One year ago, Lex Luthor enacts a grand scheme to discredit Superman and for himself to be viewed upon as the great man the world should worship. His associate Veritas begins the process of extracting the virus that is attacking Superman. The two discover that it is feeding off of Superman’s cells, mutating it into a hybrid that gets stronger every time Superman fights back. While they work on finding a way to defeat it, Luthor launches the next step in his plan. The issue features a back-up story that looks back at the history of Jor-El and his legacy before the birth of his son.
With regards to the main story by Andy Diggle and Tony S. Daniel, I once again express how difficult it is to read this story knowing that the duo will not be around on the book any longer. They are piecing together quite the unique tale that digs into the psyche of Lex Luthor without really focusing on him. His drive to show everyone that he is not the psychopath they make him out to be and that he is truly the greatest gift on the planet, not matter the consequences. It’s one that really plays into the relationship he has with Superman and how Superman deals with whatever Luthor throws at him. It only increases the interest in seeing what other stories Diggle and Daniel would be able to tackle in the future, though it is unfortunate that such thoughts will not be coming to pass after the next issue. As for the back-up by Scott Lobdell with Frank Hannah writing the dialogue, its interesting enough, but I think it reads better when collected in full.
There is a lot to like about the way Daniel illustrates the book. The negative is that most of the facial expressions seem to constantly be the same of everyone narrowing their eyes and looking to scowl at everything that happens. The only time this changes seems to be when Luthor nails his jiu-jitsu master below the belt. Otherwise, there is a nice fluidity to the movement of the characters and many of the pages do a fine job highlighting the action sequences. Credit should be given to Tomeu Morey with the way he colors the book. The back-up is illustrated by Philip Tan. It’s interesting and the creature illustrations are quite the spectacle. But again, I think it would come out better when collected in full.
As before, I cannot quite recommend Action Comics given what should otherwise be considered a good book is difficult to read as a result of the fact that the creative forces, Andy Diggle and Tony S. Daniel, are leaving after the next issue. incoming creative team Scott Lobdell and Philip Tan does not necessarily make the transition any smoother by making a back-up story that reads better when collected. If readers want to check out the book despite all of this, that’s fine. Otherwise, it’s not worth a look.
Do you think Scott Lobdell and Philip Tan can create good Superman stories? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.