With the Lex Luthor Black Ring finished, Action Comics goes back to being a Superman comic book. Paul Cornell remains on and I am pretty interested in seeing how he writes Superman. While I think the Black Ring story line ended with a bit of a whimper rather than a bang, the earlier character-driven chapters of the arc were very good.
Over on Newsarama, Cornell spoke about the upcoming Doomsday arc as well as shifting the focus from Lex to Superman. Here is that link: http://www.newsarama.com/comics/paul-cornell-action-comics-doomsdays-110509.html As always, I highly recommend reading the whole article as there is a lot of good insights inside. But here are the blurbs that caught my attention and my usual commentary.
Newsarama: So Paul, what is the book like now that Superman is back?
Paul Cornell: It's the absolute inverse of what the Lex story was. This is demonstrating character through a series of dirty great fights. It's been really nice to write, because there's something almost refreshing about it. I'm almost writing it as a team book, because it involves Superman and all the other Super-related characters. And he gets to lead them and sort of give orders, which is always interesting.
As I have said elsewhere, I was a fan of the Team Superman concept we saw in the late '90s. It was clear back then that Superman was the role model for the members of that team, someone they looked up to and admired. And he was often an active leader in those stories, telling the team what to do, working through strategy. It wasn't Superman merely being a passive leader, someone to aspire to be like. He truly led. So I can't wait to see what Cornell has in store.
Nrama: You've taken Lex on this journey, and the key part of the story's conclusion in Action #900 gave Lex the ability to be a benevolent hero, but in order to do it, he couldn't hurt Superman. We've always known that choice was behind Lex's actions, but you made it a real confrontation.
Cornell: That moment was in my head from the start. That was everything I've been working toward. I got to play that card, because that sums him up, in that moment.
And I also think it's really important that, when he asks Superman to apologize for everything he's done, Superman doesn't hesitate to say, "Yes! Absolutely! I apologize for everything!" He's quite willing to play to Lex's ego if there's a chance Lex will go through with it and be this benevolent force across the universe. Superman doesn't have an ego that needs to be fed.
I did like that moment as well. Superman is always looking at the big picture and is trying to do whatever he can to improve people's lives. The point that he is willing to basically lie, apologize for perceived by Lex but false wrongs, shows what he is capable of.
Of course, I thought the way Lex gained omnipotence was a little weak. But this was a nice moment.
Nrama: Another story in Action Comics #900 has gotten a lot of media attention. What do you think of all the reaction in the media to the Superman story where he said he would renounce his citizenship? And is that something you'll pick up in your Action story?
Cornell: I don't want to say anything about it, except that I wish people, especially comic fans, would talk about the story before they talk about the controversy. It's not something that I'll be dealing with in this arc of Action.
Music to my ears. Cornell won't be dealing with it. No one should deal with it. DC should just pretend that story didn't happen.
Nrama: Last time we talked, you were excited to be writing Superman in Action Comics, but we now realize you're writing a lot of the Super-characters. Do you have to read up on them in their own books to make sure you're using them correctly now?
Cornell: I was kind of following anyway, actually. I particularly love Supergirl. There's always a female voice I'd like to have there, and for a long time, it was Robo-Lois. And Supergirl, and to some extent Lois, have just stepped in to do the quips and snarky lines I like to do. I really love writing Supergirl. She brings out a lighter side to Kal-El as well, with somebody else who speaks the Kryptonian vibe. They can be very easy with each other.
Hmmm ... I think I am going to have to read this before I judge. I am glad Cornell likes writing Supergirl and has an affinity for her. But I don't want her to become the Spider-Man of the group, throwing out jokes and jabs while she fights. I don't know if that is necessarily her personality. I do like that he plans for the cousins to get along easily, like family should.
Steel sort of has this determination going on, because he's the one who's just a guy in the suit, as Lex put it in my first issue -- he's just a genius in a suit. And that's really interesting, because he's keeping up with the others.
Superboy is a bit more down-to-earth than Superman, because he's not a Kryptonian. He's an Earth kid. And that's how I'm writing him. I don't have a lot of time to explore Superboy as much as I'd like. I love that he's half Superman and half genius Lex Luthor.
I hope Steel gets treated a little better than in his one-shot when he basically got trounced by Doomsday for 22 pages.
And that take on Superboy is interesting. There isn't as much of the 'stranger in a strange land' vibe that Superman and Supergirl have. So I hope we get some contrast between all these members.
Eradicator has a very cold, distant dialogue, but he gets a major bit in this story. There's big stuff for the Eradicator in this arc.
Remember that the Eradicator basically sacrificed himself in Reign of the Supermen, focusing all his energy into Superman to boost Kal's powers. I would not be surprised if some sort of variation of that happens in this story.
Nrama: The solicitations look like it's constant fighting, but is there more to this story?
Cornell: Well it is basically one continuous battle that covers a few astronomical units in distance. And it ends up in Metropolis.
There is a "Reign of the Doomsdays." The title does fulfill itself.
But during that dirty great battle, there's all sorts of character opportunity because everybody's there in one place. It's lots and lots of dangerous and immediate yelling.
I don't want to sound like I'm sarcastically underselling this. It's all the drama that I like doing, but it's just done at a high velocity.
After years of Superman not being in Action Comics and then the early 'Grounded' issues, I am actually looking forward to seeing Superman fight someone. I am sure that we'll get good interactions between the members of Team Superman. But a couple of punches will be welcomed. I want to see action in Action.
As for the title fulfilling itself, could it be a play on words. Could all the Doomsdays end up falling from the sky? More a Rain of Doomsday? Or is it that the original Doomsday ends up being the leader of a Team Doomsday much like Superman is the leader of Team Superman.
Nrama: What we've seen of these Doomsdays so far, I don't think any character lasted more than a minute. There was no character that could last very long up against them. Are they really fighting him hand-to-hand?
Cornell: They're trying.
There's a new factor which will become obvious in Action #901, which we're not talking about yet, and that takes everything in a new direction.
And I am always a sucker for a bold new direction. But the bottom line is Superman is finally back in Action Comics. I, for one, can't wait.