A little bit “Lilo & Stitch” and a little “Pacific Rim” mixed with the arena scene from the end of “Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones, ” “Action Comics” #27 brings Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder’s story about Lana Lang’s monstrously accidental monster discovery to a peak. Kuder gets an artistic assist from R. B. Silva, who in turn gets an artistic assist from Mike Hawthorne.
Surprisingly enough, with three pencilers on the comic, “Action Comics” #27 holds together quite nicely and even looks good doing so. Silva’s pages are the cleanest of the lot, but his young Clark Kent apparently has a propensity for wearing mascara and/or eyeliner. His take on the Fortress of Solitude is clean and open and easy on the background detail, giving it a sense of grandeur. Hawthorne’s pencils are more busily detailed and his figures more angular, which makes for a nice transition from Silva to regular series artist Aaron Kuder, who packs scads of detail into every panel. The monsters Superman faces and even the master of those monsters, Ukur, reveal meticulous design work and heavy details, projecting a wonderful canvas for the blue, red and purple-dominated coloring from Dan Brown.
Greg Pak’s story, bolstered by the art, gives Superman a legitimate challenge to face in the form of a potentially deep addition to the DC Universe. Superman has allied himself with Baka; a shapeshifting monster boy of limited vocabulary (mostly just variations of “Baka,” hence the name) that recently posed harm in the direction of Lana Lang. Pak uses that plot device to provide readers with more background on Lana and a grander exploration of her personality and resourcefulness. Collaboratively with his art team, Pak identifies Lang with a chuckle-worthy nickname through Clark’s cell phone.
I’ve always enjoyed stories that manage to balance the troubled “man” aspect with powerful “Super” in the adventures of the Man of Steel and in “Action Comics” #27, Greg Pak and company do a fine job delivering such a story. Additionally, Lana Lang isn’t a hapless damsel in distress, but an empowered woman who finds inspiration and initiative through the words and actions of her childhood friend. Couple that with an adversary that isn’t a sleepy retread of Superman’s more popular, but extremely narrow, collection of foes and this book begins to give “Adventures of Superman” a run for the money and a solid case for readers. Combined with the aforementioned digital first comic and “Superman Unchained,” I’m happy to say I’m reading more enjoyable tales of the one-time big blue Boy Scout than I ever have in this New 52.