Last issue was part of the Codename: Patriot story that crossed over all of the Superman titles in August. The opening chapters of C:P was very promising. And I thought Action Comics in particular benefitted from all of the characters coming together to face a common threat.
But then things went off the rails. The Supergirl chapter of the story just stalled out. And the entire affair crapped out completely in Superman. Codename Patriot started off well, but ended us a thudding disappointment.
This issue of Action is the first book to really deal with the fall-out of Codename: Patriot head-on. (WoNK was wise enough to largely steer clear of it.) Unfortunately, that means the first half of this issue suffers from a lot of the same weaknesses as Codename: Patriot.
By the end of last month’s crossover, it was hard to remember who was fighting who and why. The first half of this issue sees the characters just as confused as the readers about everyone’s true identity. Accusations and punches are thrown about freely before anyone starts to catch on that things may not be what they seem.
The second half of the book narrows the focus to the characters who are participating in the “Search for Reactron” storyline. Once this issue pulls away from the mess of Codename: Patriot, things improve mightily.
It makes sense that Supergirl and Flamebird would have some issues to resolve. Kara’s father, Zor-el, was a surrogate father to Thara in Kandor. Both Kara and Thara hold her responsible for his murder at the hands of Reactron. When Kara finally voices her resentment, an emotional fight ensues.
But there is also conflict between Thara and Lor Lor “>Zod. During a quiet moment, Supergirl explains that Flamebird and Nightwing are Kryptonian myths. For the first time, Lor starts to doubt Thara.
After being stung by Codename: Patriot, I’m a little gun shy about the Hunt for Reactron. However, this issue did a pretty good job of putting the former mess in the rear view mirror and focusing on some genuine conflict. The second half of the book is all about the characters’ emotions and it gets past all the shape shifting shenanigans that marred Codename: Patriot.
Then we come to the back-up feature. Chapter three still doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Honestly, I’m starting to get frustrated with Rucka and Robinson intentionally leaving the reader in the dark this long. Yes, we’re getting closer to some kind of explanation. But it’s hard to imagine the pay-off being worth the slow build-up at this point.