Once, he was known throughout the universe as a champion for Truth and Justice. The crest of his family became his symbol—a beacon of hope to those in need and a symbol of terror to the wicked. To the universe he was known as Superman, but to those who knew him best he was plain old Clark Kent. He lived a happy life, having won the heart of fellow reporter Lois Lane and having fathered a son they named Jonathan after his foster father. It was a good life…until their universe ended.

Somehow they survived this, and found themselves on another Earth—one which has its own Lois Lane and Superman. Thus did the older and wiser Lois and Clark become Lois and Clark Smith, content to live quiet lives though still helping where they can as an author of exposés and a shadowy vigilante. Then the younger Superman dies shortly after having his secret identity exposed to the world, and the older Man of Steel decides to reveal himself and take his younger self’s place.

Unfortunately, the elder Clark Kent is not the only person with plans along those lines. Lex Luthor—the billionaire futurist and member of this world’s Justice League—dons an advanced suit of power armor emblazoned with Superman’s symbol and announces his intention to honor the other hero’s sacrifice by taking on his mantle. Unfortunately, Luthor’s press conference to announce this is broken up by the arrival of Doomsday, the greatest monster that Superman has ever known and an unknown quantity to the people of this New Earth. Into the middle of all of this emerges another oddity—an ordinary human, with no powers at all, who claims to be the real Clark Kent!

Path of Doom does a masterful job of establishing the new status quo of Superman in the wake of DC Rebirth. Dan Jurgen’s script establishes several ongoing subplots and character conflicts for the new series to explore. What’s interesting is that the story allows the possibility for Superman—often accused of being too perfect by some critics—to make mistakes. Chief among these is his suspicion of Lex Luthor, despite all the evidence suggesting that the Lex Luthor of this reality honestly is trying to be a hero and isn’t the criminal his original Earth counterpart was. The fact that Jurgens manages all this intrigue amid an intense battle sequence spanning multiple chapters is a credit to his skill as a writer.

The artists providing the art on this volume prove equally skilled, though one wishes there weren’t so many of them. There’s no bad artwork anywhere to be found, but there is little uniformity in the styles on display. Thankfully, each chapter is handled by a single artist, so the visual discontinuity is kept to a minimum.

This volume is rated 12+ for teen audiences and that rating is more than fair. As one might expect in a Superman comic, there is a fair amount of superheroic violence but nothing gory or inappropriate for the target audience. There is also no sexual content or any cursing stronger than the occasional “damn.”

Superman: Action Comics, vol. 1: Path of Doom
by Dan Jurgens
Art by Patrick Zircher, Tyler Kirkham, and Stephen Segovia
ISBN: 9781401268046
DC Comics, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 12+

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

Liked it? Take a second to support us on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!