Action Comics #992 (DC Comics)

Runners Up: Doomsday Clock #1 (DC Comics), X-O Manowar #9 (Valiant Comics)

Dan Jurgens and Steve Pugh deliver an excellent issue of Action Comics this week, anchored by the recent “The Oz Effect” arc and further exploring the truth about Rebirth. As I’ve mentioned before, Jurgens has a great grasp on Superman and shows it here. One of the keys to crafting a good Superman story is finding an emotional weakness to exploit. Typically, this weakness is Lois or, in recent issues, his son Jonathan. This issue shifts the focus to Superman’s heritage and the challenges to it that the most recent stories have posed. Nearly eighty years after his debut, Kal-El finds himself on a journey of self discovery. The threat to Superman here is not a villain, but the collapse of his world view. Though this issue isn’t exactly action packed, it more than makes up for that with Superman’s investigations and some commentary from his closest companions. As Clark comes to a conclusion, he makes an emotional and rash decision. Someone shows up because of this and, while I won’t tell you anymore, I think this is going to be a big one.

DC also released the first issue of Doomsday Clock, yet another book that may clarify some of Rebirth’s mysteries. Though we can’t be sure where this is heading, Geoff Johns and Gary Frank may be creating a direct sequel to Watchmen. This issue certainly would lead us to believe so. As interesting as the plot itself are the layers that can be tapped into here. In Watchmen, we read a commentary on the world and nature of superheroes, most of it was not complimentary. In Doomsday Clock, it seems the superheroes finally get to comment back. Johns has made a habit of taking fresh looks at Alan Moore’s DC work. In Brightest Day, he returned Constantine and Swamp Thing to the DC Universe. Perhaps in Doomsday Clock¬†some familiar faces will find new roles.

Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain bring us another issue of X-O Manowar, perhaps the finest of the current run. It took awhile for Aric to get back in his suit, but it was worth the wait. Valiant has been producing a bunch of quality books and if you’re not checking them out, you definitely should be.