“Simple Pleasures.” This is what Clark strives for while being almost human in Action Comics #41. Status quo is shaken. Secret identity is lost. So what do you do when you are weak and exposed? Recover. We see a defeated and very much in pain Superman, aimless, trying to heal. Pak’s dialog paints a vivid image of perfection falling to imperfection, all while the dialog is pulling at your heart. The art and the colors really set the mood for the whole first half of the story. The beginning is very muted and the facial features on Clark show great worry and fear. We are never lost on how we are supposed to feel or react through this story as it progresses.
We don’t witness a helpless Superman for long however. He finds the supplies he needs and moves along, but we get a glimpse of the fall out of no secret identity. The inner monologue in this scene is where my first problem in the story arises. Nothing against Pak’s writing, but more about the order of publication. The reference is for issue #41 of Superman, but at the time of Action #41’s release, the other comic isn’t out yet. I wasn’t sure what he meant or how I should have responded.
As Superman finds a way of transportation (since he can’t fly or jump very far), he is cornered by a bunch of thugs who would like a piece of The Man of Steel. Here is where we see Superman be Superman for once in the whole comic. With one quick punch we see him knock out four men, and I feel joy. Reading Superman being snappy and triumphant over common crooks made me feel like a child again. Also there is nothing much cooler than watching Superman speed off on a motorcycle.
While Superman travels home, we see more of him enjoying the “simple pleasures”, but when he arrives back to Metropolis, not everyone is happy to see him. He must make a quick escape. He rendezvous with Jimmy Olsen, and Jimmy shows him that not all of the city has turned against him. Here Kuders’ and Morey’s art and colors again shift the mood. From somber and muted to happy and bright. Superman wears a smile and we can see the joy back in his eyes.
In the final act of the comic we see Superman respond to a disaster happening in the neighborhood. A shadow creature is attacking the shipping yard. Here again, I have the same problem I had before. A reference made to a still unreleased comic is frustrating and confusing. An 8-page preview is also referenced, but they don’t guide the readers to check out the 8-page preview. If I was not already up to date on Action, I would have been totally lost on what he was fighting.
Setting aside the lost references, watching a weakened Superman fight a monster was satisfying to say the least. Here we see that every punch mattered. Also at the very end, we get a mystery happening with the shadow creatures and the police hunting Superman.
In the end, Action #41 is really about the “simple pleasures”. During the “Doomed” storyline, they were pushing the alien side of Superman a bit too hard and now we have the reverse–we explore the human side. Pak’s storytelling mixed with Kuders’ art and Morey’s colors makes for a brilliantly put together read. I was annoyed with lost references and some of the curses leaving the Man of Steel’s mouth were bothersome at times, but I really look forward to what happens next.