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Review: Action Comics Special #1


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By Andy Frisk
May 7, 2018 - 22:22


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A compilation of three Superman stories written by Dan Jurgens, Mark Russell, and Max Landis round out a special Action Comics release.

Bendis might be coming, but Dan Jurgens proves once again that he has one of the best understandings of Superman and his supporting cast of allies and enemies with his tale "The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor." It's not a complicated story. Lex Luthor is the villain, as he should be, and it involves the revealing of Clark's superhero identity, although with a twist. It's smart, incisive, and completely captures the best of of both characters.

Mark Russell's tale, "Suprema Est Lex" is the most timely and bitingly satiric of the three tales. Going all the way back to the President Luthor storyline, which was a critique of the Bush The Second administration, Russell takes a page from the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency, by having Lois and Clark play the role of Obama at the White House Correspondence Dinner and Luthor play the role of Trump. Lois and Clark do their job and tell jokes, which of course Luthor takes poorly (like Trump-and all egomaniacs-Luthor's a snowflake), and in turn decides to run for the highest office. Art imitates life, but rarely as smartly and pointedly as this.

Max Landis' tale, "Driver's Seat" focuses on the more sentimental side of Lois and Clark in a tale from the early days of their relationship. Lois is in a car accident. She's unhurt but her graduation present of a car is totaled. Clark ends up easing the loss as only a Superman can.

Taken together, the three tales showcase a wide range of storytelling potential that the Superman character and franchise are capable of. Sentimental happy stories, biting political satire, and explorations of nobility and bigoted obsession are all themes and stories that can be told in a Superman story convincingly. Just more proof that the best characters are always the ones that can play a leading role in a variety of themed stories. Superman and his cohorts are some of the best of this type.

Jill Thompson, Francis Manapul, and Will Conrad each put their unique artistic stamp on their stories. Conrad creates lush full page spreads that tantalize the eyes with their kinetic action. Thompson captures the stuffiness and uneasy comedy that pervades Correspondent's Dinners with her tight panels and uneasy visages. Manapul's incredible attention to detail fills every panel and captures both the joy of the Christmas Holiday season and the horrors of a potentially fatal automobile accident.

I'm not sure what the purpose of this Action Comics Special was, besides to get me to buy more Superman comics, and maybe give some of the industry's top talents a (last) crack at telling a Big Blue Boyscout story. Whatever it was, it worked, and it was worth the cover price. If only to get the chance to read yet another Dan Jurgens Superman story.


Rating: 9 /10

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Last Updated: May 7, 2018 - 23:14

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