By Greg Pak, Aaron Kuder, Jed Dougherty, Karl Kerschl and Wil Quintana
Action Comics #30 acts as both an conclusion to the current story as well as a prelude to the upcoming mega crossover Superman: Doomed, and whilst this book doesn’t quite match the standards of Pak’s usual run on Action Comics, this title still manages to be one of DC’s better reads right now, and that’s good to see because Action Comics (along with Detective Comics) should be the two premier titles that DC are putting out right now.
Despite this being a prologue to Superman: Doomed, Action Comics #30 puts most of its attention on Superman’s battle with Harrow. Whilst we don’t get much of Jimmy, Lois or Lana in this issue – in fact, they’re barely present – this allows for the action to be largely focused on Clark with only a few brief cutaways and teasers to touch upon Doomsday. The book also connects to the Superman/Wonder Woman scenes that touched upon the duo’s battle with Doomsday in that particular title and it’s good to see the writers keeping up continuity especially before a massive crossover.
Indeed, this book also is the first title in the Superman line to take place following the events in Forever Evil – as well as also taking place post Superman/Wonder Woman #7 however it is not essential to read any of those titles to know what’s going on here. There is however spoilers for those titles when the last we saw of Doomsday he was in the Phantom Zone – where he is now out for some reason. Putting titles out of order seems to be the start of a worrying trend for DC now, with the most recent issue of World’s Finest being a conclusion to an event which took place before the penultimate title in the First Contact crossover, Batman/Superman – which coincidently is also written by Greg Pak. However, apart from that – Action Comics #30 did not disappoint, giving us another good issue from Pak.
There were a few problems though. Harrow’s scenes where she claimed to be having a better perspective on humanity because she was human and Superman wasn’t felt like a tired old cliché that we’ve seen before – the most notable incident being with Lex Luthor – multiple times, which is a shame because given her powers she could have easily become a more interesting villain.
Once again however, the characterization of Pak’s Superman is great. He gets Clark spot on and it’s great to see him being pulled off so well in a method that will appeal to both fans of the older, Pre-New 52 Superman and newcomers who have been brought in by Man of Steel. There are several moments here that really prove that Pak gets Superman as a character – and it’ll be very interesting to see how he handles Clark in the upcoming crossover because I can easily see his section being among the better Superman titles – especially given what we’ve seen so far.
Unlike previous issues, there are multiple artists on this title. Aaron Kuder, Jed Dougherty and Karl Kerschl all have pencil time but despite this there is no obvious difference in translation, and with Wil Quintana’s colours, the book looks awesome, with some great visuals brought to the table. Karl Kerschl is one of the standouts – so it was good to see that even when this book isn’t just about Kuder, the artists are still putting out top quality stuff – even when Kuder himself is still on excellent form as per normal.
With everything covered, it’s safe to say that Action Comics #30 is one hell of a read. It’s not Pak’s best issue but it’s still a strong title – and even though I’ve given it a 4/5 it feels more like a 3.75/5 – mainly because Harrow was somebody who wasn’t as developed as she should have been. But still, much like Doomsday, it doesn’t look like we’ve seen the last of her yet, so hopefully things can improve from here.