Action Comics #971 Review


Action Comics #971 Review

After last issue’s cliffhanger, Action Comics #971 is poised to be one of this week’s most-wanted books. While everyone (except Zack Snyder) knows Superman wouldn’t let his greatest adversary be executed, DC’s made weird decisions before. Lest we forget, they allowed Snyder to kill off Jimmy Olsen in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and gave the Joker face tats in Suicide Squad. So does “Men of Steel” part five let us down harder than 2016’s comic book movies?

Absolutely not. If there’s one writer who knows Superman, it’s Dan Jurgens – and he’s written a corker of an issue. Similar in narrative to an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, it’s packed with Superman-Lex Luthor wisecracks, marvelous action scenes and intergalactic travel. There’s an unwavering sense that Jurgens is really enjoying writing this series, and its exuberance is contagious to the readers as well.

While Peter J. Tomasi’s Superman captures the spirit of classic Superman comics, Action Comics is channeling the DCAU’s fun factor. In an era where comics are too serious or too silly, it’s nice to have some balance without forsaking fun. If you haven’t noticed, Jurgens is applying the same principles to his Batman Beyond run, so be sure to check that one out, too.

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Artistically, the tag team of Art Thibert and Stephen Segovia choose a minimalist approach to their sci-fi backdrops. Conveying the vastness and grandeur of the planets and space, their approach works effectively well. We don’t get lost in the detail because they constantly bring us back to what the story’s really about: Superman and Luthor.

What must also be commended is Thibert and Segovia’s handling of the action scenes. Often we see action sequences as two page spreads, which look like nice wallpapers but don’t really say much. The artists don’t abandon the story for grandstand moments here, choosing to show the battle over several smaller panels. Not only does this give us more action, but it builds up a better story as well. Hopefully, more artists will take note and apply this to their own series.

The long and short of Action Comics #971 is the Remnants want Superman to be judge, jury and executioner to Luthor. Naturally, he doesn’t go through with it and rescues Luthor instead. Using the Mother Box, Luthor plots their escape back to Earth by creating a boom tube. The Remnants have other plans, though, jamming the Box and stranding Luthor and Superman on a planet with a red sun. With Superman’s powers depleted, it’s up to Luthor to save them, but can he be trusted? Back on Earth, Lois and Jon break into the “other” Lois’s apartment to research more about the vanishing building. An unexpected visitor, however, drops by to really complicate matters.

While Jurgens might be known best for “The Death of Superman” storyline, his “Men of Steel” has been equally tremendous. Capturing everything we love about the character, he constantly delivers quality and engaging tales. The next time you argue with your friends why the comic books are better than films, hand them a copy of Action Comics #971. The book speaks for itself.


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