Ricky Church reviews Action Comics #975…
“SUPERMAN REBORN” part two! Celebrating our 975th issue with a supersize special as another layer of the Superman/Clark Kent mystery is exposed! And in a backup story written by Paul Dini with art by Ian Churchill, learn what it all means for the Son of Superman, who is the prize in a deadly game!
For an anniversary issue, Action Comics #975 delivered a lot on answers as well as great tributes to Superman’s long history. It was a little surprising to see the mystery surrounding the other Clark Kent revealed so quickly, but then again this is a four-part story; there’s only so much time Dan Jurgens has to spend so kudos for making the reveal now rather than later and not making it feel rushed at all.
The main story saw Superman and Lois racing to the apartment of ‘Clark Kent’ as they searched for the missing Jon. This part of the issue went by fairly quickly as ‘Clark’ revealed his true self to the pair. The identity of this other ‘Clark’ is a bit of a surprise; keen readers might have guessed in Superman #18 and early on in #975, but it was still surprising to see Mr. Myxzptlk unmask himself as the man behind Jon’s abduction.
Myxzptlk has always been more of a trickster than an actual villain, with his role in Alan Moore’s Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? his most villainous role to date, but Jurgens presents Myxzptlk’s anger and resentment towards Superman in a way that justifies this drastic mental shift.
Really, though, it’s Paul Dini’s back-up story that is the meat of this character development. Dini dives into what’s happened to Mxyzptlk and how he’s grown so angry at Superman. Dini also succeeds in making readers feel sympathetic to Mxyzptlk after his treatment by Mr. Oz (and, in a meta moment, by DC itself). Even still, Mxyptlk still comes across as playful and his interaction with Jon is one of the issue’s best aspects.
The art in both stories is well done, with Dough Mahnke working on the main story and Ian Churchill in the back-up. Mahnke’s renditions of Superman’s various villains are quite animated and detailed, with Wil Quintana’s colours adding a vibrant look to each of them. His rendition of Mxyzptlk, though, actually comes across as a threatening and vengeful villain, intent on taking away everything Superman cares about. Churchill manages to capture the sorrow of Mxyzptlk’s story while still imbuing the character with a sense of fun as he toys with Jon. The art in the book is just great all around.
With one of the larger mysteries revealed, ‘Superman Reborn’ has kicked into high gear with Action Comics #975. Jurgens and Dini both bring even more emotion to the story with their sympathetic and angry Mxyzptlk and Mahnke and Churchill displayed him that way very well. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Oz will play into the story and what exactly he’s got planned for Superman as the story continues next week. For now, though, Action Comics #975 was not only a great chapter in an intriguing story, but an excellent anniversary issue for the world’s oldest superhero.