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Review Brew: Action Comics #52

Written By: Peter Tomasi

Art By: Dale Eaglesham & Scot Eaton

Inks By: Dale Eaglesham & Wayne Faucher

Color At By: Tomeu Morey

With DC’s line coming to an “end” in the coming weeks, it’s always interesting to see where the current line of books will lead. Looking back on the line pre Flashpoint, a large majority of the books were in a weird flux period, where the quality was severely lacking. This time around, there seems to be a mixed bag. While the end is near, Snyder and Capullo have just wrapped up their epic run on Batman on a high note, and some of the other books seem to be steady in quality.

After the 50th issues of the Superman line of books, Tomasi (who will be writing Superman after the relaunch) took over to finally give us a meeting of the Supermen. I haven’t been reading it, as I’ll get into later, but was curious enough to check this out.

After the battle with Vandal Savage, the New 52 Superman is sick, probably dying, and he and Wonder Woman are on a path to visit everyone before he potentially(?) dies. In the meantime, there’s this petulant version of Superman, a glowing yellow one, also running around, trying to rub out the other Supermen. He’s a little like Superboy Prime, minus being an actual teen and slightly less annoying. Now, the Superman we all know and love; the one featured in Superman: Lois and Clark, is also on this Earth, attempting to live a normal life with his son, when he is visited by this evil doppleganger.

When this issue started with the N52 Supes, a character I continue to struggle to connect with in any way, and this random (to me, since I haven’t read the other parts of this story) evil Superman, I was admittedly nervous. But the second we got the true Superman on the page, just talking to his son, I felt at ease, and everything felt right. Strangely, the presence of this Clark Kent gives an understanding to these other characters and their place in the universe. Old school Clark is Superman, and the N52 version is an attempt to modernize, and inject youth into a character that doesn’t necessarily call for any of those things. It’s much like what would happen if they tried the same with Steve Rogers’ Captain America. These characters are ingrained in their history, and to take that away, and not execute the new character perfectly, you are doomed. Here, we are faced with all of the Supermen, and that is laid out plan for us. When the fight is on, you always side with the old school Clark, and Tomasi nails it as soon as we see him. I’m definitely interested to see more about this evil doppelganger, and the seeming imminent sacrifice of the New 52 Supes, but am unsure if I want to commit to every Superman book. There’s deconstructed storytelling, and then there’s this: deconstructed, but also broken along a line like the Superman books of the 90s (triangle numbers and all).

Dale Eaglesham is a name that’s always a pleasant surprise to see. I haven’t been reading a lot of the stuff he’s done recently, but I fell in love with him on Steve Rogers: Super Soldier about 5 years ago. His art in this book is certainly on the higher end of quality in DC art. The storytelling is solid, and the expression is unique and very well sculpted. I was left a little wanting in the colors, however, where I think Eaglesham shines with a slightly more rendered palette. While this was by no means flat, it just needed a fraction more sculpting. Also, Scot Eaton flowed fairly seamlessly with Eaglesham, where I barely noticed a shift in art. While I wasn’t in love with his work on Batman and Robin Eternal, this spot work reminded me of some of his Marvel work from a few years ago that I enjoyed. Unlike that series I mentioned, this didn’t feel rushed, and the story was clear panel to panel. Even though this wasn’t life changing art, it was fitting for a pure Superhero Superman story like this one.

I would be remiss to talk about this book without mentioning the Eddie Berganza scandal. It’s been fairly well known for the past years that Berganza has sexually harassed women at DC, but it really came to a head within the past month, when he was publicly outed after Shelly Bond was let go. This, rightfully so, forced a lot of people to really take a hard look at where they’re investing, and if this confirmation will force people’s hands into not ordering books with his name on it. I’ll fully admit, I am doing that now. It’s a shame, as a lot of the new Superman books look pretty interesting in the relaunch. We as consumers, however, have to speak up with our wallets, and say that ignoring this type of behavior from DC is unacceptable. This topic has been talked to death, but I wanted to put my stamp on it. When I went to review this book, a book I did not personally pay for (but read fully legally), I struggled with it after seeing his name on the title page. Comics should be a safe place for everyone; I don’t care what books you’ve worked on in the past, harassment is unacceptable in every case.  

Well, after all of that, I am still trying to look at this book objectively. While not the perfect issue, I found myself enjoying certain aspects, and Tomasi looks to have a solid grasp on Superman, in all his many forms.

3.5 Truth, Justice, and American Ways out of 5

About Brett I (152 Articles)
Born in Philadelphia and currently residing in Portland OR, Brett has been reading and collecting comics in some capacity since 2008 and is now fully immersed. Also, Brett is an avid follower of Professional Wrestling since the crumbling of The Alliance. Philadelphia/Chicago Sports consumed here.
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