the_mighty_monarch's Action Comics #23 - Atomic Knights, Part Two; The World of Krypton, Part 5: Fortitude review

Luxury Scrap Metal

This issue's definitely a bit better than the previous one, and I know exactly why. For starters, there's no scenes with Clark Kent, Lobdell just seems to muck those down with all sorts of weird subplots that go nowhere for a while. There's also less pointless fighting and more genuinely important fighting. There's a LOT of action in this issue of Action Comics, and it's all pretty awesome. Tyler Kirkham seriously makes the scale of things extremely epic.

But a good chunk of the fighting in this issue is even more avoidable than last issue. So last issue, sure, there was al evidence pointing to Straith being a hero, but he elbowed Superman in the face, so there's a sliver of a reason for him to fight. But this time we've got Staith's superior show up DECLARING PEACE, and what does Superman do? HE PICKS A FIGHT THEM. He gives them an ultimatum for leaving the planet and immediately attacks. THIS IS NOT SUPERMAN. WHAT ARE YOU THINKING LOBDELL?

But luckily most of the action happens when an actual villain shows up and causes the originally obviously intended alliance. And yes, the villain of this issue is definitely totally awesome and a monumental threat worthy of Superman and his new allies; but there's some problems with him. For one, it might just be me, but I find it impossible to take a name like 'Lexus' seriously. A Lexus is a fancy car. Not only is it kind of goofy to keep talking about Lexus as a big threat, the visual style it totally contradictory to the tone the name implies. As I said, Lexus suggests fancyness and luxury, but this guy Lexus is a sentient mass of space junk. It just creates friction between the tone for the villain. But there is a way he misleads in a clever way. His design SCREAMS techno/mechanical foe, but it turns out he's entirely magic based. It makes him more of a threat for Superman, and misleads the hero himself in the approach to fight him.

Other than that, Lexus' backstory is fairly interesting, if a bit generic, but the real problem with the origin is that the telling is extremely rushed. Superman adn the members of Pax Galactics spend so much time fighting that when Lexus shows up, there's barely enough time to explain what he is while the fight is already beginning. It feels like the very notion of him having a backstory was just an afterthought thrown in at the last minute.

The World of Krypton co-feature comes to an interesting close. Or maybe it doesn't. Clearly the arc is done, but the last page says "More on the World of Krypton Coming Soon!" So... is this the end of the co-feature? Or just 'The End For Now' in which case where/when will we see it again? Is it maybe only off for a month? Regardless of it's future, this has been exploring a very unique and untouched area of Krypton history. Yes it's partly a reboot of Eradicator and Zod's origin stories, but it's also a tale of Jor-El and Lara before they were a couple, hell, it's been their first meeting and they butt heads so much. I'm eager to see how they end up married eventually. It's also refreshing to see Lara being a total badass while Jor-El's focus is on him as a scientist.

In Conclusion: 3/5

It's an improvement over the previous issue, but not a huge one. Yeah, the action was cool and the threat was genuine on multiple levels, but there was still just too much of what makes Lobdell's Superman not work. Seems like we only have one more issue (Not including villains month of course) before Greg Pak takes over, so really, you only need this issue and the previous one if you're a fan of Lobdell's concurrent Superman run.

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