It's got to be a daunting task to get handed "Action Comics" and then learn that you don't get Superman. After all, it's the book Superman debuted in, and when you're approaching your 900th issue in the next couple of years, it's not like this is some fresh new faced comic. That said, I have to give Greg Rucka credit in that while Superman himself might not be in "Action Comics" these days, Superman's spirit is certainly there.
The bad news first: most of this issue of "Action Comics" is a massive fight scene between Ursa and the new Nightwing and Flamebird. Those hoping for more information on how the new Nightwing came to be will be sorely disappointed, although some hints are laid about just how he's different than a regular Kryptonian and how it has caused his transformations since we first met him. It's a lot of fighting, though, and if you were hoping for a little less action in your "Action Comics," you might be disappointed.
On the bright side, Rucka makes it an entertaining fight, we learn things about all three of the participants, and fans of the new Nightwing and all of his previous appearances in "Action Comics" will certainly jump at the cliffhanger ending. We're still really just getting to know more about our new lead characters, and while I admit that I'd have liked to know a lot more already, Rucka is building a slow but steady foundation that he can continue to build on for the rest of his run on the book.
I'm a tiny bit mortified to admit that the first time I read "Action Comics" I didn't notice that Sidney Teles helped pencil the book. It was actually a relief, though, because Barrows' normally very dependable pencils seemed slightly off in a few places. Knowing that it was just a second artist pinch-hitting (and aping Barrows' style as best as possible) certainly makes much more sense. Barrows' art is as wiggly and curvy as I remember, although the violence seems almost a little too keyed up here in places. I appreciate that a fight between three Kryptonians should be brutal, but I actually felt uncomfortable in spots.
A year with no Superman in "Action Comics" or "Superman" is a risky move, but so far I'm really enjoying the new directions for these books and the Superman line in general. It's definitely an entertaining read, and there's enough to bring readers back for another installment. That's all you can really ask for, in the end.