Join Us / Login

Review: Action Comics #44

Kyle King Kyle King
Expert Contributor
September 17th, 2015

T. Kyle King’s published work ranges from newspaper columns to film reviews and from short stories to law review articles. Most notably, he served as a site manager and staff writer at DawgSports.com, a daily weblog devoted to University of Georgia athletics, from 2006 to 2013, and he is the author of a book about the history of the college football rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers published by Clemson University Digital Press in 2013. Kyle is a lifelong comic book fan whose thoughts on comic books previously have appeared at ComicsVerse, Progressive Boink, and the Superman Homepage. Kyle is a Superman guy.

Review: Action Comics #44
Comics
61 Comments
Price:
Mixed

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On September 17, 2015
Last modified:September 17, 2015

Summary:

Action Comics #44 presents a mixed bag for fans of the Man of Steel.

Price:
Mixed

Reviewed by:
Rating:

3
On September 17, 2015
Last modified:September 17, 2015

Summary:

Action Comics #44 presents a mixed bag for fans of the Man of Steel.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

DC Comics’ Truth storyline moved closer to its conclusion this week with Greg Pak’s and Aaron Kuder’s Action Comics #44. Our Superman Writer T. Kyle King is here with everything you need to know.

Superman, whose powers have been reduced and whose Clark Kent identity has been exposed, squared off with the Shadow Monsters and confronted the new reality in Hard Truth – Part Four.

Summary:

Flanked by the police officers fighting alongside him, Superman battles his otherworldly enemy at Metropolis City Hall. The mayor stands revealed as the Shadow Monsters’ leader, Wrath, who feeds on the anger of others. Empowered by the Man of Steel’s fury, Wrath vanishes along with her minions. She promises as she fades away that “now my Shadows are ready for the real fight.”

Lee Lambert leads Clark’s neighbors in a fight against Shadow-infected citizens who have injured innocent police officers. In the course of the conflict, Lee’s wounded arm is transformed into a Shadow Monster’s appendage. Evidently unable to speak other than in guttural utterances, she appears to demolish a burning building.

When Superman arrives to stop her, though, Lee once more becomes articulate, explaining that she can control her newfound powers. It becomes clear that her actions saved the residents of the destroyed structure from being consumed by the conflagration. As Clark becomes adjusted to his new normality, Wrath secretly meets up with the latest incarnation of HORDR_ROOT, and the two villains ominously promise to “make the world they deserve.”

Story continues below

Analysis:

Kuder’s artwork is dynamic and well defined throughout this eventful issue. His angular panel layouts emphasize the kinetic energy that unfurls as the story unfolds, and the rapid pacing is reflected in images that indicate constant movement.

Although the stylistic transition from Kuder’s graphics to Howard Porter’s in the tale’s final four pages is rather stark, the look of the book remains thematically unified by both artists’ jagged lines and vital imagery. Tomeu Morey’s colors, while often subdued, nevertheless strongly suggest the explosive motion of the pencilers’ illustrations.

My criticisms of Pak’s scripting mirror many fans’ gripes about Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel: What the creator got right showed Superman at his best, but what he got wrong was simply awful. There is very little middle ground between the two extremes, leaving readers to decide for themselves whether to view the glass as half empty or half full.

The concluding chapter of Hard Truth uses its closing moments to tie Wrath and her Shadow Monsters to HORDR, the group previously seen exclusively in the pages of Gene Luen Yang’s and John Romita, Jr.’s Superman. At last HORDR_ROOT’s annoying “sort of” verbal tic serves a purpose, and the final panel of Action Comics #44 promises that “Superman connects the dots” in the ensuing issue. This is a welcome development for a Truth storyline that has been presented in a consistently disjointed manner.

Lee Lambert, who has been accurately characterized as the story arc’s breakout star, continued to behave bravely in the face of danger, and she was given an intriguing new dimension with the introduction of her Shadow-induced superpowers. After the fighting has stopped, the source of her new abilities appears merely as a tattoo on her right shoulder and upper arm, which is a nice stylistic touch. Finally, Lee likens herself to Superman in the symbolically significant moment at which she returns the portion of his tattered cape and assures him, “Trust me, Clark. I’m good.”

Action-44-first-page

Lee deservedly gets her due in this issue, but not every character fares so well. Anabella Petruzzelli, whose brief presence was so effective in the previous edition of Action, is not allowed to make good on her promising start. Instead, she only fires a shotgun once, curses, gets bloodied for her troubles, and uses her injuries to inspire Superman to do the wrong thing. Strictly speaking, it isn’t fridging, but it comes uncomfortably close, and Petruzzelli deserved better.

Less troubling yet still notable was the sidelining of Jimmy Olsen. Lambert was, and should have been, the leader of the citizenry in the fight for control of Metropolis’s streets and soul, but Olsen was reduced to the role of passive bystander.

While the fists were flying, Superman’s photographer pal just clicked pictures. Jimmy stood for nothing while the chips were down, only speaking up after the danger had passed. Even then, all he did was call out, “Hey! You punks!” to a group of youngsters who may have vandalized Clark’s apartment. He may not have superpowers, but Jimmy ought to have more to do in a crisis than just yell at kids to get off his lawn.

Story continues below

In the end, though, Action Comics #44 is all about Superman, and the Man of Steel Truth has produced is a bit all over the place. On the first page, Clark confesses: “I get angrier and angrier.” Two pages later, he has figured out that his rage is the source of Wrath’s power, yet he admits to himself that he “just keeps playing her game” and tells her, “You go to Hell.” She gleefully expresses her gratitude for his lack of self-control, but he rationalizes his anger as “righteous.”

Well, sure, it is, but that doesn’t matter, and Superman knows it. He thinks to himself, “I know this is what Wrath wants” as he does exactly what Wrath wants. He tells himself, “I won’t accept her rules”, even though he knows those are the rules and that, because of them, his anger “just makes her stronger.”

The Man of Tomorrow pointedly asks himself, “Dammit. What the Hell am I supposed to do now?” I know his question was rhetorical, but I would like to suggest a couple of correct answers. First of all, maybe quit cussing like a stevedore; for crying out loud, Clark, do you kiss Ma Kent with that mouth? Secondly, and more importantly, could you perhaps stop doing the thing that you know will increase the villain’s power to do evil? Just throwing that against the wall and seeing if it sticks, Supes.

Action-44-last-page

We get a little closer to the Superman we know near the end of the story, when he is pleased to see the people of Metropolis “taking care of each other.” The real Man of Steel shines through when he selflessly says it isn’t important what the common citizens of Metropolis think about him. However, the impact of his heroism is rendered somewhat hollow by the fact that many of those helpful folks regard him with disdain, even after the previous issue went to such pains to portray Superman’s ability to inspire.

The truth is that Superman didn’t do anything useful in this issue. The people took care of themselves, Lee saved the residents trapped in the burning building, Clark’s neighbors rejected his help in righting an overturned automobile, and the Man of Steel’s outrage only made the situation worse before the bad guys voluntarily surrendered the field. If Superman had spent the entirety of Action Comics #44 taking a power nap, everything positive still would have happened and everything bad would have been made better.

Rather than recognize that reality and do some super-soul-searching, Clark pronounces himself satisfied that the populace is doing good things in spite of him and resolves to “go hunting for Wrath.” As he struts away with what looks uncomfortably like pride, Superman feels the dull knot in his throat begin to burn, and he asks himself, “This isn’t sadness, isn’t it?” Once again, we see that one of the powers Superman has lost is the ability to speak proper English.

Action Comics #44 presents a mixed bag for fans of the Man of Steel. This issue is eventful, intriguing, and visually effective. Greg Pak gives us glimpses of the actual Superman, but those fleeting rays of sunlight must force their way through the hero’s undisciplined surrender to irrational instincts that are darker even than the Shadow Monsters he ineffectually opposes.

Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer to see Superman do something good or, at least, to do something well.

What do you think about Pak’s and Kuder’s conclusion to the Action Comics segment of the Truth story arc?

Did the good outweigh the bad in Hard Truth?

Share your thoughts in the comments and join in the ComiConversation!

 

T. Kyle King is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow him on Twitter: @TKyleKing.

Action Comics #44

  • 3

Mixed

Action Comics #44 presents a mixed bag for fans of the Man of Steel.

(Visited 194 times, 1 visits today)

61 Comments

  1. WeirdScienceDCBlog says:

    Great review, Kyle. I have not been a fan of any of the TRUTH stories and while I liked what we got with Lee here, you are right when you say that Superman doesn’t do anything here…except knowingly fuel his new super villain! He has been coming off as a real idiot lately and I laughed out loud at “This isn’t sadness, isn’t it?”

  2. I simply want to mention I am just newbie to blogging and absolutely liked your website. Most likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog . You definitely come with great article content. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your webpage.

  3. Zune and iPod: Most people compare the Zune to the Touch, but after seeing how slim and surprisingly small and light it is, I consider it to be a rather unique hybrid that combines qualities of both the Touch and the Nano. It’s very colorful and lovely OLED screen is slightly smaller than the touch screen, but the player itself feels quite a bit smaller and lighter. It weighs about 2/3 as much, and is noticeably smaller in width and height, while being just a hair thicker.

  4. You will have not intended to do so, but I think you’ve managed to express the state of mind that quite a lot of consumers are in. The sense of wanting to assistance, but not knowing how or where, is one thing a lot of us are going via.

  5. I really appreciate this post. I¡¦ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thanks again

  6. Sports says:

    wonderful issues altogether, you just gained a emblem new reader. What may you suggest in regards to your post that you simply made a few days ago? Any positive?

  7. Arts & Dance says:

    you’re actually a good webmaster. The web site loading pace is incredible. It sort of feels that you’re doing any unique trick. Moreover, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a wonderful process on this subject!

  8. Business says:

    Heya i am for the first time here. I found this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

  9. Hello.This post was really fascinating, particularly because I was browsing for thoughts on this matter last couple of days.

  10. Automotive says:

    Thanks so much for providing individuals with such a memorable possiblity to read articles and blog posts from this blog. It really is so lovely plus jam-packed with a lot of fun for me personally and my office co-workers to search your blog really three times per week to read through the latest stuff you have. And of course, I’m just usually astounded with the striking tricks you serve. Selected 2 tips in this article are essentially the simplest we have all had.

  11. I’m still learning from you, but I’m trying to achieve my goals. I definitely love reading everything that is written on your blog.Keep the information coming. I enjoyed it!

  12. Business says:

    I wish to point out my affection for your kind-heartedness in support of people that should have help with this important subject. Your real dedication to getting the message all around came to be definitely insightful and has truly helped those like me to attain their dreams. Your entire valuable hints and tips can mean so much to me and somewhat more to my office workers. Best wishes; from all of us.

  13. Automotive says:

    Great web site. A lot of helpful info here. I¡¦m sending it to some pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks in your effort!

  14. I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but certainly you’re going to a famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

  15. Automotive says:

    I just couldn’t go away your web site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person supply to your visitors? Is going to be back steadily in order to check out new posts

  16. Travel says:

    I’ve recently started a web site, the info you offer on this site has helped me tremendously. Thanks for all of your time & work. “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” by Vince Lombardi.

  17. Technology says:

    hello!,I love your writing so a lot! share we keep up a correspondence extra approximately your post on AOL? I require an expert on this area to solve my problem. Maybe that is you! Having a look ahead to peer you.

  18. Pets says:

    You made certain fine points there. I did a search on the matter and found the majority of people will go along with with your blog.

  19. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he just bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

  20. You are a very smart person!

  21. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the net the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people consider worries that they just don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  22. A lot of thanks for all your labor on this website. My mum take interest in engaging in internet research and it is obvious why. I learn all regarding the powerful medium you make rewarding strategies by means of this website and in addition increase response from others on that content so our favorite girl is always being taught a whole lot. Take advantage of the remaining portion of the new year. Your conducting a splendid job.

  23. There is apparently a bundle to realize about this. I assume you made certain good points in features also.

  24. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your weblog. You have some really good posts and I believe I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Kudos!

  25. Emeryeps says:

    Tremendously intriguing details you’ll have remarked, thanks so much for putting up.

  26. I like this web site so much, saved to favorites. “American soldiers must be turned into lambs and eating them is tolerated.” by Muammar Qaddafi.

  27. Automotive says:

    I have recently started a blog, the information you provide on this web site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

  28. Mike Koosher says:

    IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  29. Woman says:

    hello!,I love your writing so a lot! share we communicate more approximately your post on AOL? I need a specialist on this area to solve my problem. May be that is you! Having a look forward to see you.

  30. divorces says:

    Divorcemind.com is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

  31. Woman says:

    Really good info can be found on weblog . “Education is what most receive, many pass on, and few possess.” by Karl Kraus.

  32. More Info says:

    SacramentoCremation.us is one of the leading crematorium services in the Sacramento area. Feel free to contact us regarding any questions on Sacramento Cremation Services or concerns you might have. Our staff will respond to you as soon as possible.

  33. SacramentoCremation.us is one of the leading crematorium services in the Sacramento area. Feel free to contact us regarding any questions on Sacramento Cremation Services or concerns you might have. Our staff will respond to you as soon as possible.

  34. Between me and my husband we’ve owned more MP3 players over the years than I can count, including Sansas, iRivers, iPods (classic & touch), the Ibiza Rhapsody, etc. But, the last few years I’ve settled down to one line of players. Why? Because I was happy to discover how well-designed and fun to use the underappreciated (and widely mocked) Zunes are.

  35. MichaelJemery.com is a site with many hypnosis downloads. Whether you are looking for free hypnosis downloads, self hypnosis download for mp3, video and any audio files, Michael Jemery has the downloads for you. You can download hypnosis from apps, audio, mp3 and even youtube !

  36. Mike Koosher says:

    IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  37. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  38. imscseo.com says:

    IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

  39. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  40. Emeryeps.com says:

    Emeryeps is a SEO(Search Engine optimzation) and Internet Marketing company. They help businesses to get traffic from various search engine and online community. They have seo experts and consultants with many years of SEO Experiences. No matter where your business is located, EmeryEPS.com can help your business to secure your highly convertible leads online.

  41. This is most suitable opportunity to make some options for the upcoming. I have scan this document and if I could, I desire to suggest to you you number of great recommendation.

  42. I just intend to show you that I am new to blog posting and totally adored your page. Very likely I am likely to save your blog post . You undoubtedly have impressive article content. Appreciate it for share-out with us your main blog report

  43. Fairly entertaining highlights you’ll have said, thank you so much for publishing.

  44. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine just how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

  45. I was pretty pleased to uncover this web site. I want to to thank you for ones time due to this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and i also have you book marked to see new stuff in your web site.

  46. I take pleasure in, lead to I found exactly what I used to be looking for. You have ended my four day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  47. Hello. remarkable job. I did not anticipate this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!

  48. togel sidney says:

    This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

  49. Well I definitely enjoyed reading it. This tip offered by you is very constructive for correct planning.

  50. Hi there very nice website!! Guy .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds also¡KI’m happy to search out so many helpful information here within the post, we need work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  51. Excellent blog here! Also your website loads up fast! What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  52. Games says:

    I like the valuable information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here! Good luck for the next!

  53. Dog says:

    Of course, what a magnificent website and educative posts, I surely will bookmark your website.All the Best!

  54. You actually make it appear really easy together with your presentation however I to find this topic to be actually one thing that I think I might never understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely wide for me. I am looking ahead for your subsequent submit, I¡¦ll try to get the hang of it!

  55. Good write-up, I¡¦m normal visitor of one¡¦s site, maintain up the excellent operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  56. Education says:

    I would like to thnkx for the efforts you have put in writing this blog. I am hoping the same high-grade website post from you in the upcoming also. Actually your creative writing skills has inspired me to get my own web site now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

  57. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  58. Business says:

    Wow, incredible weblog layout! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The total look of your website is wonderful, let alone the content!

  59. “Awesome write-up. I’m a normal visitor of your web site and appreciate you taking the time to maintain the excellent site. I’ll be a frequent visitor for a long time.”

  60. Technology says:

    I intended to create you the little bit of remark so as to say thank you again regarding the spectacular concepts you’ve featured on this website. It’s quite strangely open-handed with you to supply extensively all a number of people might have advertised for an e book to get some money for themselves, certainly given that you might have done it in the event you considered necessary. The techniques additionally acted as the good way to be sure that other people have a similar desire just as my very own to learn a little more when considering this matter. I am sure there are a lot more enjoyable periods up front for folks who looked over your blog post.

ComiConverse with us...

Yes No