Review: Action Comics #962

August 25th, 2016 | by Kyle King
Review: Action Comics #962
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1
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Triumphal

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Rating:
4
On August 25, 2016
Last modified:August 25, 2016

Summary:

From its outsized imagery to its nuanced writing, this issue satisfactorily wrapped up the Doomsday arc and set the stage for the next phase.

Action Comics #962 brought writer Dan Jurgens’s Path of Doom storyline to a close this week, wrapping up Superman’s battle with Doomsday yet opening the door for additional mysteries to be explored in greater depth. ComiConverse’s Man of Steel reviewer, T. Kyle King, brings you his spoiler-free thoughts on this week’s issue.

Teamed with penciller Stephen Segovia for Path of Doom — Conclusion, Jurgens closed the loop on the running struggle between the Action Ace and the Kryptonian killing machine.

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Action Comics #962 Synopsis:

Mr. Oz’s minions drive Doomsday back toward the gate, but the monstrosity breaks free, destroying the portal and slaying the henchmen. Superman lures Doomsday to his mountain fortress, where he has plans in place for contending with the unstoppable villain. Unfortunately, the relentless creature moves too swiftly to allow the Last Son of Krypton time to spring his trap.

Watching the fight unfold from the safety of the Justice League Watchtower, Lois Lane and her son, Jonathan, ask Wonder Woman to leave them aboard the satellite and return to the melee so she can afford Superman the time he needs. Diana rejoins her teammate in combat, allowing Kal-El to send Doomsday to where he can do no more harm. After the Man of Tomorrow checks in with the super-suited Lex Luthor in Metropolis, he retrieves his wife and son from the Watchtower. Elsewhere, Mr. Oz contemplates the way his own clandestine interference in the proceedings has secretly succeeded.

Action Comics #962

Credit: DC Comics

Action Comics #962 Analysis:

There is not a lot of nuance to the artwork in Action Comics #962. Facial features are not finely detailed, and an unintended side effect of an innovative layout featuring multiple panels shown from above or below is that bodies occasionally appear elongated. However, Path of Doom — Conclusion is a story focused on the big picture, so what the graphics lack in subtlety, they make up for with a vitality that is larger than life.

Segovia’s pencils creatively arrange the portrayals of this issue’s constant action. The pictures are given solidity by Art Thibert’s inks, set vividly into motion by Ulises Arreola’s colors, and made to reverberate with the impact of Rob Leigh’s bold letters. Arreola’s bright hues are particularly effective at keeping the hard-hitting adventure from being overly heavy in tone, which is in keeping with Jurgens’s theme; although the cliffhanger reveal on the final page gives Action Comics #962 an ominous denouement, the overall tenor of the story is uplifting, as Superman finds a way to defeat Doomsday without either ending the creature’s life or sacrificing his own.

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Jurgens’s script thus gives this issue a feel that contrasts sharply with the way the book looks. Whereas the artwork shows with broad strokes, the writing reveals with fine flourishes, starting with the very first words: Lois Lane — who was conspicuously silenced as the supposed star of Superwoman #1 — offers the opening narration in the closing installment of Path of Doom, which restores the voice of the leading lady who debuted alongside Clark Kent and Superman in Action Comics #1.

This is no mere bone being thrown to Lois’s legion of fans, as Jurgens goes on to have the longtime Daily Planet reporter be the catalyst who breaks the stalemate between the champion and the villain. Ultimately, Lane is the one who persuades Wonder Woman that she, having fulfilled her promise to Superman by getting his wife and son to safety, now needs to return to the fray rather than remain on the sidelines. It is that act that buys the Big Blue Boy Scout the time he needs to end the struggle in victory rather than in tragedy.

Action Comics #962

Credit: DC Comics

The resolution of Path of Doom — in which neither the hero nor his antagonist perishes — resonates for many reasons, beginning with the audience’s awareness of how that selfsame struggle ended the first time this iteration of Superman traded punches with Doomsday. That knowledge gives the Man of Tomorrow’s triumph a heightened sense of significance, because the reader realizes that success was not necessarily inevitable.

Recognizing the poignance this reversal of fortune provides to Action Comics #962, Jurgens plays the outcome to the hilt. Afterward, Superman thanks Wonder Woman, confiding to her: “I couldn’t let the fight end the way it did before.” In the midst of a fist-bump that shovels the last clods of dirt onto the excesses of the New 52, Diana replies, “It is an honor to fight beside Superman once more.” When the Metropolis Marvel subsequently surmises the source of the idea, Lois urges him, “Don’t be mad.” Her husband concedes, “It was the right move.”

Path of Doom — Conclusion thus complements its big visuals with tiny verbals, giving the written minutiae an impact that matches the story’s forceful physicality. Such fine touches include an uneasy rapprochement with self-styled hero Lex Luthor atop the Daily Planet building as a dove flutters overhead, and the climax of the tale cleverly sees Superman putting a time-tested piece of Kryptonian arcana to good use as a resourceful and ingenious solution to the problem of Doomsday.

Action Comics #962 has a few brow-furrowing moments, of course. How Mr. Oz’s bank of television screens permits him to peer even into Superman’s mountain fortress is utterly unexplained, and Jon’s request to take a JLA spaceship for a ride around the moon revives the question of when Path of Doom takes place in relation to the events in Superman. As the culmination of the first story arc of Rebirth, however, this issue was a winner at both the macro and micro levels.

Now that the Man of Steel has survived his trek down Path of Doom, let us know what you thought of Action Comics #962, and what you expect to happen next. ComiConverse with us in the comments!

 

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

 

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Source: DC Comics

Action Comics #962
  • 4

Triumphal

From its outsized imagery to its nuanced writing, this issue satisfactorily wrapped up the Doomsday arc and set the stage for the next phase.

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  • Zoraida Merlo

    I really enjoyed this issue, it was the perfect conclusion to an arc. Since Dan Jurgens took Action Comics under his wings, the book has do nothing but shine, as reader who once stopped buying this book in New 52, I am more than happy to have this one as one of my subscriptions.
    It was refreshing to see Superman and Wonder Woman working as a TEAM without the ridiculous romance interfering, though this Superman is not the one Diana had feelings for, wished that would have been cleaned with the New 52 Superman version, but he is dead so no hope we’ll see that. Seems that we will have to work with this new friendship between the two heroes.
    One of the things I love about Jurgens, is that he really knows these characters and can write relationships that feel emotional and rephrasing him, they feel TRUE. I can not wait for next arc, where we will find more abut this new Clark walking on Metropolis and our favourite reporter tracking his moves!

    Great review as always! Keep up the good job!

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