Action Comics #965
Written by: Dan Jurgens
Art by: Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert
Action Comics #965 is both a great starting point for new readers and a rewarding character exploration for regular fans.
Superman comics often are difficult to jump in and pick up for new readers. Superman is a character everyone has familiarity with, but he’s also a character that over the decades had become been mired down in lore and references making it difficult for new readers. 2011’s New 52 launch tried to turn back the clock and give readers a younger Superman earlier in his superhero career and limited the lore. Then DC moved into Convergence and brought back the pre-New 52 Superman and Lois Lane, along with their new son. This “new” old Superman now existed on the same earth as the New 52 Superman. During the Road to Rebirth story-line, this Lois and Clark wrestled with the challenge of keeping their new family safe and the sense of responsibility around being Superman. At the end of the New 52 story-lines, the New 52 Superman paid the ultimate price to save others. This sacrifice has lead to some really great story arcs in the Rebirth era as heroes and the world alike deal with the lost of a hero. The new series of New Super-Man and Superwoman are direct results of this sacrifice.
Action Comics and Superman have carried on after the loss of Superman and the launch of Rebirth. Superman‘s first story arc focused on the interactions between Superman and his son. Action Comics first story arc focused on Lex Luthor picking up the mantle of the “S” and the return of Doomsday. A four issue story arc of Doomsday resulted in the pre-New 52 Superman returning to his place as Metropolis and Earth’s Superman. Superman returned only to find this earth has a Clark Kent, and he is not Superman. All of this backstory brings readers to this issue, #965. The pre-New 52 Lois Lane is trying to find out what has happened to the New 52 Lois Lane (readers of Superwoman know).
There is a lot potential backstory, as the previous two wordy paragraphs demonstrated, but long time Superman writer Dan Jurgens does a great job bringing new readers along. Throughout the issue, there are moments of backstory, explanation, and context that make this issue approachable to any reader. This issue excels, not by being a review and recap of previous stories, but by Jurgens using his years of experience to give readers some wonderful characterizations of the entire cast. Jurgens taps into his deep understanding of these characters to provide a number of quiet, dialog heavy scenes that explore how these characters are adjusting and coping with the changes in their world. Readers are treated to Lois and Clark trying to balance being parents. Clark trying to understand the mysteries surrounding Luthor, Doomsday, and the Clark doppelganger. But the real star of this issue is Lois, and what a great character Jurgens continues to develop. Lois Lane comes with a strong and independent history, yet she is trying to understand who her New 52 doppelganger was, all while uncovering a new character dimension as a parent.
Jurgens provides a rich narrative here for any reader to enjoy. He knows that Superman stories are often strongest when the characterizations are strong. There were moments of this development during the first Doomsday arc, but it was focused on action. During this issue and the previous issue, #964, Jurgens has slowed the pace down and gone deeper into the characters. Lois and Clark’s humanity are often more interesting than Superman’s powers, and this is true here.