Sunday, December 5, 2010

Comic Book Review: Action Comics Annual #13

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciller: Paul Cornell & Ed Benes
Colorist: Val Staples & Jason Wright
Letterer: John J. Hill
Cover Art: Ethan Van Sciver & Hi-Fi
Editor: Matt Idelson

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Just like last year, Action Comics delivers one of the years best comic book stories.  However, #13 doesn’t divulge into the alien mythological world of Krypton, but dives deep into another part of Lex Luthor’s youth, even further explaining on the attributes of the Lex we know today.

This issue splits into two stories, both separate from each other while still connecting in similar ways.  Lex has always been a very independent person on the search for power beyond any man’s dreams, but there has always been a lingering need deep within him for a father figure.  Obviously Lex’s idea of fatherhood is quite construed seeing as how he murdered his own father, but this doesn’t mean he doesn’t long for it.  Paul Cornell’s Luthor story gives light to the scared young lad who later becomes one of DC’s most interesting villains.

The first story shows Lex in Metropolis, out on his own and looking for work.  He gets in with the wrong crowd who just so happens to have a major connection with Darkseid and the fiery world of Apokolips.  And here we are! In the midst of Luthor’s unknown reason for mistrusting aliens!  It all started with Darkseid!  But even then, Lex never showed an ounce of fear and even attempted to take over Apokolips by defeating Darkseid.  No such dice of course, but just like the relationship between him and Batman, Darkseid sees promise within the young Lex’s intentions, even if he’s unwilling to admit it.

The second provides a much older Lex, one still retaining his hair.  It’s interesting to see Luthor’s developmental stages in life.  Birthright showed us a Lex who was simply pissed off at the world due to it’s inadequacy in comparison with himself.  Action #13 presents a Lex who was still very much an angry young man, but sought to better his understanding of power and how mankind achieves it. Ra’s Al Ghul, of course, was far ahead of Lex intelligently and kept Luthor from taking what was his, but the conclusion of the story caught me off guard.

In a weird way, each male (Is Darkseid considered male on his planet?) That Lex runs into shows a certain amount of care for him.  Even Perry White, who was more about standing for truth, Justice and the American way rather than being the hardcore news editor we know today.  Luthor both accepts and rejects their fatherly advice and teachings; accepting them as good ideas, rejecting them in the sense that he now claims all his success to be of his own doing.  It’s interesting to see how his relationships develop with each character and how he interacts with them as well.

Marco Rudy and Ed Benes, two very accomplished artists, one a little more well known than the other, both having completely different styles.  What would my initial reaction to this be?  I think you know.  But this issue was not daunting for me since both stories were separate, and the different styles complimented their specific story.  I’ll always love Ed Benes, but Rudy definitely deserves two major thumbs up with his with his style similarly representing J.H. Williams III and his work on Promethea; overlapping panels, layouts that represent the characters feelings, it’s all quite unorthodox and a fresh take on the art in Action Comics.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
Action Comics has certainly become one of DC’s hot titles.  Its ability to exchange mainline characters is something the other titles are unable to do, which makes it standout very well.  But now, with Luthor having taking control of the said title, part of me wishes he would remain as Actions Comics’ protagonist for the next few years.  Unlikely that will happen, so I will enjoy this time learning more about Lex and his maniacal ways.  Now will you excuse me?  I need to go read this issue again…

Rating: 10 out of 10
+ 3 Incentive Points
Writing: 10
Art: 10
Themes: 10

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