Review: Superman Action Comics #20 by Andy Diggle and Tony S. Daniel
by Joe Smith on May 5, 2013

3015049-action

Review:  Superman Action Comics #20

Published by DC Comics

“Hybrid Part 2”

Written by Andy Diggle and Tony S. Daniel

Art by Tony S. Daniel

Coloured by Tomeu Morey

“The World of Krypton Part 1:  Discovery”

Written by Scott Lobdell and Frank Hannah

Art by Philip Tan

Coloured by Tomeu Morey

The Plot

Still set at one year ago and Lex Luthor is learning martial arts and then he wants to seek out Superman’s body.  Meanwhile Superman awakens in the presence of Dr. Veritas and the infection that plagued at the end of the previous issue seems to have gone away.  Also, Superman is embarrassed that he was undressed by her while he was unconscious (but she’s a doctor so it’s alright so she says).  Superman then sees the virus still in the form of his hand in the previous issue in a dormant state.  However, it attacks him and despite Superman’s efforts, it continues to overwhelm him.  Dr. Veritas is able to intervene and comes up with a solution to deal with the virus.  Then Superman utilizes his abilities to further deal with it.  Over in Metropolis the virus is infecting other people and Superman rushes to face the danger.  Meanwhile, Lex Luthor also has a plan to deal with it as well.

The backup is a flashback story to Jor-El discovering an underwater city on Krypton.  Over at the Krypton Science Council Hall, they (which includes Lara Lor-Van) are complaining about Jor-El and his refusal to go there for an important vote.  Another Kryptonian walks up and blasts something at the end of the story.

The Breakdown

Lex’s plan to deal with Superman was pretty decent and I like how it took him to the brink in the previous issue.  I’m not partial to Dr. Veritas and I don’t have a strong opinion about her either way.  However, I liked the fact that Diggle included her in this story.  He could have ignored everything going on in Superman title and many people would not have blamed him.  To me it just showed that he’s trying to make his story work within the newly established canon and not turn it on its ear (which if he did do many people would not have complained anyways).  I enjoyed seeing an enemy that really gave Superman a run for his money in this issue.  What I enjoyed about this confrontation was that it wasn’t just a physical one as the enemy attacked him in various ways.  Also, Superman needing the assist was a touch that I liked.  Superman uses his intellect a lot towards the end of the issue and this is something else that seemed more Supermanish.  The cliffhanger with Lex has me interested where this story is going to go next issue.  The art by Daniel is great and I’m really going to miss his presence in this title.  There were some very nicely done panels (i.e. when Veritas separated Superman and the hybrid/virus).  There were a lot of ups and downs for me artwise prior to Daniel coming onboard.  This is a straightforward story by Diggle and it adds a little bit of the new while not trying to reinvent the wheel.  This has been an enjoyable storyline thus far and I wish that this team could’ve been involved longer with this title beyond the arc.  The previous storyline had so many ups and downs that I just didn’t care about it anymore by the time the new creative team of Double D (Diggle and Daniel) rolled in.  This title and this character (who are supposedly important to DC) needed a team like to come in and I think they would have brought more people back into the fold.  I’m ranting a little bit, but it’s because the entire time I was reading issues 19 and 20 it was bittersweet.  This was a good issue.

BUT…

So Superman’s costume is armour.  Dr. Veritas undresses him and this leads me to wonder…does Superman go commando in his body armour? Weird.  Also, the martial arts scene with Lex was pretty weak.  That did not look like Jiu-Jitsu at all.  However, Lex’s actions at the end of the lesson was very typical of his character (this part was good).  I still don’t like the existence or concept of the Block.  Perhaps if it was off-world then perhaps I’d like it better.  I also associate it with how ultra-uber-ultimate-superhyper strong Superman has been established as once again over in the Superman title.  Okay, slight rant time again.  Superman wasn’t doing too hot saleswise prior to the reboot (not to sound like a broken record) and it’s like some people in creative completely failed to address what the problem was with him and made some changes that were completely unnecessary.  With my explanation of the backup story, I wasn’t being lazy at the end.  I honestly have no idea who the guy was and I don’t know what he blasted and I couldn’t tell if he took Lara’s sidearm or what.  Needless to say the whole sequence confused me.  Also, I couldn’t get into this story because I just simply do not care with what has been done with Krypton since the reboot as well.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It.  It’s a good story and it actually feels like I’m reading Superman again, which I haven’t been able to say much lately.  I have no idea what’s going on beyond this arc and as a result I’ll be dropping it (which is saying something considering I’ve suffered with this title through thick and thin).  Double D has been able to bring this title back into the mainstream and create a straightforward story with some complex elements.  Their formula has been working thus far and unfortunately, we won’t know where this title could have gone with them at the helm.



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