Thursday, 14 December 2017

Superman: Action Comics, Volume 4: Hybrid Review (Andy Diggle, Tony S. Daniel)

The long and the short of this one is that Action Comics, Volume 4: Hybrid is yet another crummy Superman book to add to the teetering pile of bad Superman comics already out there!

“Hybrid” is an appropriate subtitle as this volume is made up of issues from numerous writers and artists. After Grant Morrison’s departure, Andy Diggle seemed like a promising replacement - except he jumps ship a mere two issues into his run (creators suddenly abandoning DC was an all too frequent problem in the New 52 days), leaving DC Editorial scrambling to figure out how to right the title’s course! 

Not that his issues were that good anyway - Diggle is hit-or-miss as a writer and it looks like his Action run was gonna be a miss. Lex infects Supes with Kryptonite-infused nanobots or some such rubbish in an effort to control him and become Earth’s saviour - whatever. Tony Daniel’s art is awesome though - Superman looks spectacular, as does the action (remember ACTION comics!). Daniel isn’t nearly as gifted a writer though and the issue he wrote after Diggle’s departure is a noticeably clunkier and less subtle read, much like his (far too many) Batman efforts. 

After a completely forgettable romance interlude where Superman and Wonder Woman go on a restaurant date and fight some Greek mythology baddies (snore), the book goes into a freefall that it never recovers from. Scott Lobdell (shudder) contributes a couple of dreary, derivative issues where Superman joins forces with a cheap Hulk knockoff to punch a giant Groot lookalike, which reads as stupid and pointless as it sounds. Again the art is the only positive as Tyler Kirkham tries to make the best of a bad situation with his visuals. 

Then we’re into part 2 of a storyline called PSI War (part 1 isn’t included - good job, DC!) involving Psycho Pirate messing with Supes while Lois turns into a blue ghost. Who fucking knows/cares when it comes to Lobdell’s comics! This disaster of a volume closes out with some needless, absolutely boring story about a young Jor-El fighting someone who isn’t General Zod but who’s still trying to stage a military coup to overthrow Krypton’s government (a seemingly recurring problem on Krypton!). 

The art is more or less consistently high quality throughout but it doesn’t make up for an equally consistently low quality level of writing that produces a near-comatose reading experience - I definitely wouldn’t bother with this tedious volume. For a series called Action Comics it sure contains a disproportionately large number of dull books!

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