Mild Mannered Reviews – Action Comics #974

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Action Comics #974

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 22, 2017

Cover date: April 2017

“Mild Mannered” – Part 2

Writer: Dan Jurgens
Penciller: Patrick Zircher and Stephen Segovia
Inker: Patrick Zircher and Art Thibert

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superman and Steel take Superwoman from one Fortress of Solitude to another to get Superwoman stable. Hank Henshaw and his forces invade Clark’s other Fortress but this only serves to allow Blanque to destroy the Fortress and escape. Lois goes on her date with DoppleClark but leaves when he suddenly proposes. DoppleClark follows her back to the farmhouse and sees Lois, Jonathan and Real Clark having dinner. Suddenly he remembers everything and accuses Lois and Clark of ruining his life. If it’s fun they want it will be fun that they get.

5Story – 5: A part of me was a little bummed that we didn’t get to learn the background of DoppleClark in this issue but that’s more on me than on Dan Jurgens. It would be selfish to sit here and throw a fit because I didn’t get what I wanted. The stories in both ACTION COMICS and SUPERMAN have been so good since Rebirth started that I must put aside where I want the story to go and just let the story unfold as it will because I know that, in the end, I will be satisfied.

This issue was mostly set-up but Jurgens wrote that set-up in an engaging manner. The scenes with Superman, Steel and Superwoman did a good job of getting those characters where they need to be for the next storyline and, like last issue, it was nice to see the Super Family interact. It is a little weird that we go through all of what we went through with Superwoman only to leave her at the other Fortress but I know that will all be resolved so it wasn’t a big deal.

Speaking of Fortresses, it was cool to see Jurgens go back to the characters he used in LOIS AND CLARK. Henshaw’s involvement was not as dramatic as the cliffhanger from last issue led us to believe it would be but I liked seeing him just the same. The Blanque is a great villain and the shot at the end of him sitting on the ruins of the Fortress and laughing was unsettling, which I liked quite a bit. I enjoyed the LOIS AND CLARK mini-series, so it was great to see elements of that be brought into the Rebirth era. It gives this Superman a sense of history even though that history is only about a year old.

Lois and DoppleClark’s “date” was a little creepy with a little sad and a little funny thrown in for good measure. The fact that he proposed at the end was a surprise but made a weird kind of sense. Again, I wanted to have everything about this Clark revealed but having him remember his past and keep that from the audience was the best kind of tease and made for another great cliffhanger. I know it’s a cliché to complain about how most modern comics are written for the trade (which is annoying but was never a breaking point for me) but it is nice to get a two-part story that sets up another story but still manages to stand on its own. Jurgens gave us a competent and likable Lois and it was nice to see that take on the character in the comics again.

I’m glad I don’t have to wait too long for SUPERMAN REBORN.
5Art – 5: As much as I like a Clark with a diverse wardrobe there is something awesome about the blue suit with the red and black striped tie. It feels so right for the character. I’m not saying it should be brought back permanently but it was cool to see it here.

Once again, the melding of artists goes off without a hitch. You could tell when they switched but the styles are so compatible that it didn’t take me out of the story. My favorite parts of the issue artistically were the scenes with Lois and DoppleClark. The expressions of the character’s faces and their body language and that last page felt real to me. It was a nice contrast to the fantastical nature of Superman and the Fortress and the Blanque. Speaking of the Blanque, I loved how sinister he looked. It really sold how this somewhat innocuous looking character could be so dangerous.

ACTION COMICS has been blessed with two excellent art teams and it was nice to see them team-up for this storyline. Consistent art has been something of a problem for Superman over the past decade or so but that has not been a problem this era of ACTION has had.

5Cover Art – 5: Part of me feels a little ripped off that this fight doesn’t actually happen in the book but I can’t be mad. This is an incredible cover and reminds me of one of my favorite scenes in all four of the Christopher Reeve Superman films. I am just going to assume that the Clark on this cover is going to give as good as he gets.

5Variant Cover Art – 5: Wow. That is one creepy cover. Seriously. Gary Frank has seriously freaked me out here. I mean it’s good but I really can’t look at it all that much.

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February 28, 2017 4:58 pm

The first thought I had when doppleClark started speaking childishly “I’ll be good.” “You’ve ruined everything!” is that he’s a clone and like Bizzaro he’s starting to degenerate.

February 28, 2017 7:57 pm
Reply to  MattComics


March 1, 2017 12:14 pm
Reply to  liheibao

I’ll never forgive DC for turning Superboy Prime into what they did. Far as I’m concerned his last appearance was issue 12 of COIE and the only Superboy Prime that exists past that is one featured in Kurt Busiek’s Secret Identity.

March 1, 2017 12:35 pm
Reply to  liheibao

I really do hope it’s Superboy Prime. Maybe he’s partially responsible for Pre New 52 Superman being there or something. Either way here’s hoping

March 1, 2017 5:33 am

The cover is a great homage to the junkyard fight in Superman III. Love it. Gotta read the issue though.

Thanks for the review.

March 1, 2017 10:25 am

Superman vs Clark Kent (or some form of doppleganger) just seems to be a trope that DC never gets tired of (Action 312, 341, 362, 453, 461, 498,524; Superman 30, 87, 119, 134, 171, 172, 174, 175, 198, 201, 209, 219, 230,242, 268, 296, 619 – just to name a few).
And, of course, the junkyard fight in Superman III.

March 1, 2017 12:24 pm
Reply to  Supermaniac

Always found the Superman III fight really disturbing and not at all in an entertaining way. I think the way the did the stuff with the trash compactors was a little much (not to mention nonsensical).

As for guesses on doppleClark I’m still leaning towards some kind of clone shenanigans. Honestly as long as this ends with Superman back at the Daily Planet as the one and only Clark Kent so we can finally put “Truth” far behind us, I’ll be happy.

March 2, 2017 6:39 am

We’ve fought for five years to have the real Clark/Supes back and now that he’s here again I hope they don’t take him out again. Some Battles never sould turn Never Ending.

Anyway I’m completely thrilled with this story and can’t wait for next issues. I also wonder what editors will do in Spain. Superman is monthly 2 issue comic and Action is bi monthly 4 issue one. I hope they don’t mess it as this story arc is a 4 issue Action/Supes crossover.