This review contains minor spoilers.
Now that Superman has been reborn, where to from here? Superman #20 focused on Jon Kent’s lack of developing powers, while Action Comics #977 explores Clark’s state of mind after merging with his New 52 counterpart. I have a strong suspicion that both stories will be connected, but till then, “The New World” is more about the Man of Steel than Superman right now.
In this issue, Clark can’t shake off the feeling that something’s wrong and his memory is foggy after the merger of the two Supermen. So, he heads off to the Arctic and into his Fortress of Solitude to seek answers. He asks the crystals to show him his life from the beginning, and he gets transported to his past. Even though they cannot perceive him, he sees his parents, Jor-El and Lara, and how they decided to send him to Earth. In a heartbreaking moment, he wonders if there’s something his parents could’ve done to survive, but he can only look on, powerless, as Krypton is destroyed.
Clark experiences far happier moments as he sees his arrival on Earth, and his time with Pa and Ma Kent and his other friends en route to becoming Superman. Once the simulation ends, he declares there’s no question that’s his life, but he still feels unsettled. He then hears another voice in the Fortress, but Kelex assures him that they’re alone. No, stupid robot, you’re not alone.
Meanwhile, a mysterious holographic projection rounds up Metallo and Blanque to take revenge on Big Blue. The figure never reveals his/her identity, but could it be that Superman’s rebirth also affected Lex Luthor somehow? Now, that would catch us off guard, much like something we’d expect from old Baldilocks. Lex will break bad again, so it’s only a matter of time.
Unlike “Superman Reborn,” you can see this is a Dan Jurgens original and he’s far more in his element here. When he’s allowed the space to write his own story, no one else pens Supes quite like he does. He has a lot of history with this character, and it’s evident that he knows him inside and out by now. I hope my Lex prediction is accurate, and Jurgens will be the one to reintroduce him as a villain to the Rebirth universe.
Ian Churchill receives the keys to the Superman kingdom, as he gets to pencil all of the key moments from Clark’s life. You can see his passion for the character as he not only pays tribute to artists of the past, but also adds unbelievable detail to every panel. With so much to cover in one issue, he captures all the vital moments and still builds on the current story. This must’ve been a massive project to undertake, yet he pulls it off in sensational style.
Action Comics #977 puts the ball back in Jurgens’ court, and it’s the best thing DC could’ve done. While there will always be crossover storylines, this issue proves that two coexisting titles, which are different in tone and style, can both be good and successful. “The New World” already looks like it’ll be another Dan Jurgens special.
Welcome to the Dan Jurgens show! Action Comics #977 proves Jurgens is one of the best Superman scribes alive today.