In an attempt to turn the public against the Man of Steel, Lex Luthor infected Superman with a virus that will mutate into a ghastly creature and attack Metropolis, where he would arrive to save the day from the presumed Kryptonian threat.
1. Action Comics (Vol 2) #19
2. Action Comics (Vol 2) #20
3. Action Comics (Vol 2) #21
Action Comics (Vol 2) gets a new team, taking over Morrison and Morales, led by Andy Diggle and Tony S. Daniel. Following the underwhelming conclusion to Morrison's run in Attack From the 5th Dimension, I was definitely excited for this change.
A simple mission to stop the smuggling of illegal weapons turns into a massive battle with war machines. The artist did an impeccable job in capturing Superman's confidence in the battle. Coupled with the beautifully drawn scenes, Daniel doesn't disappointment when it comes to artwork. When it comes to serious stories and dark overtones, Daniel ranks among the top artists - also evident in the Detective Comics (Vol 2) series. In contrast to the Morrison's run, where the stories had goofy elements, Hybrid (hopefully) marks the beginning of more serious and action packed stories - definitely a welcome change.
After passing out from the viral infection in his hand, Dr Shay Vertias, an ally, teleported Superman to safety where she could study what has been happening to him. Using his X-ray vision, Superman manages to deduce that the creature is somehow combining its DNA with Kryptonian DNA. But before they could run more test, the creature attacked superman and begins to grow and gain a humanoid form, which lead Veritas to the conclusion that the creature is somehow absorbing powers from Clark.
Most of the time in previous arcs, Superman had to deal with these situations on his own, with knowledge gained from the fortress. Dr. Veritas' indisputable resources and aid in this battle gave us an opportunity to learn more about the character. Unfortunately, Shay Veritas doesn't come across as anything too different from other genius allies he has had in the past. She's just another smart good guy trying to help Superman - a wasted opportunity for some character development.
The virus continues to spread causing citizens of metropolis to turn into zombies, that eventually merged into a giant monster. It's Lex Luthor to the rescue, as he swoops down in his high-tech armor to provide the cure and cast the blame on Superman for spreading this Kryptonian virus. A sinister plot at the expense of innocents, using his genius to do serious damage to Superman and even his boldness to go face to face with the Man of Steel - this is classic Lex Luthor. We don't see any of Luthor in Morrison's run, so for his debut in the Action Comics (Vol 2) series, we see a story and fully characterizes the character.
While I was initially upset with how the story concluded, I had to remind myself that this is Superman. The fact that he was pushed to such an extent is a testament to the threat Lex poses to him - worthy of being called an archenemy. I wouldn't say that Hybrid had an amazing story, but I would say that it puts forward the best characteristics of Superman and Lex Luthor that we love.