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Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics

Action Comics #27 Action Comics #27

Action Comics #27

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 8, 2014

Cover date: March 2014


Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: R.B. Silva, Mike Hawthorne and Aaron Kuder
Inker: Ray McCarthy, Mike Hawthorne and Aaron Kuder

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Clark remembers the day he discovered his super-hearing. It was soon after he fell out of a tree and wasn't hurt by the experience and somehow he got it in his head that he could fly. In addition to the sounds of nature he heard his parents talking about the fact that he wasn't human and soon after that they revealed how they found him and gave him the blanket he had been wrapped in. In the present that same blanket, now his cape, is being used by the creature that was a rampaging dragon monster and then a little boy and now a mixture of the two. Clark isn't sure what to do with him but he tries to be reassuring. The youngster, Clark believes his name is Baka from the word he keeps saying over and over again, gets loose and runs through the Fortress settling finally in Clark's bedroom.

Just as Baka sees a picture of Lana she calls and tells Clark about what she found in the caves where Baka had come from. She sends Clark some pictures she took of the cave painting which freak Baka out a bit before heading back down there before some suits shut her down. Lana is intent on finding something and doesn't know that the Ghost Solider is following her. She discovers a giant pink orb floating in the middle of a hidden room but before she can really study it a gaggle of monsters attack. Clark, having changed to Superman, arrives just in time and defends her. Baka comes along too and after Lana mistakes him for another creature Superman explains that he is a friend.

Soon a humanoid man steps forward and tells them that these creatures are not all bad. Superman is prepared to fight, especially when the man seems to threaten Baka but soon the man informs Superman and Lana that they are not there to hurt them but rather protect them from the hidden curses, glories and temptations of Imperial Subterranea. Superman and Lana are shocked to see an entire city come into view. Elsewhere in Subterranea a woman claiming to be queen is told of the breech in the seal keeping them hidden. She prepares to head into the world and let the people of the sun pay homage to their grateful queen.

4Story - 4: Normally I am not a fan of Superman stories that either get too far out in space or in other dimensions. My tastes run more towards grounded (no pun intended there I assure you) stories where Superman is the most fantastic thing around outside of whatever threat he is fighting. Having said that I am not opposed to reading stories that get too far out in space or in other dimensions or, as with this issue, deep with the hidden worlds beneath the Earth as long as they are entertaining and engage me on an emotional level. This issue hit both of those marks. Not only did I enjoy myself but Pak manage to grab me early in the issue and make me care about the characters involved.

At first I was a little dubious of the opening scene where Clark discovers his super hearing. We have gotten a lot of origin stories in the past five or so years. Maybe it's my fault for sticking around but between the recent film and the New 52 reboot and then SECRET ORIGIN before that not to mention the EARTH ONE graphic novel there have been numerous takes on key moments in Clark's past. This is where Pak really stands out as a writer because he took that familiar setting and made it work even though I had seen different iterations of it in the past. It was the emotion of the scene; Clark's joy at his discovery and then the sadness of realizing he is an alien to the acceptance when Martha and Jonathan give him the blanket. It all came together over three pages and then turned into a nice parallel for Baka and Clark having to decide what to do with him.

The scenes in the Fortress were great as well. Even though Baka was back to his old self by the end of the issue Pak got a lot of mileage out of cute and "fuzzy" Baka. Watching him run through the Fortress was endearing made more so by the fact that in this great and wondrous Fortress of Solitude filled with alien wonders Clark's bedroom still looks like it would in his apartment complete with Smallville pendants on the wall. It grounded both Clark and the Fortress and showed that while he is Superman and there is a lot of cool and amazing stuff that goes along with being Superman he still wants to sleep on a bed with a nightstand that has pictures of his family and friends on it. I liked that. A lot.

The rest of the issue was pretty standard Superman stuff but that is by no means a criticism. Lana's introduction to the issue was pretty smooth and I continue to like how Pak is writing her. Ghost Solider makes a brief appearance and Pak even makes him sympathetic with his comments of being concerned for Lana's safety. Ukur's introduction was nice as well. It allowed for some Superman type action mixed with some fun dialogue before the big reveal is made. Everything built to that final moment that turned into a cliffhanger ending and left me excited for the next issue. The epilogue was a nice touch but seemed a little out of place. It's like Pak wanted to introduce the real threat but ran out of room in the main story. It wasn't a deal breaker but I liked the first cliffhanger over the second one.

In any case this was a great issue. Pak's run is getting off to a good start. We're three issues in and he's still around so score one for progress on that front. I am working under the assumption that we'll get more into Ukur and the Imperial Subterranea next time and I have a feeling I will enjoy that too. This title is coming along nicely at the moment. I hope it stays that way.

4Art - 4: The most surprising thing about the art in this issue was how smooth the transitions between artists was. To be honest I really didn't notice the change until I read the credits. I know that's probably a bad thing but the styles blended into each other in an organic way so it wasn't jarring. Looking back I see the differences but in my first read through it didn't click with me. Silva's first three pages had a lot of heart and warmth to them and I really like the little circles representing what Clark was hearing. Hawthorne's pages made Baka look...well, there's no other way to describe it. He made Baka look cute which went a long way to endearing the character to me. Kuder came in at the end with some solid action work and I am slowly warming up to his style. He certainly does a good job with the subterranean worlds and the creatures.

5Cover Art - 5: This was a great cover. Ukur was large and imposing and Superman looked fantastic. To be fair this scene really doesn't play out in the comic but it sure would have made me want to buy the comic to see why Superman was fighting this guy.

5Variant Cover Art - 5: I have no idea how I am supposed to be objective about this cover. It is adorable and not meant to be judged beyond, "Man, that's cute."

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Except for digital first releases, the month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2014

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