DC is putting out a really awesome Superman comic these days – and it’s not the one receiving a ridiculous amount of marketing hype. Since taking the reins near the end of 2013, Greg Pak’s Action Comics has become one of the best comics available at any publisher. Despite getting caught in the fun but nonsensical mess that was the “Doomed” crossover, Pak and artist Aaron Kuder have achieved success by telling straightforward and emotionally affecting superhero stories. Action Comics #39 sees the team reach the conclusion of their first post-“Doomed” arc, is a perfect example of why their take on the character works where so many others in the New 52 have failed.
Pak, Kuder, and guest-artist Scott Kolins conclude this four issue arc with the reveal their big-bad is actually a new take on a classic villain. Though this character is barely recognizable, Pak’s more abstract approach to character examination – through a villain that feeds on others’ fear – distills Superman down to his most raw, emotional core. Everyone fears something, even the Man of Steel. It is his ability to overcome that fear for the good of others that has made him a figure to aspire to, especially when his fear is wholly relatable – the fear of losing your loved ones and being alone.
It doesn’t hurt that Scott Kolins’ art (with an assist from series’ regular Aaron Kuder) is fantastic. The duo’s style gives the title an expressive and animated aesthetic that captures the fun and whimsy that a Superman title should have without cheapening the script’s more somber tones.
Note: This review was originally published at ComicsBulletin.com