By: Mark Cormier

Action Comics is fast becoming my favourite series in the New 52. Its first issue was an action-packed, pulse-pounding, teeth-grinding, edge-of-your-seat thriller. And by all means, I’m pleased to announce that the second issue is every bit as fantastic as the first.

Superman has been captured and detained by General Sam Lane’s military might, subjected to brutal and inhumane tortures at the hands of Lex Luthor. While this issue showcases Superman at his most vulnerable, it also pushes the Last Son of Krypton to the edge of his pre-conceived limits. Like the first issue, this issue shows us that even though Superman has not yet reached the height of his full potential, the superhero presented to us in the new Action Comics feels powerful and impressive.

As this is the first time in this continuity that Superman and Luthor encounter each-other, it is ironically refreshing to see that Lex of this new universe is the same good old-fashioned megalomaniac of old. Lex treats the Man of Steel at his mercy with the same unfeeling condescension as he would a lab rat, constantly referring to him as “it” and refusing to acknowledge that he is deserving of Human rights.

For those of you who were worried that the New 52 would dismiss much of Superman’s extensive mythology, this issue will hopefully do much to put your doubts to rest. It is chock full of guest appearances and easter eggs, not to mention a teaser of an ending that this will be one epic story-arc that will at once satiate your curiosity and have you anxious for more.

There was only one particular scene that I personally found disheartening, however quick and throwaway it might have been. Luthor presents to Superman a withered corpse that looks like a dog, which Luthor describes as “one of your kind in its natural state.” The implication that this was Krypto, and that he effectively has no place in the new DC Universe, leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

That singular misgiving aside, Grant Morrison nonetheless is at his best here, as is Rags Morales (although I personally feel that his portrayal of Lois Lane in this issue leaves much to be desired.) Morrison’s propensity for high-end (and high-times) literature is not lost on this issue.

Overall Grade: 8/10