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.
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Action Comics #962 brought writer Dan Jurgensâs Path of Doom storyline to a close this week, wrapping up Supermanâs battle with Doomsday yet opening the door for additional mysteries to be explored in greater depth. ComiConverseâs Man of Steel reviewer, T. Kyle King, brings you his spoiler-free thoughts on this weekâs issue.
Teamed with penciller Stephen Segovia for Path of Doom â Conclusion, Jurgens closed the loop on the running struggle between the Action Ace and the Kryptonian killing machine.
Is the audience any closer to knowing Clark Kentâs secrets, Lex Luthorâs motivations, and Mr. Ozâs plan, though?
Action Comics #962 Synopsis:
Mr. Ozâs 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 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 â 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.
Segoviaâs pencils creatively arrange the portrayals of this issueâs constant action. The pictures are given solidity by Art Thibertâs inks, set vividly into motion by Ulises Arreolaâs colors, and made to reverberate with the impact of Rob Leighâs bold letters. Arreolaâs bright hues are particularly effective at keeping the hard-hitting adventure from being overly heavy in tone, which is in keeping with Jurgensâs 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 creatureâs life or sacrificing his own.
Jurgensâs 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 â who was conspicuously silenced as the supposed star of Superwoman #1 â 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 Loisâs 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.
The resolution of Path of Doom â in which neither the hero nor his antagonist perishes â resonates for many reasons, beginning with the audienceâs awareness of how that selfsame struggle ended the first time this iteration of Superman traded punches with Doomsday. That knowledge gives the Man of Tomorrowâs 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: âI couldnât let the fight end the way it did before.â In the midst of a fist-bump that shovels the last clods of dirt onto the excesses of the New 52, Diana replies, âIt is an honor to fight beside Superman once more.â When the Metropolis Marvel subsequently surmises the source of the idea, Lois urges him, âDonât be mad.â Her husband concedes, âIt was the right move.â
Path of Doom â Conclusion thus complements its big visuals with tiny verbals, giving the written minutiae an impact that matches the storyâs 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. Ozâs bank of television screens permits him to peer even into Supermanâs mountain fortress is utterly unexplained, and Jonâs 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.
Source: DC Comics
From its outsized imagery to its nuanced writing, this issue satisfactorily wrapped up the Doomsday arc and set the stage for the next phase.