Review of Superman – Action Comics Vol. 1: Path Of Doom (Rebirth)
Spoiler level: mild
The DC Rebirth continues to amaze. Even the most vanilla DC Comics fan is familiar with the often told and retold origin of Superman. Even through a few ages and a bit of retcon, the major points tend to stay the same. Coming into the Rebirth side of Superman I had a fear they would go back to the Kryptonian origin well once again. Suffice to say not only did Action Comics Vol. 1: Path Of Doom keep the story moving forward, it crashed together familiar heavy hitters like runaway locomotives.
The familiar pre-New 52 Superman is hiding out on the family farm with his wife, Lois Lane, and their son, Jon. The Kent family is looking good and wanting to lay low in this new reality, despite losing their version of the Man of Steel. Good news: Earth has a new champion. Potentially bad news: it’s Lex Luthor (or is it Super-Lex?)
The arch-villain to end all arching, Lex Luthor, has a super suit donning the iconic “S”. This revelation doesn’t sit well with our Superman who flies out of hiding to confront a version his oldest foe.
The book gets a bit twisty from here. If we believe Luthor is honoring his fallen “friend” by taking up the Superman mantle, then the sudden appearance of a super-doppelganger is quite punch-worthy. I let decades of villainy pass for now to see what Luthor has to offer. It’s an interesting dichotomy that never really gets a payoff… and that’s what makes this book good but not great. Lack of payoff. More on that later.
Before our heroes of Metropolis start knocking down the skyline, a special delivery in the name of Doomsday decides to tag in. Yeah, that Doomsday. Luckily for Supes, an old-friend pays a visit while an intrepid reporter named Clark drops in on the action. Confused? Prepare to turn pages faster than a speeding… um… I can’t think of anything at the moment.
Back to the payoff. Path of Doom is the opening salvo of the Action Comics Rebirth. It opens a lot of doors, weaves plenty of story, and has a mysterious big bad guy watching the madness unfold, but it doesn’t wrap up much of anything. No doubt this is by design. Still, this collection on its own while packing a big punch, it ultimately leaves you on the ropes wondering what’s next.
SUPERMAN –ACTION COMICS VOL. 1: PATH OF DOOM unites legendary Superman writer Dan Jurgens with artists Patrick Zircher, Tyler Kirkham, Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert to kick off an all-new era for the Man of Tomorrow! Collects issues #957-962 of the world’s greatest comic. Available Editions: Paperback ISBN 9781401268046 PRICE $16.99 (USD)