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‘Action Comics #900’: A Comics Review

The first comic to be requested for a review is also the only one so far to reach the 900th issue milestone – Superman. I’ll say it right off the bat, I’m not a Superman fan. I’m not a fan of the more two-dimensional superhero, and Superman seems to be the stereotype for that, in my opinion. But it wasn’t because of the milestone of the issue that the review was requested, but rather a certain event in the comic. With that it’s time to delve into Action Comics #900.

Writing:

Paul Cornell serves as the main writer for this issue. There are two main plots of the issue; Lex Luthor confronting Superman with some almighty power, and, the super[insert suffix here]s confronting Doomsday somewhere in space. The plot serves as the finale for the ‘Black Ring’ arc and the beginning of the ‘Reign of Doomsdays’ arc. These plots are combined (kind of) by the end of the issue. Now let’s look at each plotline of the issue. The first serves as an examination of both Luthor and Superman’s humanity being juxtaposed against one another. While there are quite a few well written panels (and a nice cameo by the Endless Death), a great deal of the humanity arguments feel forced by the end of the plotline. There are some good moments along the way, but it’s forgettable by its conclusion. The Doomsday plot feels more like an outline to the issue. It leans heavily on events of prior issues and is only given significant attention at the end of the issue when the Luthor plot is concluded. Out of the two plots the Luthor one is far better and I feel like I would enjoy a series that focused on entirely on Luthor, since his characterization is far interesting than the other action-orientated plot.

Now you may be wondering why this comic was requested, considering no event in the main issue really stands out that much. But wait, this is a milestone issue, so they threw in a couple of side stories. Most of these stories are standard, one is stand-out, a few lackluster, and one that is controversial. Let’s sum the request with this image:

Oh my!

Essentially the controversy of this particular issue is Superman renouncing his citizenship…in a side story. Before judging entirely I’ll discuss the intent of that story. Of which is to address Arab Solidarity and the role that the individual (in this case a super-powered one). And to prevent the idea of globalization from the United States, Superman renounces his citizenship. I must commend the attempt to address Solidarity because it’s an important concept in the world today. However, it feels incredibly forced. The last panel also shows a scene that doesn’t feel like the writers fully comprehend the issues in the Middle East in terms of solidarity, or maybe they’re just being overly idealistic. My problem isn’t that Superman renounces his citizenship, but that there is no fleshed out background towards the decision. The event being made as a side story belittles the issue itself. Superman’s resignation of his citizenship will probably mean nothing on the larger scale of the DC Universe, especially considering he has a couple of Doomsdays to fight.

Design:

The panel arrangement is standard. The only exception to this is a two page horizontal spread showing the chronological depiction of Superman from his first appearance to today. That’s about it.

Art:

The art is also standard. It’s quality and fairly standard superhero fare. The only two exceptions to this are two of the side stories. One mythical one done by RB Silva, which has a cosmic feel to it, and is okay. The colors are really bright, and definitely feels different than the rest of the digital art in the issue. The other side story by artist Ryan Sook is actually fantastic. The lines are crisp, but the best part of it is easily the use of muted colors. The issue takes place before Krypton’s destruction, and the use of muted colors give the otherworldly sense, as well as the foreshadowing of the planet’s fate. Beyond those two stories it’s fairly standard stuff.

Good stuff

Final Opinion:

Action Comics #900 is fairly standard, despite serving a milestone in the comics industry. It’s major attraction is the side issue in which Superman renounces his U.S. citizenship, that really doesn’t amount to much, considering it’s placement as a side issue and it’s lack of proper build-up. The plot of Lex Luthor and Superman juxtaposing their own humanities serves as the highlight of the issue, though it could’ve been fleshed out far better. For being a milestone I feel like the issue could have done more to celebrate Superman, beyond his humanity juxtaposition and the two page spread. If it had I felt like the issue would have stood out more beyond the weak side issue concerning Superman’s citizenship.

Action Comics and Superman are owned and published by DC Comics. Paul Cornell serves as the primary writer, and Pete Woods and Jesus Merino serve as the primary artists.

A larger discussion on that side issue: http://www.comicsalliance.com/2011/04/27/superman-renounces-us-citizenship/

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