Writer: Chuck Austen
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Marc Campos
Publisher: DC Comics
Now this is really ACTION comics! Chuck Austen and Ivan Reis really deliver the goods with this issue. The basic plot sees Superman getting down and dirty in the streets of Smallville with Super villian extreme, Gog.
The story starts with Superboy, Wondergirl and Kid Flash walking the streets of Smallville - the only real part of the story I have a problem with, I mean why are they walking the streets of a small own in full costume? Anyway Gog attacks, meanwhile Clark Kent is on the phone trying to understand why Lois didn’t tell him about his demotion, he meets the “slimeball” who is taking over his job (who wears a Superman tie-nice touch). His super hearing picks up Superboy’s cry for help and off he goes into the store room and seconds later the fight in Smallville begins!
Ivan Reis is the star of the issue for me, and not forgetting Inker Marc Campos. Both excel with the pages and spreads in this issue. I don’t think there is one slightly dodgy panel to be seen. Superman is Super all the way through, Gog is menacing and Superboy actually looks like a young Superman. The colouring is bright and full of energy, and Smallville has never looked better, nor has the Daily Planet Newsroom. Reis succeeds in making the fight between Superman and Gog look dangerous, Superman really takes it to his guy and doesn’t hold any of his punches, you can actually feel each hit as his fist meet with Gog’s face or as his body is thrown effortlessly about by the man of steel. I must also must mention that we get another great cover from the team, Gog standing over Superboy and Superman flying into help - its great to see a good looking cover that actually relates to what happens inside the comic.
Austen gives us an issue that sows the seeds for the next couple of months, he doesn’t like Lois much (we have seen her once I think in the last two issues). His Superman is less cocky here than last issue, but also keeps that newly found arrogance. Some of it is good stuff, you can almost understand how Superman feels and why he would retort to witty banter but my only fear is that too much and we start to lose Superman and get more Superboy levels of dialogue - that said Austen would be great for a new Superboy series, I can see Superboy delivering some of Superman’s lines from this issue and they would work better.
Two out of two for the team from Action Comics, this may well be the sleeper hit of the Superman revamp. Austen seems to found a niche for Superman, and lets hope he continues to bring more issues like this. Well done to DC for signing up Reis as well, this guy has proven with this issue that he a star!
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