of her shadow monsters. This is my last month of buying Superman/Batman, which will bring me down to just this title and Superman.

    BTW, I just realized I've ALWAYS loved a depowered Superman — this isn't a new thing for me. One of my all-time favorite Superman stories, when I found him most compelling, was when Marv Wolfman had Lord Satanis and Selene split him into two beings, each with half his powerset, in Action Comics in the 80s. I just started reading early Omega Men appearances, and it led me to that old gem of a storyline. Apparently I'm a sucker for Superman having to learn to deal with sudden new limitations!


  2. I loved that period of Action, with the Gil Kane art. And I enjoy a depowered Superman too – going back to Quaarm and the like – but not quite so depowered. All the powers, but less To The Infinite Degree.


  3. I find this whole deporting thing pretty useless. If the idea is to make Superman struggle, well, he's not. The semblance of struggle comes across through his internal monologue, which sounds like anyone but him. He complains about not having his abilities, then proceeds to mop things up with his fists. You would think that Superman, in this state, would use more of his intellect, which should not be reduced, since he still is Kryptonian. No, instead he's John Wayne punching his way through everything. Worst of all, none of it's necessary. This is a story that can easily be told with him fully powered or not. It's filler, yes, and like most filler, pointless.

    Pak has developed a loyal following, aside of me, but that may be to his detriment. His readers will follow him no matter what, then I don't expect to see him write Superman, as opposed to what DC mandates.


  4. Thank you! I'm not sure whether I want Superman to have a massive intellect because he's Kryptonian, but he should certainly be smart enough to realise he has to take a breath and think. He is indeed acting like a tank, smashing his way through immediate threats without making much progress to stem the big problem. Cheers for reading the post!


  5. Oof. Just read the December solicits, and apparently Wrath will *still* be involved in this storyline 3 months from now. I might jump off Action for a while… it seems like the stuff I like in the non-powered Superman story is taking a backseat to this bore of a villain.


  6. I like a depowered Superman like in Morrison's early run on Action (why isn't there an action figure?)
    I dropped action (only title I was reading along with Supes/wondy) when Superman:doomed was starting. While I enjoyed Pak's first arc it's been ghost, monsters, mind control , shadows and more mind control (and weren't the ghost being controlled also? Then the whole world was under Brainiac's control in Doomed)
    He seems to be repeating the same ideas over and over even over in Bats and Super when Xa-Du(?) Sent the villains to kill Clark after he solar flared and in Kandor


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