Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Reactions to Action Comics 44 and Batman Superman 24

Greg Pak has been writing both Action Comics and Batman Superman and issue 44 of the former and 24 of the latter brought the simultaneous conclusion of the respective "Truth" story arcs. In Action, that's the Hard Truth story of Superman being rejected by the fortress of solitude, traveling back to Metropolis, dealing with animosity but finding his home block sticking up for him, led by Lee Lambert. Superman stands together with street protesters and is goaded into lashing out at a violent police officer, only to find out (SPOILER ALERT) that the officer is one of the shadow creatures that have been causing trouble for Superman recently. In issue 43, we learned that the shadow problem ran all the way to the mayor's office in Metropolis.

In Batman Superman, the story arc is Truth Hurts which has involved Superman and the Jim Gordon mech-suit Batman figuring out how they are going to operate together and whether they can get on the same page as they try to figure out who is behind Dawn Command and their energy-stealing attacks. Ukur and the subterraneans become involved and in issue 23, Superman went down into Subterranea to see if he could work out a win-win.

Overall, I've been enjoying Pak's Truth stories much more than I expected. Issues 41 and 42 of Action had some especially heartfelt moments. The third issues of each of these 4-issue story arcs built things up to a nice peak of suspense. In Action, it was the question about the mayor's involvement and what the endgame was for the shadow creatures. In Batman Superman, it was the question of whether the mini-sun energy source was going to explode or be captured by the Subterraneans (and how was Dawn Command involved) and how was Superman going to deal with not only Ukur but Aquaman. Those questions had me looking forward to the concluding issues, both out on September 9th, but I did not expect Greg Pak to go beyond simply concluding the stories... he tied both of his books together!

On the Action side of things, we learn that Wrath is behind the shadow creatures and the overall events have been aimed at bringing out the anger in Superman. This nicely explains what some people viewed as a plothole in issue 42 -- at the time, we thought Officer Binghamton was goading Superman to lash out so that there was an excuse to take out the block. But that seemed irrational because when Superman did lash out at Binghamton, it only revealed Binghamton's secret -- that he was a shadow creature. Now, in issue 44, we learn that the real reason he was goading Superman was because it's all this larger effort to bring out Superman's wrath and anger. And because Superman is depowered, it has allowed him to let loose a lot more and lose his calm, which ties in well with Truth overall. Action 44 also brought a nice conclusion to the story of the bond between Superman and his home-block supporters. And there was a very dramatic moment of Lee seemingly getting overtaken by shadow, only to later see that she is a serious, positive force to be reckoned with. I'm excited about her as a character going forward. Another LL in Superman's life.

For Batman Superman, we learn that Aquaman has some rationality for his partnership with Ukur, and Ukur and the Subterraneans also have rational motivations (connecting back to Pak's earlier story where the great character of Baku was introduced). Superman saved the day for a couple different characters, but ultimately Dawn Command left with the mini-sun. And we find out that Vandal Savage was behind the Dawn Command efforts and is in league with Wrath, thus linking up Action and Batman Superman going forward. (It also seems as though one of Wrath's compatriots is, sort of, none other than Hordr_root from the Superman book.) Pak, you clever devil.

No comments:

Post a Comment