In the Warner Bros.’ DC Extended Universe, Superman has been getting arguably the worst character treatment thus far. In the comics however, he has been one of the best character readjustments in the era of DC Rebirth. The pre-New 52 Clark Kent and his family have assumed their roles at the center of the super hero world, no more hiding away. Superman as an actual father again is the most intriguing the character has ever been, seeing as he also serves as a father figure and moral compass to most of the heroes that make up the DC universe.
Action Comics #961 is the fifth chapter in the “Paths Of Doom” arc, featuring the return of Doomsday to Metropolis. Despite the name of the story, Doomsday is the least interesting piece to this Superman puzzle. There are a handful of threads being woven at the moment, with a lot of mystery going on in the background of all the action. Not only is Superman back to protect his city against Doomsday, but Lex Luthor is sporting an “S” on his chest as well. In his efforts to control the damage done to Metropolis, he encounters a non-super Clark Kent. Then there’s also a Superwoman who seems to be another Lois Lane, and Lex and Clark witness her literally fly by to save a few people.
Behind the scenes is the mysterious villain monitoring the chaos – a character that many fans believe to be Watchmen‘s Ozymandias. Whoever he is, he seems to know a lot more than the rest of us as to how or why anything is happening. Superman and Wonder Woman push their fight with Doomsday upstate to get away from innocent people (and then remind you about it as much as Zach Snyder did in the end of Batman V Superman). They fail to gain the upper hand and Clark sends Wonder Woman away with his family so they can be protected in case “history repeats itself.” Doomsday gains the upper hand on Supes, but as he’s catching his breath a mysterious containment squad arrives, summoned by the mysterious man behind the curtain who’s been watching everything unfold.
Dan Jurgens has done a fine job reminding readers what they missed about Superman during the New 52. It’s been a fun ride so far as Clark & Lois’s son, Jon discovers his abilities and adjusts to his dad being the world’s savior. All the subplots are interesting as well,and I can’t remember the last time a Superman book had so much mystery within it. The only problem is that readers are five issues into this arc and still have no answers to the questions posed. An epic battle with Doomsday, while a strange and seemingly ultra powerful character lurks in the shadows, can only hold readers’ interest for so long. This is the adjustment period as we’re all gently guided into the Rebirth era, but I don’t think I’m the only person reading who wants some answers sooner rather than later.
The big action sequences and touching family moments really hit, Segovia, Thibert, and Prianto give fans the Superman book they want to look at. I can’t tell if I’m really enjoying the brief moments of Super-Lex or if it’s that the design is so wonderful, but I want more of it every issue. Superman himself looks amazing, and his level of power is illustrated flawlessly, never exaggerated or tiresome. The same goes for Doomsday – a generally boring and over-done character – and they manage to make him almost as menacing as he was in Death Of Superman. The artwork of Action Comics #961 feels fresh and not forced, which is a major accomplishment in such a popular title at the forefront of a reboot/not-reboot.
This is a pretty great issue of Action Comics, and the story and art do plenty to keep readers turning pages and coming back for the next issue. Superman is fun again and speaks right to the hearts of comic reading dads everywhere. As long as we start getting some answers, this book is surely headed in the right direction.