Tony Black reviews Action Comics #959…
“PATH TO DOOM” Chapter Three: Clark Kent gets caught in the crossfire as Doomsday crashes through the streets of Metropolis! As Lois struggles to keep young Jonathan out of the path of destruction, can former enemies Superman and Lex Luthor stop the monster that once destroyed the city and killed the Man of Steel—or does Luthor have other plans?
SEE ALSO: Check out a preview of Action Comics #959
Onwards to the ‘Path of Doom’, part three of this Action Comics run for Superman which continues the desperate battle against Doomsday across Metropolis while throwing multiple perspectives into the mix from the myriad of characters caught up in it. Except writer Dan Jurgens is in danger of this arc stretching out beyond the point of engagement given the cliffhanger he chooses to leave us on, one which both closes off the battle and leaves it wide open for the next face to swoop in. This issue does character better than plot, which tends to meander a touch as it simply serves to circle around the Superman/Doomsday smackdown, but the battle is worth the viewpoints and developments of those caught up in it.
Lois, firstly, who gets among the most characterisation we’ve seen yet in the Rebirth event, as we truly gain a deeper understanding of her past with the alt-Superman via her memories of his previous battle with Doomsday as she relives it over again, and quite how she recalls that in engaging with a scared young Jon is well characterised; he believes in his father, wants to believe in him, but Lois is fearful of history repeating itself. The mystery of the other Clark Kent thankfully isn’t forgotten and said enigma is pointed out given his interactions firstly with a confused Jimmy Olsen and later the battle hardened Superman, neither understanding how they co-exist and why Clark seems to be lacking super powers. Along in the mix, Lex Luthor continues to show the duality of his nature as he enjoys the power the suit brings him, and indeed unveils a timely motherbox he’s been secreting which could give him an upper hand if and when he & Superman go from reluctant allies to combatants on the field – Jurgens doesn’t forget this man is a classic villain with his own agenda throughout.
All the while, the mysterious hooded figure in green continues watching events through monitors and Action Comics compounds the multiple mysteries in play here while edging the narrative on slightly. It’s beautifully rendered by Tyler Kirkham, expressionistically conveying not just the major action beats but also the more tender character moments, and his work helps prop up Jurgens’ solid writing which nonetheless right now pitches a great deal in a holding pattern. We need to start pulling the trigger on some of these plot points or we’re in danger of going in circles, and hopefully that will happen over the next issue or two.
Tony Black is a freelance film/TV writer & podcaster & would love you to follow him on Twitter.
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