The “Revenge” arc comes to a thrilling conclusion as Superman and his loved ones are put in grave danger by General Zod…
After teasing his involvement for several issues, General Zod has totally stolen the show for the last few Action Comics. For the exciting climax to the “Revenge” arc, that doesn’t change. He’s just as formidable and calculating as ever – but he is also given some depth and humanity – well, whatever the Kryptonian equivalent is.
Action Comics #984 begins with Superman and his allies (Superwoman, Lex Luthor, Steel, New Super-Man) trapped in the Phantom Zone with their enemies Cyborg Superman and the Eradicator. Back in the Fortress of Solitude, we find out just how Lois and Jon escaped destruction last issue – but how will they fare now with the Supers all gone?
Writer Dan Jurgens wraps up all the lingering plot threads of this arc with some neat economy in this issue. As it was always going to go, it’s not Superman who has to stop the Superman Revenge Squad as the villains end up tearing themselves apart – specifically, Zod disposes of all of them when they have outgrown their use (best bit: when he punches Mongul into the stratosphere). It’s totally right that Zod assumes command so easily, though it is strange for Cyborg Superman to be so sidelined after his prominent role in the earlier issues of this arc.
There is also a lot that is set up for the future here, though. Zod’s true mission is a terrific reveal, as it characterises him in a different way from the usual warmongering madman. It was also foreshadowed in the previous issue (go and revisit the bit in #983 when he discovers Supes has a family to see what I mean). Likewise, there is also another intriguing appearance from Mr Oz himself. Just what does the guy who may or may not be Ozymandias want with Superman and his brood? Will we find out in the upcoming Doomsday Clock?
Patch Zircher’s art is pretty great as well. In particular, the pages set within the Phantom Zone are beautiful, with their otherworldly, Arctic visuals and the washed-out colour pallete (shout out to Hi-Fi for that one). There are also some awesome heroic moments to savour, including punch-the-air scenes for Supergirl and Krypto.
All in all, this was a satisfying end to this iteration of the Superman Revenge Squad. I’m looking forward to what Jurgens has in store for us next time when, apparently, Lex Luthor faces his last stand…