By Dan Jurgens, Patrick Zircher, and Arif Prianto
The Superman books have been two of the breakout hits from Rebirth among fans and critics alike. Dan Jurgens is kind of like a Superman wizard that they bring in when they need the books to get a good boost. This issue he’s working with Patrick Zircher and Arif Prianto to show us what Lex Luthor might possibly do in the future. If you’re getting a Civil War II vibe from this issue, you’re not alone.
Dan Jurgens continues his good streak of writing for Action Comics with this issue. It’s not uncommon for Superman to fight mindless brutes for action pages or to keep people interested in the book, but Jurgens gives our main villain L’Call some back story this issue, and it changes your outlook on the character. There is very little Superman in this issue, which is fine because Jurgens has made Lex Luthor a really interesting hero in this series. There’s no telling if it’s his willingness to jump in and save civilians or all his “bat-like” gadgets in his suit, but Lex is extremely likable. Most of the issue is spent detailing why L’Call does what he does, and why these captors want Lex Luthor dead. If this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, you should at least read the issue. Dan Jurgens has a very good take on everyone that he writes, and it separates his stories from other generic Superman runs. This may not have been an extremely action-packed issue, but it was a good setup issue that should lead to a satisfying conclusion.
The pencils this issue are handled by Patrick Zircher with colors by Arif Prianto. Zircher is a stud in the art department, so he pretty much kills every page he draws. This issue focuses a lot on L’Call and his home world, so Zircher and Prianto are key in showing the audience a new world. The first page of the issue should hook you. Superman hovering above the city with great scale and depth from Zircher. These are the kinds of panels that just win you over, and Zircher unleashes it on the first page. The great thing about Zircher’s work is that it’s easy on the eyes and very detailed. As one of the big creatures has his hand palming Lex Luthor’s head, we see the rigidness of the creature’s nails as well as the imprints from his fingers on Luthor’s head. It’s just great work all around and another outstanding performance from Zircher. The colors by Arif Prianto are a bit lighter in spots, but work well here. Prianto shines when he is able to color the horizon with bright oranges. His work here is a nice complement to the pencils laid down by Zircher.
Action Comics #969 continues the trend of making the Superman books must-read since Rebirth. Dan Jurgens just has this rapport with Superman that allows him to write some of his best stories. The art this issue was great on both ends. Action Comics is a book any and all Superman fans should be reading right now.