Ricky Church reviews Superman – Action Comics: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2…
On the eve of Action Comics’ 1000th issue, DC has released the second deluxe Rebirth volume, Superman – Action Comics: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2, a fairly hefty collection that wraps up the mystery of the other Clark Kent while building the threat of Mr. Oz’s machinations. Dan Jurgens once again captures Superman’s character and spirit, crafting interesting and exciting stories even while delivering a bit of a continuity retcon midway.
The book collects Action Comics #967 – 984, which includes ‘Men of Steel’, ‘Revenge’ and part of Superman Reborn and its aftermath. There’s a lot of variety here for readers as Superman fights against enemies new and old, from the return of a fan-favourite villain to a collection of Superman’s rogues teaming up to take him down. The book even begins with a lengthy arc evaluating his nemesis, Lex Luthor and the possibility Lex’s turn as a hero won’t last.
The stories are enjoyable to read and offer some classic Superman action. The revelations that Jurgens plays with are sufficiently built up from past issues, not feeling like reveals for the sake of shock value. Its played with pretty well in Action Comics #975, being the second chapter of Superman Reborn, that is treated as a celebratory issue for the title given its high number with a showcase of rogues before revealing Mr. Mxyzptlk is the true culprit behind the other Clark Kent. Even the reveal of something that has happened to Superman’s senses is greatly used, adding to the sense of urgency Superman and his family faces as his enemies close in on them.
‘Men of Steel’ and ‘Revenge’ are the big stories of the book, sending Superman on some wild adventures. ‘Men of Steel’ in particular is interesting because it forces Superman and Lex to work together as a pair of intergalactic assassins come to Earth to kill Lex in order to prevent a terrible future. It forces Lex to look back on his past actions and why he’s so determined to be an actual hero while Superman is forced to ask himself how far his belief in people’s good nature and redemption goes when it comes to Lex. Seeing them work together is pretty entertaining, especially with Lex as he relies much more on his intelligence to fight back and is surprised to see Superman doing them same.
‘Revenge’, meanwhile, sees the return of Cyborg Superman as he re-assembles the Superman Revenge Squad using a number of villains who have recently appeared in Action Comics, Superman and even Suicide Squad. For an action packed story, it delves into how unstoppable Superman is even at his weakest point. Jurgens makes an interesting decision to briefly blind Superman, a factor that is solved a little too quickly and conveniently, though seeing how Superman tries to overcome this obstacle adds a sense of urgency to the fights. There’s also a nice bit of several of Superman’s allies coming to his aid by the end that only adds to the entertainment.
While the book doesn’t contain all of Superman Reborn, readers shouldn’t be too lost on what’s going on as the events of the story build upon previous chapters in the book, particularly the mystery of the other Clark Kent. It flows much better than ‘Night of the Monster Men’ did in Batman: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1 for example, giving the story a nice sense of resolution to it while also building on story beats that would be completed in The Oz Effect.
The art throughout the book is well done. Patch Zircher, Tyler Kirkham and Victor Bogdanovic are the primary artists throughout the book and their art is well detailed and quite expressive. Their varying styles do differ, but are still consistent enough that they don’t detract from the book’s visual look. Each artist conveys the character’s emotion, facial expressions and body language quite well. ‘Revenge’ is a good example of this, displaying the different ways the villains carry themselves in their confidence and arrogance with ease.
Superman – Action Comics: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 2 is a great series of Superman tales from Dan Jurgens. He captures Superman’s character and world perfectly with a nice balance of action, drama and humour while spreading the characterizations out. Lois Lane and Jon have a fair bit to do on their own, but Jurgens’ spotlight on Superman is one of the best aspects of the book. The art throughout the book is also great, a fact that is not always the case with so many different artists on one book. Nevertheless, this is definitely a worthy addition for any fan of the Man of Steel.