Action Comics #20 is the middle issue of the three part story offered up by the creative team of Andy Diggle and Tony S. Daniel. Even though Diggle has already left the title and Daniel is on his way out with the conclusion of this arc, so far they have delivered on the title’s namesake. Giving us a story that is packed with plenty of action, Diggle and Daniel provide the comic book that we’ve been waiting for since the New 52 began. Scott Lobdell will be taking over writing duties on Action Comics and, perhaps as a preview of what’s to come, he writes a backup story that takes us to Krypton.
This issue has dialogue that is packed with information. Not a single word is wasted here as there doesn’t seem time for idle prattle. Everyone in the issue carries a distinct voice. I really enjoy how Lex’s dialogue is being written as there’s a sense of calm in every word he says. It’s as though he’s constantly in control and because of this, always maintains his composure. When the action picks up pace, the dialogue almost disappears and the action becomes the story. I like this separation as it allows us to focus more on the wonderful art provided by Daniel.
Speaking of the wonderful art, Tony S. Daniel has done an amazing job with this run. His effort should be commended as he not only draws the issue, but at this point taken over writing as well. Pulling double duty could easily allow him the leeway to produce subpar work. But he doesn’t. I really enjoy his Superman and the paneling is very creative in some areas. The coloring was very vibrant and fit the mood of each scene very well, even the red monotone that was used to depict several panels. Page 13 is my favorite as Daniel captures Superman’s resilience perfectly. My hope is that Daniel finds his way back to a Superman title someday.
What I Loved:
What’s not to love? This title has really shined since Morrison’s run ended. Diggle and Daniel’s departure from the series is really a travesty given the great work they’re putting out. The art and the story are really working well together here. While the truth is that Diggle has already left and Daniel is finishing out the story based on the writer’s notes, the final product is still a culmination of two people that love this character. There is no mistaking that they wanted to bring this title back from the convoluted, steaming pile of trash that Morrison gave us for 18 issues.
What I Hated:
The backup story left much to be desired. I’ve really been enjoying Lobdell’s work on Superman. While I look forward to him taking over Action to provide some uniformity between the two books, I don’t feel the backup story is necessary here. Perhaps he’s setting up for his first arc, which isn’t unheard of, but it just seems like he’s getting ready to tell a story we’ve heard before. I’m not sure how it’s going to mesh with what’s going on in the current DCnU. There’s one line in particular that kind of rubbed me the wrong way. One of the Kryptonian’s paraphrases a famous Shakespearean line from Hamlet. While it’s possible that the reference was done merely to provide some levity, as a fan of Shakespeare I picked up on it and it felt out of place. Admittedly I’m probably nitpicking here.
Favorite (non-spoilerish) Line:
“More important, remember to keep your eyes open. Here endeth the lesson.” – Lex Luthor after teaching his Jujitsu instructor a lesson.
This book, while coming in at an expensive $3.99, will be worth the money if you’re a current subscriber of Action comics. Being that it’s in the middle of an arc, I would suggest picking up issue #19 before diving into it if you’re looking for a jumping on point. The story is great, the art is superb and we’re heading for an epic showdown in the next issue that you won’t want to miss!
Story: 8.5 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy
Writer: Andy Diggle and Tony S. Daniel Pencils: Tony S. Daniel Inks: BATT and Daniel Colorist: Tomeu Morey Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual Cover Art: Daniel & BATT with Morey Associate Editor: Rickey Purdin Editor: Eddie Berganza Publisher: DC Comics Cover Date: July 2013 Cover Price: $3.99 US Title: “Hybrid pt. 2”