In these stories from ACTION COMICS #967-972, Lex Luthor is under attack–and only Superman can save him! When the world’s most ingenious scientific mind took on the mantle of Metropolis’ new Man of Steel, the world took notice–and so did the mysterious Godslayer!
Dan Jurgens, Tyler Kirkham , Patrick Zircher , Stephen Segovia
I’m still kicking myself for not resuming my Rebirth readings sooner, because if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from reading this Action Comics Volume, it’s this:
DAN JURGENS IS KING!
Set after the events of the last volume, Superman and his son investigate the missing Geneticron facility, which they find in the Amazon rain forest. However, a mysterious warrior known as the Godslayer and his companion Zade arrive in Metropolis, seeking to capture and kill Lex Luthor, who they’ve predicted via visions would replace Darkseid. Despite not trusting Prime Earth’s Luthor, Superman travels to the planet Nideesi to rescue his arch nemesis from execution.. for a crime he hasn’t even committed (yet).
I really fell in love in the story, which explores the question of whether someone should be punished for a crime they may commit, but haven’t; Clark Kent – the pseudo-Kent that mysteriously appeared in Volume 1 – even referred to the idea of killing Hitler so that WWII would never happen. It was fun watching Superman stick to his morals: people should be punished for a crime they actually commit, not one that they may commit. It’s a bit funny, because in The New 52 Action Comics (Volume 1), Luthor himself helps to capture Superman for the same reason the Godslayer captures him.
To make things even more interesting, Superman is confronted with his own philosophy, namely his own lack of faith in it, based on his complete lack of trust in Luthor, even though he’s hellbent on rescuing him.
That said, even though this is a Superman story, Jurgens’ depiction of Luthor steals the show. As the reader, you know from experience to not trust Luthor, trained by experience to see him as either a villain, or a sleazy genius with ulterior motives. Yet I found myself feeling bad for Luthor, not only because of the twisted situation he’s in, at the mercy of the politics of the Godslayer trying to kill him, but also when you realize that Superman’s distrust may be misplaced. Even so, you still can’t shake the feeling that something is amiss, which Jurgens even entertains that possibility throughout the duration of the story.
The Godslayer appears outright evil at first, but Jurgens does humanize him to garner sympathy. He lost his family to Darkseid, and he wants to prevent his visions of Luthor becoming the latter’s successor to become real. While he is an enjoyable character, he might come across as cliche (he brought back images of Bishop from the X-Men, or any hero who back in time to prevent a catastrophe in the future, i.e. Future Trunks or the Terminator). However, it’s good that Jurgens took a popular trope and used it to even the scales; you want to hate the Godslayer, but you sense the nobility of his actions, and you want to love Luthor, but you don’t trust him.
The same thing could be applied to Clark Kent; he was always supposed to the typical nice guy/every-man, but he comes across as a straight up jerk at times. Yet Jurgens did something clever; rather than Lois Lane trying to discover Superman’s identity, as she did in the Golden/Silver Age, the roles seem a bit reverse, especially when Kent discovers Jonathan.
Kirkman, Segovia and Zircher all return for the artwork, which I really enjoyed to look at. It doesn’t feel rushed, they leave enough space in their panels to prevent the story from appearing cramped, and it was one of the reasons why the story was so easy to follow. The pages were colorful when they needed to be; they were vibrant and sort of jumped out at me as I turned the pages. It sets a standard for one’s personal expectations when reading a DC comic.
All in all, the plot twists and turns left me laughing in glee as I fed my inner child with this great collection. The story was brief, easy to follow, very direct, and above all, very entertaining, one that you want to re-read over and over. The philosophical aspect explored in the story never came across as preachy, nor was it used to sacrifice action scenes.
It also made me remember why Jurgens was a childhood favourite, and I will never delay reading his work like this again in the future.
#ReadingChallenge2018 – 2