Action Comics #10 also had a back-up story by writer Sholly Fisch and sporting some spiffy are by Cafu.
As I have said in the past, Fisch seems to be responsible for adding deeper characterization and some personal flourishes to the characters in Action. We have seen the Kents' struggle with infertility. We have seen Steel's first steps as a super-hero. We have seen Clark leaving Smallville. All of these smaller moments enrich this cast of characters and adds a little human interest to bigger stories like aliens shrinking cities.
And Fisch has really brought his A game to these stories. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can give him is that I look forward to the back-up material. Some back-up material doesn't live up to the quality of the main issue. Others are of characters I don't care about but am forced to buy since they are attached to characters I do care about. But these stories fold into the main story wonderfully.
Here in 'Absent Friends', we are treated to a eulogy to Clark Kent who has 'died' in the main book. And this sort of story comments not only on Clark but on the speakers as well.
First we hear from Jimmy. He reminisces about a time Clark 'accidentally' saved his life. Walking home from monster movies (nicely named Giant Turtle Man and Human Porcupine), Clark 'trips' taking Jimmy down with him. And while on the sidewalk, a van slips on the ice slamming right where they would have been.
Clark was the luckiest guy on Earth. Amazing that he would think that. I wonder if Clark knew he felt that way.
This pre-catastrophe rescue reminded me of a similar scene in All-Star Superman where Clark bumps into someone on the street so that a chunk of bridge which (eventually) falls doesn't hit the pedestrian. Is it precognition? Instinct? Both?
As touching as that was, it is Lois' story that is my favorite part not only of this story but of the whole issue.
While having lunch together, a gas main explodes. Lois runs out to get the story. Clark runs to help the wounded. Lois feels ashamed. She stops investigating and starts tending to the injured. And she gets the story. Clark inspired her, made her better. It shows the influence that 'Smallville' had on the jaded city girl. Just fantastic.
But it also was nice to see the two characters simply having lunch alone. As a fan of the Clark/Lois relationship, I would like to think this was a non-date sort of a date. I wonder if Clark was all nervous.
Even George Taylor sings Clark's praises as the man who brought down a titan, who his caring made them care.
These speeches all resonated with my take on the first story. Superman needs to learn that he doesn't need to drag the world into goodness. He can inspire ... inspire in a superhuman way ... and have us emulate.
Superman needs to know that he is Clark and needs to act like Clark. That tenacity and doing what's right can be more effective than a fist.
In a classic literary riff, 'Clark' attends his own funeral, hearing the words and mourning a bit. Look at that expression. Maybe abandoning Clark was done prematurely.
Maybe Kal needed to learn that you can be a gentler agent of change, that you can motivate and inspire, and that Superman can do that on a completely different level.
It is a very nice story ... that emotional nugget which adds to this mythos nicely.
And I have been a Cafu fan for a while. It was great to see him on a super-book once again.