Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #785

Action Comics #785

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 28, 2001

Cover date: January 2002

2002 Shield No. 4

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciller: Duncan Rouleau
Inker: Marlo Alquiza


Reviewed by: Nick Newman (

Scene 13. Bizarro comes to a realization. Declaring his intentions (in typical backwards manner) to help the world, he disappears into the blackness with a booming "Hello!"

Scene 12. The fiery creature just tells Bizarro to leave, but he can't seem to remember what he is supposed to do.

Scene 11. Zod halts his beating of Bizarro and turns to face Superman, hovering in the moonlight. As Zod rears up and prepares to strike at the (perhaps no-longer) Last Son of Krypton, Superman reminds him of the party that the General is hosting. If Zod attacks Superman, then Kal will make sure that the entire world sees the whole thing. Speechless, Zod drops Bizarro and speeds away, warning Superman that if he intrudes again, he will suffer the wrath of hell. As Superman attempts to console the terrified Bizarro, the two imps suddenly arrive on the scene and take Bizarro to their leader.

Scene 10. As the group of paramedics load the corpse of the jumper in to the back of the ambulance. He comments that despite the impact, he couldn't find any blood. One of the EMT's suggests that next time she try a higher building. Leaping up from the stretcher, the blonde prances away, thanking the men for the tip.

Scene 9. In the forest, a group of imps try to goad Bizarro into killing Clark, but the creature is cautious. After the two exchange some abnormal pleasantries, Bizarro proceeds to tell Clark that Superman is dead. If he had been alive, then Superman would have come to rescue him. Clark doesn't understand, so Bizarro tells him how Ignition found him on the moon and took him to Zod. Then Zod used Bizarro for practice, before taking on the real thing. Bizarro had just wished for Superman to come rescue him, but instead, the complex was attacked by Imperiex. He should have died, he even wanted to, but instead he lived. Clark tries to convince Bizarro that Superman is still alive, but before the talk can continue, Bizarro hurls Clark into the bushes and tells him to hide. Zod arrives on the scene and begins to give Bizarro the beating of his life. Clark stands amidst the trees and hopes that he isn't seen. If Superman shows up, then Zod will know that Clark is Superman. He can't endanger Lois, but.... As Zod prepares to deliver the finishing blow, a shadow covers his back. A command of "Enough" stops the General in his tracks.

Scene 8. Luthor talks with Faora at the party. Across the room, visiting dignitaries talk to Zod. Suddenly, Zod turns his head toward the forest, and sees Bizarro. Radioing Faora, he heads out into the woods to stop Bizarro.

Scene 7. Clark leans up against a tree, absolutely terrified. He looks skyward as Bizarro descends, carrying two men with him. As he lands, the imps try to convince him to kill Clark, but Bizarro tells them to hush. Clark reminds Bizarro who he is, but before he can talk, Bizarro destroys a tank with a rush of flame breath.

Scene 6. Standing atop the second tallest building in Metropolis, Sally smiles to herself. She's figured it perfectly. It will take almost nineteen seconds to hit the ground; plenty of time to get rescued by Superman. She takes a deep breath and launches herself off of the building, yelling "Superman" all the way down. Unfortunately for her, Superman is half a planet away. The empty bus that she lands on doesn't fair any better than Sally does.

Scene 5. From inside his room, Clark tells an attendant that he feels ill, and that he won't be attending the dinner. Clark curses himself. He is being an idiot. He moves to the window. He's Superman, and he's absolutely terrified of Zod. Looking up, he notices a tank on fire out in the woods. Preparing to shed his tuxedo, he tries to convince himself that he not change clothes to remain stealthy, and to avoid Zod. Clark flies into the night.

Scene 4. The gathered world leaders, dignitaries, and reporters sit and listen to Zod speak of his intentions for his new country. He assures them that there is nothing to fear. Clark's spot sits empty amidst the packed room.

Scene 3. In the woods, a gang of imps goad Bizarro on into attacking the party. However, before the creature can do anything, a battle tank orders him to stand down and be captured.

Scene 2. Standing in the streets of Pokolistan, Clark is surrounded by Zod's sigil. As Clark heads toward the castle, he thinks of Zod. He is absolutely terrified of the man, more afraid of him than anything else he has ever faced in his life. In his own chambers, Zod thinks to himself. He will invite his enemies to his home and convince them all, that he is simply one of them, a politician. And Superman will know that it is just a game. And one day, Superman will make a mistake and Zod will win.

Scene 1. In his office, Perry questions Clark about Lois' trip. Clark tries to convince his editor that they aren't separated; Lois just needs some time with her mom after her dad's death. Perry tells Clark that he has just the thing to occupy Clark's time, a nice assignment. Clark agrees, and then asks what hellhole he is being sent to this time.

5Story - 5: Initially I really didn't like this story, mainly because I read it front to back. If I was just a reader I probably would have filed it away after that and forgotten about it. However, I had to review this issue. So I read it again, this time in order by scene, but still reading the pages from front to back. The story got better, but it was still missing something. When I reviewed it, I put it all in order. Only then did this issue shine. This "Memento"-inspired issue (if you haven't seen the movie, I strongly recommend that you do) tells a great story. With Zod, we are seeing a villain that can truly hurt Superman, both physically and emotionally. He is something akin to Luthor crossed with Doomsday; cold and calculating but with the strength to attack Superman directly. It's quite the plot twist to see Superman hesitating, and hiding, to avoid his neo-nemesis. The next showdown with Zod will definitely be an event. Plus, we get an issue full of Bizarro, which is always a treat. And the "Memento" theme works so well for a Bizarro issue. It may have been a bit confusing, but each time you reread it, it becomes more rewarding. If you didn't like it, try reading my synopsis in scene-order, and then reread the issue from front to back, the story takes on a whole new meaning when you know what is going on, but are watching it backwards. I liked it. It was something different, and that is almost always a good thing.

2Art - 2: However, just because the story went in a backwards direction does not mean that the quality of the art should do the same. I really miss Kano. This style really doesn't do anything for me, and that's a big understatement. It's clumsy and cluttered, and Superman/Clark's face just looks dumb. This book needs a better artistic style. Nothing against Rouleau, his art is fine, but it's not for Superman. We need something bolder, something like McGuinness or Kano or Jurgens. Something that screams "Super", not this.

4Cover Art - 4: McGuinness. If you are familiar with my reviews, then that's really all I have to say. It's bright and it's bold and it's the antithesis of everything the interior art is. Plus, McGuinness does a great Bizarro. I only had one problem with this cover, the background. Or rather, the complete lack of it. However, considering it was only supposed to be a portrait of Bizarro it's not that bad, but they still could have put something better than a shaded backdrop. Still, I loved the cover, so it doesn't hurt it too much. But that little bit keeps it from a five.

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Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2002

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