Immortal madman Vandal Savage’s plan has reached its final stages, but with The Man Of Steel at his lowest point, who can stop him? Your Major Spoilers review of Action Comics #50 awaits!
ACTION COMICS #50
Story: Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder
Penciler: Aaron Kuder, Javi Fernandez, David Messina, Bruno Redondo & Vicente Cifuentes
Inker: Kuder, Gaetano Carlucci, Juan Albarran, Fernandez & Cifuentes
Colorist: Tomeu Morey, Arif Prianti & Wil Quintana
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Andrew Marino
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $4.99
Previously in Action Comics: After having his powers drained, fighting villain after villain, Superman has lost nearly everything. Even his allies in the Justice League have been taken from him, his Fortress destroyed and the Justice League Watchtower brought down in the heart of Metropolis. His only hope is a small piece of Kryptonite…
I CAN’T STOP HEARING CASPER CRUMP
The first several pages of this issue are a continuing monologue by Vandal Savage, explaining in his triumph the steps he has taken to bring down Superman. It’s a well-written bit of exposition, made even more fun by how much Kuder’s Savage resembles the one from CW television, and how well it sounds in the melodiously accented tones of TV’s Savage, Casper Crump. Of course, Savage has forgotten that, even at his lowest point, Superman is not merely a hero, but an inspiration, and so is surprised when the few remaining heroes (Batman, Mister Terrific, Wonder Woman and others) rally behind Superman’s standard. Even more dangerous, Superman has repowered his energy-stores by absorbing the Kryptonite energy (!!) from the heart of Metallo, empowering him while burning up his body cell by cell. As a comet burns away in the sky, the heroes fight a seemingly losing battle against Savage, when Vandal suddenly fires toxin-bullets directly into his no-longer-invulnerable chest.and Superman…
TO BE CONTINUED
Of course, due to poor planning by Vandal, he falls directly into the Fortress of Solitude, where the systems suddenly recognize him (apparently, Superman’s depowering was due in part to mutated cells blocking his absorption of energy, cells which were burned out by the Kryptonite power he has been channeling) and leading to a nice big cliffhanger moment. Though I haven’t been paying attention to Superman’s adventures for a few issues, Pak’s script gives you all you need to work with, and the pacing of this issue is really well-done, even if it turns out to be a middle chapter of a Superman-family crossover event. Indeed, the moment where Superman armors up and rockets back into battle is a true “Hell, Yeah!” moment, and the story being told here is effective as a single issue as well as a chapter in the larger mosaic. Most impressively, the multiple artists in play don’t affect the consistency of the art in this issue, with each working together so well that I didn’t realize how many hands were involved until I had to transcribe the credits for this review.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A WELL-CRAFTED ADVENTURE
For all the snark and complaining when Pak’s t-shirt Superman debuted a year or so ago, it was clear that there was something bigger going on, and that the change was taking place as part of the ongoing story, one that has reinvigorated the New 52 Man Of Steel (ironically by making him more like the pre-Flashpoint version of the character, but that’s a discussion for another time.) Action Comics #50 serves as a pivotal chapter, a nice third act that will lead us into final battle of a conflict that feels like it has real stakes, which is itself an achievement, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. Best of all, Kuder and company make the over-designed Superman armored costume look awesome in these pages…
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