By Andy Frisk
August 13, 2009 - 20:36
Can Action Comics and the Superman titles get any better than they are now?! It’s scary, but they just might, and they are so good now it’s almost unbelievable.
Superman and Supergirl jet to Earth in pursuit of Ral-Dar, General Zod’s assassin. Calling him Zod’s assassin might be a bit premature, as Zod hasn’t actually died, but is very close to death. Ral-Dar is attempting to, not escape, but elude Kal and Kara long enough to rendezvous with General Lane and his team at Project 7734 (General Lane’s special cadre of military, superhuman, magic-based, and technologically advanced operatives created originally to safeguard the world against alien invasion, which Lane transformed into an anti-Kryptonian force). Ral-Dar is referred to as a Patriot by Lane, as Ral-Dar was covertly persuaded into assassinating Zod to prevent a war of mutual destruction between New Krypton and Earth, which Ral-Dar was convinced (no doubt by Lane) that Zod would have started.
Meanwhile, Nightwing and Flamebird continue to track Az-Rel and Nadira, after getting mobbed by adoring fans. One of these fans slips her phone number to Nightwing, unnoticed until Flamebird plucks the note out from between the plates of his armor. Of course, Flamebird is jealous, but Nightwing puts her fears to rest with some moves worthy of Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh’s famous scene from Gone With The Wind. Their passionate embrace is cut short though when Az-Rel and Nadira show up, but in this age of covert ops and mistrust, not everyone is necessarily who or what they seem…
There is so much going on in Action Comics, let alone the other Superman titles, that these books combined are outpacing Blackest Night, and most definitely, Detective Comics and the other Bat-books in storytelling, pacing, and all around greatness. You want action, it’s here (Superman and Supergirl have to save the pilots of the fighters wrecked by Ral-Dar, and Nighwing and Flamebird battle Reactro…uh, I mean, Az-Rel and Nadira). You want romance, it’s here (Lois and Clark reunited, and Nighwing and Flamebird’s doomed (?) love). You want diabolical real-life like megalomaniacal villains who reflect real world types, it’s here (
So far with the Bat-titles, we’ve gotten some great art (Detective Comics) but slow, unoriginal, and somewhat boring pacing (Detective Comics). With Blackest Night we’ve gotten some of the best looking zombie heroes and villains since Marvel Zombies debuted, but again, a slow story pace, and not much depth, yet…With World of New Krypton, World Without Superman, and now Codename: Patriot, the action, story, and character development is practically non-stop, with only minor slowdowns. Being a Superman fan since just after learning to walk, and reading literally thousands of Superman comics, I honestly can say that this current set of story arcs by Geoff Johns, Greg Rucka, and James Robinson have been very nearly the best set of Superman tales I’ve ever read, and just think, we haven’t even gotten the first issue of Superman Secret Origin yet!
The art in Action Comics doesn’t miss a beat, going from Diego Olmos to Julian Lopez this issue. Both are superb artists with fantastic grasps on anatomy and background. Lopez really creates some great iconic images in this issue. Who can blame him? When drawing Superman, sometimes you’ve got to go iconic. The scene of Nightwing and Flamebird’s kiss, and the reuniting of Superman/Clark and Lois are truly grand.
I remember reading sometime ago that Johns and Co. at DC Comics wanted to do for Superman what they did for Hal Jordan a few years back with these storylines. They are succeeding grandly. Never has it been a better time to be a fan of Superman comics in the last 15 years or so.
Rating: 10 /10