Action Comics #22 Review

Action Comics #22 Review
By: Jay 
DC announced the new creative team
for Action Comics: Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder, and that their
run will begin with November’s Action Comics #25. Until then we
have the transitional team of Scott Lobdell and Tyler Kirkham for the main
story in the 3-issue arc “Atomic Knights,” while Frank Hannah picks up artist Tom Derenick and
continues “The World of Krypton” back-up story arc. What do I think of this
creative team and this issue? Find out below!

Hector Hammond is in space
checking out H.I.V.E.’s newest weapon. We are introduced to Straith: The First
Knight of the Pax Galactica. Meanwhile Clark and Kat are covering an event for
their blog where he detects Infinitium. Superman is summoned by Hammond to take on Straith. In the back-up: Lara tells Jor-El
about the military coup as the two formulate a plan.

Action Comics is finally caught up to the present time. Lobdell is
weaving his current Superman arc “Mindstorm” into this without
making it a direct continuation. This story takes place some time after Superman
 and Hammond and H.I.V.E. have built a weapon that can split
nations in half. Something like that doesn’t go unnoticed so we meet the new
character Straith. By his first appearance he reminds me of Terrax from the
Marvel Universe. Where Terrax is a Herald of Galactus, Straith claims to be a
knight of something called the Pax Galatica. Is he a noble knight? We don’t
know yet.

Lobdell tries to make Superman
more “edgy” and less of the “Big Blue Boy Scout.” After Straith hits him
Superman says, “Once, Clark. Just once. You’re not going to give the big ugly alien
the benefit of the doubt. You’re going to… …Hit first… …And often!” The
whole scene seems a bit cliché, and has a bit of a “been there, done that” vibe
to it. I’m not a fan of how everyone wants to make Superman edgy, relevant, or
whatever phrase they want to coin at the moment, but I think Lobdell walked the
fine line and did it right with this. He didn’t just have Superman go in
punching in a blind rage. He humanizes him, has him refer to himself as Clark,
and you just feel that he is tired of aliens hitting him and taking advantage
of his talk first approach, so he is going to send this guy a message.

In the middle of the battle the
rest of the Pax Galactica arrives, ending the fight and informing Superman and
Straith that “A threat greater than e’er known wings its here.” The rest of the
Pax Galactica, like Straith, reminds me of Heralds of Galactus, with some space
gladiator mixed in. We do get a hint at what is to come when their leader Lourdes names this threat as “the Lexus.”

I’m not really feeling Tyler
Kirkham’s art. Perhaps it’s the fact that we just came off of Tony S. Daniel’s
arc? I don’t know. He does a good job on the book: Hector Hammond, Straith, the
Pax Galactica all look great. But this is a Superman book, and I don’t like how
he drew him. There were moments at the party where Clark looked
kind of bubble-like. The art during the party isn’t consistent with details
fading in and out from panel to panel. His Superman looks a bit Asian to me,
which doesn’t fit the character. At times I felt like I was reading a Manga
version of Superman.

While the art needs improvement
the story has me interested enough to overlook it and enjoy the issue. I want
to know more about the Pax Galactica, its members, and what the Lexus is.
DC gives us more bang for our buck
with another great 8-page back-up story in this issue, written by Frank Hannah
with Tom Derenick on the art this time. Hannah picks up “Part: 3 Darkest
Depths” where he left off in the last issue. The action is still pumping as the
Colonel’s men hunt down Jor-El, who is saved by Lara. I know I have said this
before, but I really love this new spin on Lara. I’m a big fan of strong female
characters and Hannah has really developed Lara. We can see a spark of Lois Lane in her. It is a nice parallel to the Clark and Lois
relationship. Like father like son, Jor-El and Clark have
the same taste in women, and I think this can be extended to Jonathan and
Martha also. I think that is one reason why I enjoy Superman’s cast so much:
the women aren’t helpless damsels in distress waiting for a man super or other
to save them, they are proactive, and like Lara in this story, can save the
man. We also find out a bit more about the beings that live in the ancient
underwater city on Krypton. They’re
called the Teklons and look like humanoid dinosaurs, that when frightened are
dangerous. When we first saw the lost hidden city I thought it was like
Atlantis on Krypton, but now they seem a bit more primal.

Derenick does a great job on the
art in this issue. We really get a feel for Krypton and a younger Jor-El and
Lara. Derenick captures the intensity of the emotions in his facial
expressions. Krypton looks
beautiful, it’s no longer the cold ice planet many know from the Reeve’s movies.
Krypton is a flourishing planet with beautiful oceans, and an intriguing underwater

I have to admit the back-up story
has me more interested than the main story. I’m hoping that this is building up
to something, perhaps it’s a prequel to an upcoming arc in one of the Superman titles.
I really want to see where the Teklons story goes. Will we see them around
after Krypton is destroyed?

Overall, I liked this issue a lot
more than I thought I would. I say pick it up. The back-up stories in DC are
hit or miss with a lot of them not really interesting enough to read, but both
the main and back-up story here is well done.

That is what I think about this
book. Let us know what you think about the book, and about this Action
arc, in the comments. Don’t forget to follow us
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