Action Comics #38

Written by Greg Pak
Drawn by Aaron Kudor, Jae Lee, and June Chung
Colored by Wil Quintana
Published by DC Comics

PREVIOUSLY: Action Comics #37

The HORRORVILLE storyline continues in this latest chapter titled HOME IS WHERE THE HELL IS. We open with Superman, as Clark Kent, being haunted by nightmares of his parents house in Smallville burning with Lana trapped inside, and when he bursts in to save she’s dragged into the pit of Hell. Then he’s confronted by the zombified corpses of his dead parent, Jonathan and Martha Kent, telling him that they were always afraid of him as he grew up, as his powers manifested, because they worried that he would turn on them and all of humanity someday. This strikes at the core of Superman revealing some deep-seated insecurities that he’s always felt but never admitted.

With a lesser writer this could have come off really badly, like some cheap attempt at psycho-babble, but Greg Pak manages to pull it off, and you can almost feel the fear that Superman is experiencing as this nightmare unfolds. Of course this is LARGELY helped by Aaron Kudor’s exquisite artwork which helps capture the horrific tone of the story. I mean, it’s not like Superman has never faced “monsters” a bajillion times before in previous comics, but when Kudor draws the tentacled-monsters behind these events in Smallville, which look like something out of Lovecraft’s nightmares, you can see why even the Man of Steel would get the shivers.

ac 38-04

In a later sequence Superman catches up with Steel and The Toyman who are trying to keep a group of young children save as the town goes to Hell around them, and you seem him struggling to remain calm and rational even as his spirit is shaken. This is another great instance where Pak shows has Superman realizes what kind of symbolism he represents to common people and therefor must put on this “act” of strength and stability even when he doesn’t quite feel it inside.

In the end more secrets about the nature of these monsters and where they’re from are revealed, but things don’t look so good for our hero as these creepy crawlies begin possessing the whole town, with only Superman remaining. Pak and Kudor are giving us what may very well be the best horror story I’ve ever read in a superhero comic. You do not want to miss out on this.

P.S. also kudos to Jae Lee and June Chung who draw a brief flashback sequence to Clark’s childhood.

Action Comics #38

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