Action Comics #30 begins a new tie-in story arc, “Doomed,” featuring old-school 1990s villain Doomsday, while also tying up some loose ends from the last arc. Before we get started, I do have to point out one thing that really annoyed me a bit with this issue, particularly because it’s the second time in two weeks that readers of DC Comics have had to deal with this – namely, the events in this issue actually take place after another “Doomed” tie-in from Superman/Wonder Woman #7, yet that comic hasn’t been published yet. The same thing happened last week with the “First Contact” story arc cross-over titles, with the fourth installment being published more than a month before the third installment. If that kind of stuff bothers you, you might want to wait to read this issue until after you’ve read Superman/Wonder Woman #7. In this case, I just sucked it up and read this issue while grumbling a bit to myself throughout.
One of the first things many readers have noticed since Greg Pak and Aaron Kuder took over Action Comics is the covers, and this one is no different. While the past few have shown Superman front-and-center, almost larger than life, for issue #30 things are a bit different. Superman is center stage again, but he’s smaller and in the distance, as in the foreground we see a circle of missiles firing at him. The effect creates sort of a halo around Superman, and with all of the missiles directly pointing at Superman, the layout serves to draw our eyes right toward him. While I appreciate the design of the layout, this isn’t one of my more favorite covers of the recent run. Since Superman is a bit faded back into the distance, he comes across almost “small” – maybe that was intended, as a way to illustrate that the upcoming events he’s going to be facing are bigger than he is.
The characterization of Superman in this issue continues to show a hero who is still a bit green –he still continues to fly off the handle and act before he thinks. Pak handles this perfectly, and it’s a great character device to use, as it provides a great way for us to compare Superman’s actions to other characters in the series, particularly Lana Lang (who unfortunately is absent in this issue). This shorter-tempered version of Superman also gives us a context for viewing his character’s growth, such as seeing his interactions with Harrow, who is the main villain in this particular issue. The way Superman decides to deal with her, and her reaction to that decision, provides some great character conflict that is so much more gripping than just punching people around. Harrow says something to Superman that really made me think about some of the decisions Superman makes for the “greater good,” and yet it’s clear that she is the villain. That’s great writing right there, and a credit to Pak’s run on this series so far.
Aside from the cover, which is exclusively handled by Aaron Kuder and regular series colorist Wil Quintana, the interior art is provided by Jed Dougherty and Karl Kerschl in addition to Kuder. While the style changes aren’t overly drastic, it is noticeable, particularly with some scenes that seem slightly more “cartoon-like” than the rest of the book. I don’t mind that kind of style when it’s consistent, but I’m not a fan of mixing and matching styles like that in a single issue unless it’s done to do things like illustrate a scene from the past. That’s not the case in this issue.
Overall, Action Comics #30 continues the quality that’s been set since the new creative team took over the title with issue #25. It serves as a nice epilogue to the previous story-arc, while giving us more background on Harrow, and introducing Doomsday and the new “Doomed” story-arc.