The first time I started collection Superman comic books was back in the eighties when John Byrne come over to DC after Crisis and rebooted the character with his Man of Steel mini series and the ongoing Superman title (along with Adventures of Superman). Action Comics was changed into a weekly anthology title, still featuring Superman of course but the weekly release schedule was too much for my 12-year old budget and I quickly dropped the title.
Action Comics is now approaching the one-thousand issue mark and I recently started checking out the various Man of Steel titles and this one has quickly become a favorite. I am not sure if it is the eighties-inspired covers which I just adore or the interesting storylines and great artwork but the title is doing everything right in the lead up to the anniversary issue. Superman and Booster Gold continue their travels into the future when Zod and his crew have taken over.
Writer Dan Jurgens wrote his first Superman book in 1987, soon after I had just gotten into the character, so he has the experience writing for the cast of the comic as well as coming from my favorite era of the title. He writes a great Superman; powerful but not boring. Strong but not too strong. It is a balance that many writers fail to find and it is wonderful to see Dan still doing great work thirty years after he first wrote, and I first read, his Superman. The issue does falter however with his depiction of Lois Lane, hardnosed reporter who has seemingly turned into an Army Ranger parachuting into a war zone and knocking out soldiers. I am hesitant with this particular part of the storyline and it took a little off the rating for me.
Will Conrad provides the artwork and it is fantastic. Clean and easy to follow he gives the action scenes fluidity that conveys the motion of the characters and the fighting scenes are suitably hard hitting. Praise should also be given to Ivan Nunes who does the coloring for the issue making Superman and Booster Gold pop off the page and contrasting the grey-toned apocalyptic backgrounds perfectly. All three make quite the team and continue to build excitement for Action Comics #1000 coming up in a few months, let the celebrations begin!
Action Comics #996
DC Comics – $2.99