Writer: Gail Simone
Artists: John Byrne (p), Nelson (i), Guy Major (colors)
Publisher: DC Comics
Despite an atrocious cover (thereís no way that face or body belongs to Superman), Iím officially hooked on this titleÖ but good. Gail Simone, John Byrne, Nelson and Guy Major begin their run on Action Comics with an entertainingly intriguing issue. I have no idea whatís happening at the end of this issueÖ, and I love that fact! I need to learn more, and that always indicates a well written issue.
The issue begins with a mysterious woman named Repulse approaching and disposing of Lindsay Wah, who used to play the superhero game with Superboy as the magnetic wielder, Aura. Repulse then sets her sights on second rate super villain Dr. Polaris, who also possesses magnetic super-powers. As Repulse and Polaris rip through Metropolis, Superman intervenes, and by the end of the issue, what appears to be a standard super powered conflict suddenly becomes a fascinatingly vague situation. Repulseís very existence gets thrown into question as itís unclear whether Repulse is (A) a figment of Polarisís imagination, (B) can hide herself from Supermanís perceptionsÖ or (C ) another possibility I canít think of.
Mixed in with this intrigue are some human personal moments as Superman aids an African tribe and then engages in some loving banter with Lois. Iím particularly interested to see if Supermanís African experience (which comprises nearly ľ of the entire issue) is utilized for a specific purpose later in this story arc.
The artwork excites me just as much as the story does. Nelson gives Byrneís pencils a gloss and refinement I havenít seen from Byrne since the 1980s. Shadows are impressively cross-hatched. Bodies and faces are outlined with thick, clean lines. Throw in Guy Majorís finely gradated coloring work, and this is a visually impressive issue.
Not all is perfect though. Iíll make one minor complaint: a few of the transitions between scenes are too abrupt. Iím looking particularly at the way the African tribe scene begins after a splash page of Repulse walking away from an exploded helicopter. The African tribe scene begins without an establishing shot, and itís a bit jarring.
Thatís nit-picking, Iíll admit. Overall, Iím excited to see where this story arc goes, and this comes from a reviewer who NEVER read Superman on a regular basis in his life.
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