Action Comics #31
By Greg Pak, Aaron Kuder, Rafa Sandoval, Vicente Cifuentes, Cameron Stewart & Will Quintana
This week, there’s not one, but three Superman books hitting shelves and they all tie into the same Superman: Doomed mega event that is Clark’s first major encounter with Doomsday in the New 52. It’s not exactly a repeat of Death of Superman either – and picks up from the oneshot that is also released today, continuing the second chapter – but the first of the Infected arc for readers to follow.
If you’ve not read the Superman: Doomed one-shot then you’re going to feel a bit lost coming into this book. That issue sets a lot of things in motion and gets this book into gear, dealing with the aftermath of the Clark vs. Doomsday fight in the first issue. The book takes place post Forever Evil, meaning that Lex Luthor is working with the Justice League, if reluctantly on their part, and it’s explained that he received government clearance to coordinate emergency efforts. It’s something that Clark isn’t too happy with, especially given that Senator Lane and Luthor both tortured him in the past.
Pak uses this book to provide a good character study of Superman after how he’s been affected by the events in Superman: Doomed #1. There’s not a lot of action here, but Clark gets to punch Lex Luthor and deal with some hunters as he begins to lose control. It also provides a nice lead-in to Superman/Wonder Woman #8, which also hits shelves this week and continues the Infected arc of Superman: Doomed, which concludes in Superman #31 – with an expected release of the 28th – which is also Lobdell’s last issue on the title before he is replaced by Geoff Johns.
The biggest problem that I found with Action Comics #31 was the multiple artists on this book. It doesn’t look as good as Kuder’s art does when he’s working alone and I would have rather this book been delayed so we could have the whole thing handled by Kuder. However, we get Rafa Sandoval and Cameron Stewart on the pencils working with him, and it bogs down the art despite a pretty cool opening page, with this book looking nowhere near as good as one would expect.
We got multiple appearances from Justice League members in this issue. Wonder Woman and Batman get the most page time but there’s also Cyborg, Flash and Martian Manhunter that show up briefly. And talking of others that show up, Krypto also makes an appearance, however briefly, but it’s good to see him there regardless.
So far though, Superman: Doomed hasn’t disappointed, and the method of reading pretty much the entire event in one week is an interesting move by DC Comics. It does of course, allow readers to jump straight into Superman/Wonder Woman #8 without delay. This book comes recommended then, but don’t expect the usual quality of artwork due to the multiple artists on this title.