This is me, as a broken record . . .
DC, will you please dial down the violence? This issue of Action Comics, featuring a clash between the vile Ursa and new heroes Nightwing and Flamebird, is awash with teeth smashing, torso slashing, eye tearing and general nastiness. The lowlight is a two page spread showing Ursa shredding Thara Ak-Var - Flamebird - with a Kryptonite knife. The artistic 'camera' lingers on the pain and horror of Thara, the glee of Ursa. It's torture porn, nothing less, and not worthy of being in Superman's home book. And this in a Comics Code Authority book - they must be proud.
It's a shame, as it mars a gripping issue. Greg Rucka's internal narrative for Ursa lets us know how she sees herself, General Zod, her son Lor-Van (aka Chris Kent/Nightwing), Thara and life in general. We also get a much sharper look at the characters of Nightwing and Flamebird than in their series debut last month. Plus, there's some good stuff with Lois Lane towards issue's end. Simply put, the issue didn't need the ultra-violence that has become so typical of Dan Didio's DC.
Penciller Eddy Barrows offers dynamic layouts, filled to busting with kinetic figures for the main storyline, while Sidney Teles handles the Lois scene with aplomb. Andrew Robinson's cover illo has Ursa looking like a cardboard stand-up figure, while the burning costumes of Nightwing and Flamebird are too new to be recognisable; still, the composition is eye-catching and the logo remains an industry classic.
So, a good issue, but it would have been better without what I assume are attempts at edginess.