Action Comics Special #1
Written by Dan Jurgens, Mark Russell, Max Landis
Art by Will Conrad, Jill Thompson, Francis Manapul
Colors by Wil Quintana, Romulo Fajardo Jr, Francis Manapul
First things first, there isn’t much “special” about this special. Action Comics 1000th issue was a big book that showcased stories about the Man of Steel from his entire history with stories from some of the best writers and artists in the business culminating in a final story that opens up a new mystery about the events that caused the destruction of Krypton.
Action Comics Special #1 feels like the depository of stories that weren’t good enough to make the cut of issue 1000 and it shows. The first story is titled The Last Will and Testament of Lex Luthor and, to its credit, is not that bad. It involves a dying Lex Luthor from the future using all of his technology and knowledge to find a way to hurt Superman through his wife Lois Lane. Constantly putting her in danger, Lex tries to keep Superman off guard. The tactic causes Clark to confront present day Lex and the two verbally spar with each other before he is attacked by future Lex in an upgrade of his old armor.
It’s a passable story for the most part, but it spends too much time on cliché and doesn’t really move the story along to a satisfactory conclusion.
The next story is titled Suprema Est Lex and its connection to a long-standing rumor regarding out current political landscape is pretty clear. Unfortunately, it’s not particularly compelling. It also is Lex Luthor focused and is primarily about Lex being bullied throughout his life. Juxtaposed with that story is one about the White House Correspondents’ Dinner and how the journalists are there to mock the people in power. Clark is tapped to give a speech and after laying into his friends in the Justice League (including Batman lurking in the shadows of the ballroom for no particular reason), he turns his attentions to Lex and lays into him about his life of crime and frequent run ins with Superman.
The story just doesn’t seem particularly original for anyone who’s read a newspaper or watched Cable TV news in the last three years.
The final story is titled Driver’s Seat and this one is the weakest of the bunch. There are so many different types of stories to tell about Lois, Lois and Clark, Clark’s inability to be everywhere at once, how Clark can misread little things, Lois’ past, etc. Landis decides that the emotional hook of this story should be about Lois’s wrecked car that she’s had since high school. What makes it even worse is that this weak plot continues throughout the story and isn’t even concluded is a satisfactory way. The strongest man on the planet can’t fix a busted car? Why did this story need to be told? What editor thought this ending made sense?
I was frustrated more than entertained with this issue. It never rose to the level of being able to justify its own existence.