Action Comics #978
By Dan Jurgens, Carlo Barberi, Matt Santorelli, and Hi-Fi
Few Rebirth titles have had as much impact on DC’s line than Superman and Action Comics. The work that has been put in to making these titles interesting and relevant by all involved cannot be understated. Action Comics is one of the titles very connected to the mysterious Watchmen storyline that has been going on through a few different DC titles. As each new issue comes out, we grow closer to finding out what Mr. Oz is up to and how everything is connected.
Few writers have done more for Superman than Dan Jurgens. It feels like he’s had his hands on the Man of Steel for an extended period of time and if you look back through some of the better Superman stories, you’ll surely see he’s involved in one way or another. This issue of Action Comics is divided between two stories, one where Superman relives some of his earlier memories, and another where an unknown character is gathering villains. Superman witnessing some prominent moments in his life is integral to us as readers. It allows us to bridge a little of the gap between what happened to this Clark during the New 52. Jurgens actually does a pretty good job of making all these elements fit together. We get to see the moment where Lois tells Clark he’s going to be a father, which is sweet, and the moment when Lois gives birth. While this part of the book is necessary, it’s not as interesting as the gathering of villains. Jurgens introduced this mysterious character without an identity a few issue back. In this week’s comic, we not only get to see who is pulling the strings behind the scenes, but we are also treated to the entertainment of him getting his group together.
The pencils this issue are not handled by Ian Churchill, although the cover has his name on it. Carlo Barberi is actually the penciler with Matt Santorelly inking and HI-Fi on colors. Barberi has a different style than Patrick Zircher and Ian Churchill, He has more of a minimalist style that isn’t as detailed. Many faces are fairly plain and don’t have any of the little hatchings or other details to give the faces character. Barberi’s art is fine for the most part, but there are several panels where things are disproportioned and faces are not visible; this is very clear in the pages where Lois is giving birth. Barberi’s work is not bad by any means, and he has some great panels in this issue. One of the highlights of the issue is the huge spread if many villains in Superman’s rogue gallery and the different uniforms Clark has gone through. This is an amazing page and, oddly enough, electric blue Superman looks excellent and almost steals the page. The colors by Hi-Fi are good as usual. Hi-Fi uses a lighter color palette to complement Barberi’s style, and it works really well.
Action Comics has been a wonderful surprise for Superman fans who were tired of mediocrity. Strong writing and good art help to make this series a must read. No Superman lover should be skipping this book. Period.