Pros: Superman’s new dynamic with both the world and Lex Luthor is entertaining to watch. This collection introduces a lot of very interesting and mysterious elements for future stories.
Cons: Fight scenes for the sake of fight scenes exist in this volume.
Overall: The old Superman takes on this new universe in an entirely different way than before. Fans get to see this Superman finally reveal himself to the world and get to see the consequences of that action. Not to mention that alongside all of this, a mystery is building up in the background. This volume serves as an entertaining setup for a lot of potential future stories.
Though not the best Superman story by itself, Action Comics Vol. 1: Path of Doom is a great start to Superman’s journey in this universe. In this collection, Dan Jurgens continues the storyline started in Superman: Lois and Clark yet is able to take it to the next level. He brings Superman out of the shadows and directly into the public eye. Obviously this action has repercussions, some of which are dealt with and some of which are only hinted at. This volume deserves a lot of credit for managing to be a standard Superman story while also introducing as much as it does.
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In the final issues of the New 52, Lex Luthor underwent a monumental character change and decided to become a superhero in his own right; however those issues mostly saw him just working with the Justice League. Now, in this collection, he makes appearances as a superhero on his own with a mission to defend Metropolis. Though skeptical about his transition to heroics, seeing him as a hero interacting with the everyday people is actually very satisfying. It also leads to potential conflicts between him and Superman which could lead to some interesting storylines.
The entirety of Rebirth has thus far been host to a multitude of mystery. However, it seems that Action Comics may end up being a larger hub for these mysteries than other series. This first volume shows more of Mr. Oz than any other series and manages to detail some of his motives and actions while doing so. This mystery has been very interesting so far so it is really enjoyable to see a comic furthering it while also incorporating it into its own storyline.
Mr. Oz is not the only mystery receiving attention here though; the mystery of Superman’s status in this universe is also put in the spotlight. In the DC Universe Rebirth event, Mr. Oz tells Superman that he exists as some sort of universal abnormality. Now, in this volume, someone shows up claiming to be Clark Kent. Not much happens with this story in this book but these two plotlines are clearly connected. So with Mr. Oz making plenty of appearances and the potential to learn more about Superman’s identity, this is clearly the series to watch for those interested in learning the true mysteries of DC’s Rebirth.
One of the bigger problems in modern superhero stories is the constant demand for there to be a fight scene on every page. This collection is no exception. Superman and Luthor’s fight with Doomsday makes sense-he is a monster literally destroying the city they both love. However, Superman and Luthor’s fight with each other makes much less sense, as they both are clearly trying to do the right thing. So instead of talking to each other, like two men of their intellect levels would, they start fighting. This skirmish only lasts a few pages though so it does not have a large impact on the story.
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A host of different artists is present throughout this volume, however all of their art is done in a way that looks very similar so as not to disrupt the reading experience. Overall they all look very nice though not necessarily spectacular. They are well-detailed, clear, and realistic while still retaining their comic book charm.
In particular, the last two issues, drawn by Stephen Segovia, look very nice. He presents extremely detailed and realistic looking characters that almost seem to pop off of the page. He also plays a lot with the light around explosions, energy blasts, and heat in a way that makes it stand out as it would in the real world. It gives the drawing a very cinematic quality that makes the volume’s conclusion that much more epic.
This is the first volume of the Action Comics Rebirth series. Rebirth is not a continuity reset at all; it is more of just a good jumping on point for readers. This means that, although there are stories that come before this, an in-depth knowledge of Superman’s past is not really required to enjoy this series. However, the story does make some significant references to previous stories so we will still be listing them below.
This story continues in Action Comics Vol. 2: Welcome to the Planet.
- Superman’s current situation and his reluctance to return to crime fighting begins in Convergence and continues in Superman: Lois and Clark (Review).
- Lex Luthor dawns his new super suit in Forever Evil and starts his goal of being a hero in Justice League Vol. 6: Injustice League.
- During the events of this book, not much is known about the mysterious man watching everything happen. He first appeared in Superman: The Men of Tomorrow and later made an appearance in DC Universe Rebirth #1.
- Significant references are made to Doomsday and his prior battle with Superman. The background behind all of this can be found in Superman: The Death of Superman.
- Superman’s identity as Clark Kent is a topic of discussion. This is because of the events of Superman Vol. 1: Before Truth.
- A different Superman’s death is the reason many are confused by the appearance of both Clark Kent and Superman. This happens in Superman Vol. 2: Return to Glory.