ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 features three different stories by different creative teams, all celebrating Superman. It feels like a love letter to Big Blue, his rogues’ gallery, and his supporting cast. Each story has a distinct tone and features some top talent in the comic and entertainment industry. Warning, potential spoilers are below!

Stories Featured in ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1

ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 page 1. Image Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF LEX LUTHOR by Dan Jurgens, Will Conrad, and Wil Quintana.

The headlining story in ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 is simple enough. Someone has figured out Superman’s secret identity and targets Lois in order to hurt him. Given the title of the story and the hints at the beginning of the issue (featuring a bald head and a battlesuit), it’s no surprise it’s Lex Luthor. However; This Lex Luthor is from the future and wants to end Superman once and for all. The plot is fun. It reminds me of something that I might see in the classic Richard Donner SUPERMAN movies. There is a scene with an elevator shooting out of a building (with Lois inside) that captures that campy-yet-dangerous, almost classical aesthetic to the setup.

I’m a little disappointed with the present day version of Lex Luthor’s portrayal in the story. He’s reduced to the one-dimensional Superman-hating villain that most people know as opposed to the hero with his own agenda that we’ve seen in various Rebirth titles. The future version of Lex makes sense as many things could bring him back to pure evil, but present-day Lex seems to regress a bit in my opinion.

Will Conrad draws the heck out of this story. His art features a great splash page of Superman in flight that feels iconic of the character. His action scenes are kinetic as well, with Superman dodging explosions while fighting future Lex. The story encapsulates the classic feel of a Superman narrative, and it’s a good lead for the special.

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SUPREMA EST LEX By Mark Russell, Jill Thompson, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.

The first aspect of this story which I think is important is that it’s written by the famous Mark Russell. For those of you who are unaware, he’s an award-winning, political satirist best known for his comedy while playing the piano. I think it’s important to understand that because the story is very funny, but there are certain aspects that seem odd. The story revolves around Lex Luthor attending the White House Correspondents Dinner. Luthor recaps his beginnings and what brought him here.

ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 page 2. Image Courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Luthor reflects on the Humanitarian Award that is given to Superman and the dinner continues. As Luthor contemplates, Lois takes the stage for some pot shots and then introduces Clark Kent. It’s at this point it feels a little unusual as Clark starts roasting people in the room, including the Justice League (also in attendance) and Luthor himself. The entire correspondence dinner is hilarious, but it’s surprising to see Clark Kent roasting anybody considering his shy demeanor.

ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The story is good and the humor is sharp. It’s also great timing considering the real-life White House Correspondence Dinner happened not too long ago. The art matches the tone of the book. The characters are seen laughing and the expressions are little more light in tone compared to the other stories.

DRIVER’S SEAT By Max Landis, Francis Manapul, and Steve Wands

This is my favorite story of the three in ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1. It’s a simple tale, during the holiday season, with Superman catching a wannabe criminal. At the same time, Lois gets hit while driving her car. Her car gets the brunt of the accident and she comes out fine. The story is about caring and being generous to each other, which fits the theme of the holidays. The art by Francis Manapul is just gorgeous. It reminds me of another artist — Tim Sale — in that the style is almost timeless. Certain panels look like painted works of art and are just wonderful to look at.

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Until Next Time

ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 features 3 different stories about Superman. They all take different routes in honoring his world. The art is pretty strong across the board and the stories, while different, are pretty good as well. Also included in this issue is a story that sets up a new series THE UNEXPECTED, which seems like it will be a fun ride. If you’re a fan of Superman, definitely pick this issue up!

ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 by DC Entertainment
ACTION COMICS SPECIAL #1 features some major talent telling some wonderful stories for the icon we all know and love.
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