“Action Comics” #23.1: Cyborg Superman Review

Action Comics #23.1

Written By: Michael Alan Nelson
Art By: Mike Hawthorne

Action Comics #23.1 is a truly grim and haunting tale that resonates emotionally. Cyborg Superman gets a revamped origin in the New 52 that proves better than the original.

Wonderfully balancing a series of origin flash backs with a present day scenario wherein Cyborg Superman tests alien life forms’ moral compasses, Nelson challenges what it means to be a perfect being. The story gets dark, and Hawthorne creates chilling panels, like the final one, where Cyborg Superman lifelessly gazes with the narration “I am alone in the garden of the universe.”

While the story artfully shows how a man (Zor-El) gets too focused in his work and compromises his relationships, the fate of Krypton is unclear in the context of this story. The technology he uses to try and save his city isn’t made obvious, and risks the one-shot’s accessibility.

With such striking panels of Cyborg Superman relentlessly attacking aliens and Zor-El losing touch with his family, the inks and colours reflect a lighter story. The grim effect still shows, but there’s a strange balancing act of the bright world of Krypton and an impending sense of doom.

Without compromising his robotic, absolute personality, Cyborg Superman is injected with heart as he is linked heavily to Krypton and Supergirl. This origin story tells the tale of how Zor-El lost his humanity before his life-changing transformation. Action Comics #23.1 is an effective origin story, that despite its plot gaps and conflicting art decisions, packs a powerful message.

Score: 8.0/10