by Grek Pak, Aaron Kuder & Wil Quintana
“A Ghost, a monster, an alien and a far girl. Saving the day?” No, that’s not the beginning of a joke. It probably barely counts as an actual question, but it’s an interesting look at this issue from Greg Pak. Lana Lang keeps asking herself if Superman has to make friends with everything and it’s just a funny look at his soft side and maybe even a bit of his naivety that, yeah, he kinda does seem to make friends with everything. At one point, Superman asks himself, “What would Bruce would do?”, and it really gives a moment to actually think about what Batman would have done which reinforces just how different these two are. It might not really be anything to do with the story and it was really only a line or two, but it’s quite literally night and day when comparing Big Blue to Bats. Just something interesting from this issue.
Another thing that has really become interesting is Greg Pak’s use of the back and forth narrative between Superman and Lana Lang. Clearly there’s tons of history there and both, more or less, are thinking the same things at any given time. It’s a big relationship for Pak to explore, and here’s hoping it continues. Unlike a lot of narrative, these are light and don’t weight down the story. Pak really seems to like letting the story flow naturally and letting artist Aaron Kuder help handle some of the finer details instead of just explaining it and over writing it. As always, and even with what we’ll call a normal amount of narrative and speech bubbles, Pak’s understanding of Superman is really top notch. He makes reading about him interesting, engaging and fun which, truth be told, isn’t always a mark that writers hit with a character like this.
Speaking of Aaron Kuder on art: he kills it. Every page, every character design, every little, weird monster that he has to draw is just awesome. It can’t be stressed enough how well Kuder draws Superman and how he’s easily one of the top guys to draw him in the New 52–maybe ever. Kuder, along with Wil Quintana on colors who just takes all of Kuder’s pencils to the next level, really hits every mark that Pak’s script calls for; the facial expressions when Pak splits the narrative are dead on, the little looks that Lana and Supes seem to share are great, and as it says a few sentences up his monsters and little critters are just awesome. How many more lists do you need before you really understand just how good Kuder is on this book? He said on Twitter the other day something about “feeling like the new guy”, after the announcement of John Romita Jr. coming to DC to draw Superman in, well, Superman, and maybe he’s just being humble but just in these few issues of Action he more than proves that he deserves to be here and hang with the big boys.
Action Comics has really and truly been an absolute treat to read since Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder assumed the writing and artist duties only a few issues back. It clearly outshines what the New 52 has done with Superman up to this point, with maybe an exception to Charles Soule’s Superman/Wonder Woman which has been a pleasant surprise, and when guys like Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. are being brought in to, more or less, save Superman proper you can’t help but think that, hey, we already have a great Superman book. They have a lot of catching up and work to do to be in the same league as Action Comics.