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From A Library – Superman: Back In Action

Action Comics #841–843 by Kurt Busiek, Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods, plus other material

This trade collects the three issues of Action Comics that returned Superman to the DC universe after the events of Infinite Crisis (which I have yet to read). As such, it is a slight excuse for a trade paperback, so it is filled out with stories from DC Comics Presents that have Superman team-ups, in keeping with the concept of the main story. This is a bit of a swizz, even with introductions to the back-up material from Busiek.

To the main stories: it feels a little old-fashioned, as Superman is back after a year but nobody trusts him, even when he is helping out. The villain of the piece is the Auctioneer, who is stealing various things, including super-powered individuals, and selling them off around the universe. An aside: the bidding chatter and talk among his operatives is rather annoying, so it’s a shame they keep going back to it. Of course, Superman is stolen, so he has to save the day with the aid of a rag-tag collection of DC heroes (Skyrocket [from Busiek’s Power Company], Bluejay, Livewire, Nightwing, Firestorm, the new Aquaman and Veteran – somebody I’ve never heard of and can’t find, even on DC Comics website). In the process, he proves that he really is Superman, and all is right with the DC universe again.

The story is a fun if slight tale; it does what it sets out to do in a clear and efficient manner but without anything else to recommend it. Woods has a nice clean art style (slightly reminiscent of Steve McNiven, perhaps), with people who look like individuals rather than generic men and women, and a clear storytelling ability. The face he gives to Superman can occasionally look odd, but not enough to ruin the book. This might appeal to the hardcore DC fan but not me – I didn’t even read the back-up stories: God, I’m a philistine.

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