(CBR) The ongoing "Action Comics" from DC Comics has seen a myriad of creative teams take on the Man of Steel since the New 52 relaunch, exploring every facet of Superman's life, origin and mythos. Writer Greg Pak and artist Aaron Kuder are next in line to put their own stamp on the title. The duo kicked things off with last month's "Zero Year" tie-in and launch a new storyline this month that will introduce new foes, old faces and a mysterious monster who might not be as terrifying as it seems.
Beginning their "Action Comics" run with the issue #25's "Zero Year" tie-in, December marks the beginning of the creative team's first standalone story arc, bringing in a new character known only as Ghost Soldier and putting a new spin on Lana Lang. Introduced in 1950 as the literal girl next door, Lana began life as a love interest for Superboy, turning into a TV news reporter and love interest for the grown-up Clark in the 1960s and 1970s. Lana was then retconned in the '80s after "Crisis On Infinite Earths" as Clark's childhood friend, dogged journalist -- and one of the few people who knew of Clark's dual identity.
Now under the guidance of Pak and Kuder, the New 52 Lana is an adventure-loving electrical engineer who, as Pak explained while speaking about the series, will quickly become a key part of his "Action Comics" cast and story.
With "Action Comics" #26 on shelves now, Pak dove into a discussion of the big questions and bigger picture in "Action Comics," the universal themes he's hitting and why Lana Lang might just be the most important and influential force in turning Clark Kent into Superman.
CBR News: "Action Comics" #26 is on sale now and one of the things that really struck me about it was how Clark reiterated over and over that he considered himself a freak. I know from speaking with you about "Batman/Superman" you mentioned that in some ways what happens in Earth 2 is Clark and Bruce's fault, which also seem to tie into that idea. Is Clark seeing himself a monster an integral part of your modernization of Superman, something you see as an important theme going across both "Action Comics" and "Batman/Superman?"
Greg Pak: Definitely! When you're able to start telling stories from the beginning of Superman, if you get a chance to seriously imagine what that experience would be like -- to discover you have these kinds of abilities and powers and gradually discover the range of powers and under what circumstances you discovered them and what your emotional state might be -- I think it makes a lot of sense that the first time some of these powers manifest themselves it would be terrifying! A very real part of Clark's experience is feeling different, feeling other, feeling like he can't be completely open with people and that he has to hide things. If people knew the truth then the people he loved would be in danger and he would be treated differently. I think growing up that way contributes to the sense that Clark will always stick up for the underdog. I mean, already a couple of times in different issues he talks about his father telling him to never punch down, and I think that's a huge part of Superman. Superman is the opposite of a bully. He's the strongest person in the room but he's never going to bully anybody, he's always going to speak up for the underdog.
That's why I love him and I think that's why so many of us love him -- we'll never be as strong as him, but he's one of us in the sense that he's an outsider. I think everybody feels like that on some level, whether you're a racial minority or a different religion or if you're the overweight kid -- no matter who you are, at some point you've felt you're different and strange. I think it's no coincidence that stories like "Harry Potter" or the X-Men, all of these massive, huge blockbuster tales are about outsiders. It's ironic that everyone's experience is that we're outsiders, but that's part of the human experience! [Laughs] So that's an important part of Superman, because he'll stick up for us in that way. I think that Superman knows how easy it is to be labeled a monster so if he sees someone labeled a monster he's going to think twice about whether or not that's the right label.
One other thing I'll say, I think as a kid when these powers manifested it brought him pain and fear but also constantly brought him huge joy. That's part of him too. These gifts were mind-blowing and amazing and it's fun to be Superman!
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