The Superman Family faces the Superman Revenge Squad in a battle royale of an issue…
Some comics you want to engage you on an intellectual level with a well-told narrative. Others you want to laugh at or be gripped by thanks to great dialogue or brilliant characters. Other times you just need a comic which involves people punching each other. Action Comics #983 is one of that last category and it is a heck of a lot of fun because of it.
The issue begins by picking up the cliffhanger from last issue – the assembled Super-Family arrive to aid the Man of Steel in his battle against the Superman Revenge Squad outside the Fortress of Solitude. After a few brief pages of recap, the issue wastes no time in getting ahead with the battle that has been brewing for several issues now. And boy, does it pack a punch.
First of all, writer Dan Jurgens offers up some interesting hero/villain pairings, with the good guys not always coming out on top. Namely, Supergirl vs Cyborg Superman. Lex Luthor vs Mongul,. Superwoman vs Eradicator. Metallo vs Steel and Blanque vs New Super-Man. As I said, this issue is mostly about the punch-ups, but we do get some fun moments with these supporting Supers. In particular, there’s a welcome brief hint that Lex himself might want to have a look around the Fortress in future…
The big confrontation of the issue, though, is the big brawl between Superman and General Zod. I have to say up front that this is one of the, if not the number one, most formidable, badass version of the Kryptonian warmonger I’ve ever seen. Physically, he trounces Supes – and he also proves his smarts by quickly working out that Clark is currently suffering from blindness. And, just to prove that how much he hates Kal-El, Zod might just destroy all that Superman holds dear.
Highlight for spoilers: Zod blows up the rocket that Lois and Jon are fleeing in! While they obviously aren’t dead, this does raise the game and make us question what actually happened to them.
There is some great artwork as well this issue from Victor Bogdanovic, who makes his debut on Action Comics here. He keeps things dynamic with some inventive panel layouts and impressively keeps finding new ways to frame people punching each other in the face. His drawing style also sort of resembles that of popular Batman artist Greg Capullo, and you can’t go wrong there.
All in all, Action Comics #983 is a barnstorming issue. What it loses in the finer points of storytelling, it makes up for its various exciting brawls. The best part has to be making a familiar character like Zod a serious threat once again. Kneel before Zod!