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
Reviewed by: Michael Bailey
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.
Story – 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.
Art – 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.
Cover 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.
Variant 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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