Review: Action Comics #978
By Kyle King
Clark Kent retraces the steps of his life, beginning with his initial encounter with Lois Lane. Will reliving his history help him to piece together what is missing? While the Man of Steel revisits yesteryear, what sinister forces are gathering against him in the here and now?
(Some spoilers follow!)
Action Comics #978 Synopsis:
In the Fortress of Solitude, Kelex is guiding Kal-El through his own memory archives. Superman experiences anew the day he met Lane, the start of his career as a reporter for the Daily Planet, and his growing closeness to Lois. Epochal events like his fatal clash with Doomsday and his marriage to Lois are repeated, together with such more recent developments as the moment he learned he would be a father and the day Jonathan Samuel Kent was born. The Man of Tomorrow reaches the present without detecting anything amiss.
In the midst of this trip down memory lane, Clark continues to hear voices Kelex cannot discern. One of them seems to say something about “the long game.” On the moon, a mysterious figure exhumes and reactivates the Eradicator before commandeering Batman’s lunar base. He brings Blanque and Metallo to the high-tech hideout, where he reveals his true identity and dubs the quartet the Superman Revenge Squad. Mr. Oz appears to the Metropolis Marvel in the Fortress to offer a cryptic warning and remind him why he has been enlisting the aid of his fellow heroes with “S”s on their chests.
Credit: DC Comics
Action Comics #978 Analysis:
Churchill made his Rebirth debut on the Superbooks with a standout backup feature, and he brings an appropriately classic look to the extended flashback sequences that make up the bulk of The New World — Part 2. The sharply defined figures, brought brightly to life by Hi-Fi’s colors, carry overtones of Jim Lee’s highly lined and granite-chiseled style. The underlying archetypes, though, come straight from John Byrne, the artist responsible for the post-Crisis reboot that forms the foundation for 30+ years of what now is an unbroken continuity. In tandem with Andy Kubert’s and Brad Anderson’s cover, the artwork of Action Comics #978 is particularly well suited to the story it portrays.
Jurgens masterfully merges the fresh with the familiar to weave a unified narrative that plausibly traces the course that always ought to have been and now, majestically, is. No one has been more intimately, intricately, or imaginatively involved in the painstaking process of walking back the New 52 and implementing credible course corrections than Jurgens, who began playing the long game of restoration with Superman: Lois and Clark. Action Comics #978 represents the culmination of that meticulous effort, and The New World — Part 2 demonstrates the virtue of the author’s patience. Rather than settle for an easy one-shot retcon that lazily waved away the inconvenient Truth, Jurgens took the Superman Family (and the audience) on a journey, earning back the fan base’s trust, giving readers a revived sense of investment in the characters, and bringing to the finale a Go to the full article.