Rating: 4/5 – A tale of General Zod just in time for “Man of Steel”
Collecting Action Comics 844-846, 851, and Action Comics Annual 11
During free comic book day this year DC decided to give the comic reading audience a taste of what I think they want to be the definitive General Zod story heading into the Man of Steel movie. The book has all of the connections that would bring old Superman fans into the fold by including Richard Donner, the director of the first two Superman films. It also has a name that brings comics fans to the book in co-writer Geoff Johns. With the upcoming Man of Steel looking to be the lynch pin in the future of the DC cinematic universe, why not give readers a taste of what they can expect and they do a pretty great job of it.
This story takes place in the old 52 continuity with the Lois Lane/Clark Kent marriage still intact and the Daily Planet news team talking about a recent encounter with Gorilla Grodd and Superman. During that discussion a U.F.O. enters Earth’s atmosphere and Superman must rush to save the Earth and to see what is inside. What is inside shapes the entire story; it is a child, a kryptonian child, making Kal-El no longer the last son of Krypton. Determining who the child is and how it ties into General Zod is done masterfully by Geoff Johns and Richard Donner. The story then moves into what may be the most interesting issue of this hardcover. The third issue of this book is told entirely in 3-D, with glasses included to give you a three dimensional perspective of the phantom zone. There is a line in the book that says you need to wear your protective goggles or the effects of the phantom zone will affect you forever. One of my favorite things in this trade was seeing Adam Kubert’s art literally jump of the page. It is beautiful and took me back to reading the Craig Yoe 3-D comics collection of fun stories being told with this “new” technology. Once we leave the phantom zone we get an unlikely team up to take on General Zod and very satisfying conclusion to the story in which the authors also tackle the idea of Superman being a father and how he feels about not being able to have a child with Lois.
The art was also fantastic with Adam Kubert playing with double page spreads to tell the story across long panels vertically and horizontally. He does not fall prey to making his Superman look like an actor that has played the role before and his General Zod is fantastic. As I mentioned before the addition of the 3-D issue was fantastic and really played up the idea of “fun comics”.
Where this book loses a point with me is the value that it provides the reader. At four dollars an issue I found this to be a light read and one that I breezed through in parts. It definitely felt light on content, with two variant covers and two pages of sketch work by the artist as back matter. It could have used a more back matter, possibly an interview with Geoff Johns and Richard Donner and a higher quality paper for the trade itself. While the quality of the story and art were great I found myself wanting more from the total package.
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