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Mild Mannered Reviews - Action Comics

Action Comics #38 Action Comics #38

Action Comics #38

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 15, 2015

Cover date: March 2015

"Home Is Where The Hell Is"

Writer: Greg Pak
Penciller: Aaron Kuder and Jae Lee
Inker: Aaron Kuder and Jae Lee

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Action Comics #38 After an intense nightmare about his past Clark wakes up and realizes that the fight with Doomsday must have opened up a crack in the Phantom Zone and released some of the nasty villains with psychic powers. He hears a scream coming from his boyhood home and sees Lana inside surrounded by fire. He tries to help her but can't and she is drawn into the blaze. Clark believes this is another dream but is shaken from this by a call from the kitchen. He opens the door and the rotted bodies of his parents are getting ready for breakfast. They say awful things to him before the creature responsible is revealed. It is holding Lana and Clark tries to free her but fails. Desperate he changes into Superman and leaves with the bodies of his parents.

Steel and Hiro see the fire and follow it to the Kent home. Superman explains what happened before Hiro notices strange creatures on the backs of the kids they are trying to protect. Suddenly everyone has one and when Steel tries to attack his he is shocked to the ground. Mrs. Takahara and Mr. Santiago approach the scene and explain that when Brainiac attacked the town it gave them special powers. They used those powers to fight against the evil that had come through the Phantom Zone but Superman distracted them and it's getting harder to keep the evil back. They can close the portal but Superman needs to kill the monsters that have come through. The monsters attack and it is revealed that they feed on emotion. Lana arrives and explains that it fed on her fear but now she wants Superman to just let the monsters do what they want. They make everything better. She asks Clark to let them in. Just let them in.

4Story - 4: Well, that was creepy.

I mean really creepy. And a little trippy too.

It was also a very entertaining chapter in a story that I have been a little hot and cold on. I've enjoyed what I have read thus far but I wasn't quite sure where Pak was going with all of this. Apparently where he was going was to tell a horror story with Superman in it. This is hard to do because Superman and horror don't necessarily mix, but given how it's more of a head game than Superman versus monster Pak is making it work.

The flashback sequence at the beginning set the tone for the issue. Clark can't trust his own senses and this is made worse by the conversation he has with the zombie-fied bodies of his parents. The awful things they said to him gave the scene more impact and really weirded me out, but in the way that a good horror story should.

I also liked that Pak revealed that Mrs. Takahara and Mr. Santiago weren't behind the evil that threatens Smallville but had developed strange powers thanks to Brainiac and were trying to save the town. Superman is apparently screwing this up, which works for the story but again it seems that Pak is focusing on how Superman is more of a problem than a solution. I am hoping this turns around by the end of the story but between what the older people said and what Lana has been saying for a few month now I am not getting a good feeling about the matter. The point of DOOMED seemed to be finally having Superman step up as the hero he needed to be. This seems to be the exact opposite of that. I look forward to being proven wrong. At least I hope I am proven wrong.

The final scene made for a nice wrap up to the issue. Everyone giving in to the monsters around their necks was great and ending with Lana telling Superman to just give in was a great cliffhanger. It certainly left me wanting more and while I have had my doubts about the story as a whole this issue has really turned things around.

5Art - 5: The artwork was phenomenal this time out. The Jae Lee flashback worked very well for what Pak was trying to do with the opening and while I am not Lee's biggest fan I appreciate the consistency they are giving the flashbacks by having the artist that has drawn stories of a younger New 52 Superman in the past draw these sequences. Kuder outdid himself with the horror aspects of the story and I loved how trippy things got in the Kent house. A highlight was page seven. The framing of Lana's name combined with the fire reflected in Clark's eyes and the coloring made for a powerful page that drove home everything Clark was feeling at that moment. Kuder is fast becoming the New 52 Superman artist for me. He really is.

5Cover Art - 5: This is a really striking cover. I love that everything is in black and white and shadows except the red of Superman's cape. It gives the piece a moody feel and sets the tone for the story inside.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: I am still not the biggest fan of Jae Lee's art but I have to admit that this is a striking cover. I like the horror elements and the coloring is very effective.

5Flash 75th Variant Cover Art - 5: Take the iconic cover to ACTION COMICS (Vol. 1) #485 and add a little Flash and you have a very amusing variant. I have liked most of the Flash 75th variants and while this is not my favorite it is still very entertaining and fun.

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 2015

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