Before Clark/Kal officially became the Superman everyone knows from the New 52, he was a cocky chap in jeans and a t-shirt. Greg Pak takes over writing and Aaron Kuder on art in this Zero Year story. Superman takes down some local bad guys, then tries his best to help out Gotham City by stopping a hurricane in its tracks.
This is the Superman that I like to see. He doesn't have all of his powers. He's young and extremely cocky. ACTION COMICS #25 really deals more with Kal-El's limits as a budding hero. Prepare for Superman to get frustrated and take some pretty risky chances because he does it quite a bit in this issue. Writer Greg Pak gives the reader a really great look into the early years of a boy becoming a hero. He's a bit immature (Superman, not Pak) and it shows in one scene where Superman laughs at one of the villains he caught, who starts to cry. His narration really shows this more, throughout the issue. It's a great guide through the story and gives us more insight to Kal's thought process as a younger hero.
At one point, I thought to myself "Did Aaron Kuder (artist) just want to put Kal into as many epic-looking panels as possible?" If not, he still accomplishes it at every turn. Kuder's art, along with Arif Prianto's colors, are utter brilliance. There are two very stand-out moments in this issue. The first one is in the opening, featuring Kal holding a truck over his head. The colors and shading are vibrant and extremely pleasing. By far, the coolest panel here features Kal, in the ocean, screaming upwards. Kuder shows some fantastic emotion through the character's face, and the hints of color on the Superman emblem really make it pop out.
Kuder also does some fantastic things with page layouts. He uses the outline of his emblem as one panel and later on, uses a circular panel to move the story and to also represent the sound coming out of his "shakooom" clap. Visually, this was my favorite book of the week.
It's just me, but I'm not the biggest Lana Lang fan. It's a weak critique, but this issue really won me over.
I'm not a Superman fan, but ACTION COMICS #25 was incredibly pleasing. Pak's vision of a young hero really grabbed me, and it didn't hurt that the art of Kuder and colors of Prianto were nothing short of amazing. Superman just didn't become Superman overnight. He had to learn how to be that role model for the world. There's going to be this transitional phase where the character is emotional, immature, and sometimes makes rash decisions. That's what we see here, and I loved it. Overall, I highly recommend this issue.