I picked up Action Comics no. 27 at my local shop for two reasons. First, I thought the cover was pretty cool. The introduction of a new adversary (Ukur the Beast Lord) shown pounding Superman was a draw for me. I've always enjoyed barbarian-esque characters in comics, and this new foe for the Man of Steel seemed promising. Secondly, I like Greg Pak. I hadn't read any issues of Action Comics in the New 52 except for a free digital copy of issue no. 1 via Comixology. Having written Planet Hulk and currently penning Eternal Warrior as well as the upcoming Turok Dinosaur Hunter, Pak appears to have his inkwell full of science, sword and sorcery. And though I did not continue reading his run on "Batman/Superman" after issue no. 1, I wanted to give this issue a try. Superman plus a little heroic fantasy seemed like a fun read. The story arc, which actually began in the previous issue, marks Pak's foray into Action Comics (besides his Forever Evil and Zero Year tie-ins).
So far the story has some interesting plot elements. Pak uses a young but wrackful monster whom Lana Lang's dig team unearthed in issue no. 26 as a device to parallel how at times young Clark Kent was misunderstood. The Kents could have easily labeled him a "monster," especially at the discovery of his destructive power-set. However, they loved him and treated him as a son no matter how alien Clark was. Superman does the same thing for the monster who I will call "Baka." He showed it mercy in the rainforest (to Lana's surprise). In the opening pages of this issue, readers are introduced to Baka's innocence. Also, Superman provides it care, welfare, safety and security in the Fortress of Solitude. As it turns out, Baka is more than meets the eye. But like a young pit bull, that power can be trained in one direction or another. This is where Ukur the Beast Lord comes in.
Superman's newest adversary seems to be hunting Baka. Moreover, the cavernous labyrinth Lana discovers seems to be part of the mystery. Is Ukur a friend or a foe? The prospect of a conflict between the forces of Imperial Subterranea and the "above-grounders" seem inescapable. My biggest hope, though, is that this arc will introduce Mike Grell's classic, Silver-Age DC character "The Warlord" (Travis Morgan) and his world (Skataris) to the New 52. The Warlord is another sword and sorcery book I foresee Greg Pak writing and myself reading in the future.
I like the art in this book. I just don't care for how Superman is drawn. Maybe it's his new look. I'm still getting used to it personally, but I've seen Superman drawn much better in his New 52 duds. I also do not wish to see Baka simply treated as a pet, but rather as an ally to be won over by Superman.
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this arc. I see great things ahead, perhaps things that will show up in the solicits in 2014. The potential for Warlord showing up here is fantastic!
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