Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Review: Action Comics #20 Back-Up Feature
With the end of Grant Morrison's run on Action Comics, so did Sholly Fisch's run on back-up features end.
In Action Comics #20, a new back-up feature started up plotted by Scott Lobdell, written by Frank Hannah, and drawn by Philip Tan. It is a flashback story of The World of Krypton, similar to those old-timers saw in Superman Family and as a back-up in Superman in the early 80's.
Now there are lots of things that weren't covered in Morrison's trippy mega-story and Krypton is one of them. We saw some of it in the Gene Ha section of Action Comics #3. But otherwise, I don't know if I have great idea about the society of Krypton in the New 52. So I think a World of Krypton back-up for a short time is interesting, especially if it concentrates on Jor-El and Lara, as it does here.
I do find it just a bit odd that Scott Lobdell is doing the plotting here though. That means in 2 months, Lobdell will be writing Action Comics, Superman, and the Action back-up feature. Unreal. Frank Hannah's dialogue flows nicely in the story.
And Philip Tan's art is really stunning.
I am used to seeing a more staid Jor-El, square-jawed and standing before the Science Council talking of Krypton's doom. So to see this young guy, wide-eyed and smiling at the discovery of the Sunken City of Xan felt fresh.
I haven't heard of Teklons, nor did I find them in any entry of my The Essential Superman Encyclopedia, so they must be new.
Meanwhile, at the Science Council meeting, we meet a young a rather fetching Lara Lor-Van, Superman's mother!
I have read a lot of stories about Jor-El. Not too many about Lara. So I like that she seems to have a big role in this story. And I especially like that she appears to be in the Military Guild. (I am assuming the New 52 Krypton will still have Guilds.) It is a different take on her character.
And even more crazy is that she seems to be in a romantic relationship with Jax-Ur! Even Jax-Ur can tell that she feels some attraction to Jor-El.
We have seen lots of versions of Jax-Ur but my go-to image is the bald portly guy from the Silver Age. That guy blew up one of Krypton's moons. This Jax-Ur, in his brief couple of panels, seems like a loveable lummox sort of guy, not a Phantom Zone criminal.
The emergency meeting of the council has been called because of some fears of a coup. And then, it is interrupted by someone from the Military Guild who comes in brandishing energy gauntlets of some sort. Is this the first appearance of the New 52 General Zod? Nice energy signature there by Tan, a sort of smudgy version of Kirby crackle.
This was a nice little story, if only to see the very young Jor-El and Lara, early on in the adult life. I like seeing a giddy Jor and a stern Lara. And how will their 2 stories - underwater adventure and Science Council coup - link up?
So congratulations to Lobdell, Hannah, and Tan. This was a great little story opening up some new characterization and giving us a deeper look at the New 52 Krypton.
Overall grade: A