Actions Comics #19 Review
rating: 4Reading Action Comics #19 is such a bittersweet experience. Andy Diggle has written what really feels like the first Superman comic of the New 52, but Diggle has also already left the book. Official reasons as to why have not really been given outright, but in all likelihood its another instance of editor interference creating extreme dissatisfaction with the creative teams. Its been happening a lot at DC, and its getting to a point where its almost comical, if it werent such a bummer for the fans. Anyway, more about Superman, less about DC. Its the first book after Grant Morrisons run (which I suspect will read better in collected format) so in a way its almost a reboot within a reboot. If you didnt read any of Morrisons run you wont have any problems jumping into this issue. Likewise, if youve never read a Superman comic before you can read Action Comics #19 just fine. Like I said, it reads like Action Comics #1 when you consider the context of the New 52. Lois Lane doesnt know that Clark Kent is really Superman, and their interactions are classic. Also, the sexual tension is reaching ridiculous heights. This is one of the highlights of the New 52 reboot, in that it is doing what a reboot needs to do - keeping things fresh and interesting, while maintaining the core of what made its previous iteration so great. The Lois Lane/Clark Kent dynamic is new, but familiar. The development of these two characters is similar to what we've seen before, but it's more current. So yes, it does feel a little bit like back tracking but at the same time it's fun to just sit back and enjoy the ride. Im undecided on how I feel about Lois quip about Clarks Harry Potter glasses. On one hand, its nice to see someone acknowledge the silliness of Kal-Els human disguise while making efforts to establish the modern continuity of the New 52. On the other hand, it sort of exacerbates that problem that has plagued the New 52 since its launch continuity. I could also just be being over analytical about a joke and nitpicking. The thing about the New 52 though is that when you start pondering the continuity of one of the titles, you have to think about all of the titles. What was left, what was ditched, what has sort of been incorporated. It can get messy, but again this is me thinking about DC, and not just Superman. If you remember those three promotional images that were released to hype up Diggles run then youll have an idea of how awesome the art of Tony S. Daniel, Batt and Tomeu Morey is in Action Comics #19. This comic is visually stunning. Whether its the crowded bar with Lois Lane, Superman flying through the night sky to confront the military piloting the mech-suits or just Supes doing what Super does best and kicking ass every page is gorgeous. Also from the promotional images the writing. Oh man, Superman gonna Superman. I didnt throw the first punch, but Ill throw the last was awesome as a single promo image, but watching Supes say it before showing his attackers what a feeble attempt trying to fight the Man of Steel is really illustrates how in sync Diggle and Daniel were for this issue. Lex Luthor is as diabolical as ever. In fact, hes just downright frightening in this issue. Maybe it has to do with the imprisonment, and the brooding way that all of his panels are drawn, but theres something very dark and haunting in those pages, and not just aesthetically. It is an interesting parallel to Supermans Fortress of Solitude in a way. Oh, hes also doing his whole evil genius thing and using the mechs to trigger a military intervention by the United States. Luthor is also utilizing everyones favorite Deus ex Machina, Kryptonite, once again. Kryptonite has always been a funny thing, its such an easy plot device on which to rely, but at the same time, under the hands of a good writer its inclusion can be pretty clever and thought out. This is what happens when Andy Diggle uses it. Luthor has found a way to actually inject it into Superman, and alter his genetic make up rendering him essentially powerless. The issue ends on an awesome cliff-hanger that just serves as a reminder that Andy Diggle has already walked away from this book. Tony Daniel will be pulling double duty and finishing this arc as both artist and writer, but as for whether or not he will remain as such afterwards, or if DC will find a new writer altogether remains to be seen. Action Comics #19 is a beautiful and fun comic book...which might be why Diggle has left, since DC apparently has a strong aversion to putting books that are fun.