lvenger's Action Comics #23.2 - Zod review

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I have always loved Monsters

Since a friend linked the scans of this issue to me, I thought I’d write a quick review on it with what little time I have left before I go to uni. So in this issue, Greg Pak and Ken Lashley give us the New 52 origin of General Zod. So does Pak do my 9th favourite supervillain justice?

In short, yes. This is definitely the best Villain’s Month issue I’ve seen and read so far. The start of the story gives us what is the main theme and crux of the story; Zod’s fascination with monsters. I really liked Pak’s use of this in the issue as it enabled him to bring a new layer to Zod’s character. Zod is a character who for all his despicable actions and thoroughly evil personality feels that whatever he does, it is for the better and to make his people stronger. Not only that, but it demonstrates that Zod has always been a monster in his own words. A scene with Zod and his parents later on in the book rams that point home hard in a chilling scene after Zod and his family make their escape from rampaging Kryptonian monsters and faulty experiments.

There’s also a neat sequence where Zor-El and Jor-El find Zod in the forest later on wielding a makeshift bow and appearing like some mix of a childlike Oliver Queen and Jack from Lord of the Flies in his brutality. It’s a novel twist on Zod’s childhood that Pak utilises to strengthen Zod’s character and solidify his ties to the Els. And I love the quip Zod makes about the El brothers being there to rescue him. It was a good levity moment in this issue.

Also, the pacing in this issue is well handled. Events progress much more smoothly than in Pak’s Darkseid issue. The time skip into Zod’s early military years doesn’t detract from the issue. Instead, it allows us to see where Zod is in his early career and gives us a glimpse at the relationship Zod and Jor-El may have had on Krypton and how they could have been friends in other circumstances. Of course, Zod’s plans with Zor-El regarding the aliens known as the Char make for a great twist.

This twist plays out a few years later where we get to see Zod’s lieutenants. Due to the popularity of Man of Steel, Ursa has been replaced with Faora. My only gripe here is that Faora seems a bit too much like Ursa was in the Pre Flashpoint universe and Non lacks the sympathetic gentle giant trait he had in World of New Krypton. But aside from that, this scene really hammers home why Zod loves monsters. Because they force us into action and show us what we can be. And Zod wants to make Krypton into a warrior conquering race once again hence his plans to frame an alien race that Krypton went to war with years ago. It shows the brutality of Zod in his self righteous belief that what he does is for the greater good of Krypton. A nice trait from Shannon’s depiction of Zod in Man of Steel. Whilst it can be guessed what happened to Zod in the end, Pak leaves an excellent foreshadowing of what Zod will be doing in the future. I can only hope it lives up to Pak’s excellent writing standards.

As far as art goes, Lashley does a good job on it. The lush forests where Zod is stranded for a year seem alive and bristling in vibrant green inks and his facial expressions on more quieter scenes like a celebration known as the Grand Revel makes for an engrossing observation of what Lashley can do with his facial expressions. Though I do have two quibbles. One is that the Char monster seems incredibly bland and generic in its design and had nothing distinctive about it. The other is that the designs of what the Kryptonians wore differ from what we’ve seen them wear in Superman and Action Comics with suits more like New 52 Superman’s armour.

Overall then, this was a strongly written issue that provided a fresh groundwork for Zod’s origins as one of Superman’s greatest villains. Hopefully he’ll be put to good use in the New 52 as Pak has given us a subtly tweaked yet centrally the same Zod we know and love from the comics.

  • · Story: 9/10
  • · Art: 8/10
  • · Overall: 8.5/10

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