Author: Greg Pak
Pencils: Aaron Kuder & Jeb Dougherty
Reviewed by: kimmiecoo
Action Comics #30 had a lot to accomplish – revealing the true villain of the story, wrapping up a story arc, linking together events occurring in other books to the villain in this book, laying the groundwork for the next story and last but not least continuing the main character’s growth. Fortunately it landed in the capable hands of Greg Pak to tackle this daunting task. With a lesser writer the issue could have easily fallen apart in trying to juggle all these balls.
Greg Pak continues to bring the character exploration of our greatest superhero. While Superman is involved in amazing action sequences throughout Action, it is the study of Clark/Superman that is front and center in Pak’s Action run. It is the beating heart of this Superman book.
We are given some wonderful insight to Clark/Superman through his shared childhood memories with Lana but it is through Clark’s thought boxes where the reader really gets to see who Superman is – a man who can perform extraordinary feats because of his Kryptonian (or in the new 52’s terms alien) genes however beneath the billowing red cape, the Kryptonian blue armor, the House of El shield, is a man who feels deeply, is always thinking, uses the lessons taught to him by Jonathan and Martha Kent to guide his actions, conscious of the consequences of his actions and believes that one will do right in the end despite having just fought against him like Sawyer, the Ghost Soldier or Harrow, the necromancer, who had just raised an huge army of made up of soldiers who lost their lives in wars gone by to battle Superman.
Harrow, the Ghost Soldier’s commander and who is also apparently responsible for an attack on Wonder Women in the Superman/Wonder Woman book, is an interesting “villain”. I would say Harrow can be less categorized as the typical supervillain and categorized more as an adversary, an adversary of ideals/ideology. She and by extension her subordinates or ghost soldiers technically fight on the same side as Superman which he points out after Harrow’s defeat. Superman asks why must they fight each other when they both are “fighting the big fight” to save humans but where Harrow’s ideals differ from Superman’s is she is fighting to “save” humans and only humans while Superman is fighting to save everyone and everything, whether it be humans or butterflies or otherwordly lemur-monkeys and it is because of him choosing to save all beings and not just focus on saving humans, she accuses Superman of not being able to make the hard decisions. Superman does make the hard decisions. It is just his “priorities” differ from Harrow’s as evidenced by both Superman and Sawyer’s actions throughout this story arc.
Unfortunately because Pak had to introduce Doomsday for the upcoming Doomed crossover event, the five pages devoted to its introduction I feel shortchanged Harrow and most especially her motivations. Hopefully we will get this exploration when she returns. From what it seems Harrow will be a recurring opponent judging by her final words and it also seems we have not seen the last of Sawyer since it has been solicited that the Ghost Soldier will be appearing in Action #31 during the Doomed crossover event.
Aaron Kuder is still doing an amazing job with the art. Even just seeing the silhouette of the Clark/Baka hug made me tear up. Aaron did have some help with the art by Jeb Dougherty. His style is sleeker compared to Aaron’s but the two styles blended well.
Overall a solid ending to Greg & Aaron’s first arc in Action. Though, as I said earlier, I felt the big bad in Harrow and the Tower lost some of its bite because of Greg having to set up the upcoming crossover event that will be taking over Action and Superman/Wonder Woman for the foreseeable future. However, Clark’s character development and character exploration did not get sacrificed and I truly hope, and so far Greg has not let me down, we continue to see the exploration of Clark/Superman’s character development in Action despite the big event.