Action Comics Annual #3
Story: Greg Pak
Pencils: Ken Lashley, Aaron Kuder, Jack Herbert, Cliff Richards, Julius Gopez, Will Conrad, Pascal Alixe
Inks: Ken Lashley, Aaron Kuder, Vicente Cifuentes, Cliff Richards, Will Conrad, Pascale Alixe
Colors: Ulises Arreola
Letters: Steve Wands
In the second of two annuals this past week dealing with the Superman: Doomed cross-title event, we get Chapter 4 of the “Superdoom” story line, which follows Chapter 3 in Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #1.
Chapter 3 mainly dealt with what was happening around the rest of the world as a result of Superman being infected by Doomsday (and ultimately, who was behind that conflict taking place). In this chapter in the Action Comics Annual, the story mainly focuses on events surrounding Lois Lane fighting for control against Brainiac’s control, and Batman, who has set up operations in Superman’s Fortress of Solitude and brought together an unlikely team to help come up with a plan to thwart Brainiac. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman continues trying to reason with Superman and to reach through to his alter-ego, Clark, who has been fighting internally with Doomsday for the majority of the Doomed event.
Similar to the Superman/Wonder Woman Annual, there are seven different pencillers on this issue along with six inkers. That does seem overly excessive, but some of the artists are credited for the same panels that show up in both annuals, so it’s not quite as bad as it might first appear.
Also similar to the Superman/Wonder Woman Annual, there’s a lot of fun cameos from throughout the DC universe in here. In addition to Lois Lane and Batman, Red Hood and the Outlaws appear, along with Martian Manhunter, and John Corben; as well as Ghost Soldier, Lex Luthor, Harrow, and Dr. Shay Veritas, who are the individuals Batman recruits to help with the situation. Pak also includes a few other fan favorites like Krypto, and one of my favorites from his run on Action so far, Baka.
Some of the best scenes are actually the interaction between Batman and Lex Luthor, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s been reading Justice League lately. The “Lex as Anti-Hero” is one of the best things to come out of the Forever Evil event, and his inclusion in the Action Annual is fighting as one of Superman’s longest-standing foes.
As I’ve mentioned before, Greg Pak has helped turn Action Comics into a must read for me, and I’m not a well known fan of the Man of Steel. The Action Comics Annual #3 is another strong example of how to tell a good Superman story, and despite the multitude of different artistic styles, this annual is a strong chapter in the Doomed event.