Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #791

Action Comics #791

Scheduled to arrive in stores: May 22, 2002

Cover date: July 2002

Writer: Benjamin Raab
Penciller: Derec Aucoin
Inker: Derec Aucoin

"The Invitation"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

At the Planet, Clark uses heat vision to open an envelope. Lois snatches it, revealing an invitation to be Master of Ceremonies at the Smallville Homecoming.

Superman puts it off, while working on problems around the globe, until the only problem left is beating Plastic Man at checkers.

Superman begs Lois to let Smallville's Homecoming just pass by.

In Smallville, soon later, Martha and Lois chide Clark for failing to avoid the situation amongst themselves. Lois wants to be clued in about what made Clark anxious.

In the past: Kids make fun of a larger (read: fat) girl named Margaret for not having a date to homecoming. Clark says that it isn't right, a little off from the action, and Lana says it's natural to make fun of some people. Clark says that it doesn't make it right.

Pete figures out Clark's going to ask the girl out to Homecoming, and Clark takes off.

At home, Clark suggests his idea. Pa suggests that Lana is a looker, but Ma insists he asks Margaret out.

Clark asks Margaret, who says no, because they'll laugh, it'll be a joke, and besides...she'll be long gone by dance time. Clark looks concerned.

Lana gets mad at Clark the next day, because now she has to go stag. Clark says he did it to be nice, and Margaret hears. She takes off, gets in her car, and drives away. Clark follows in the air.

She stands on a bridge, looking over the edge.

Clark tells her not to jump. Turning to see him, startled, she falls into the river. Clark jumps in and saves her. She tells him she was just looking at the view. What she said when she mentioned that she'll be long gone by dance time, she meant that she was going to an early admissions program at a college.

She takes him up on his invitation after he apologizes.

At the dance, they have a good time, and later are elected the king and queen.

Afterwards, they have a quiet moment together, and Clark flies off, while Margaret goes to check out the view again.

The people who thought that they would be the prom king and queen are driving erratically, and they strike and kill Margaret, who dies in Clarks' arms.

Lois consoles Clark on the same bridge, now, and they go to the dance and have an enjoyable time, because telling Lois has taken the pain away from him.

4Story - 4: First, let me say that I'm truly thankful that they didn't try to mold the Smallville from TV to fit the Smallville depicted in the comic book. That's really, really nice.

This was just an all around good, decent, one-shot story. If we're going to break up the continuity, I'd like more like this. Thinking stuff. Save rock 'em and sock 'em for a more weekly, ongoing battle, huh? I like the fact that a hard issue for people is covered here, and I like that it's done tactfully, and realistically, save with the king and queen bit (see below). I like that Clark actually remembers a failure now and again, and even better, that he has failed. I like Clark whupped on, as evil and sadistic as that sounds, because I like seeing him come out of that with his ideals. All around a great story.

Little problems: Homecoming, last I checked, is in August. Eddie, it wouldn't have been that hard to change it to Prom, would it?

And heat vision in the Daily Planet, when it would be much easier to use a letter opener, and less tiring, if I know my Superman powers, which I do.

Something is wrong with Pa (coughcoughMAYBEALZHEIMERScoughcough), and none of this manifests itself in this issue. Wonderful continuity there, eh? But hey, does continuity sell? No. Right now, Smallville sells. Wasn't that the point of 775 though, that sometimes certain things are more important? Oh well. That was almost twenty months ago now, surely no one remembers that.

Ma and Lois drink before homecoming. We see enough drinking before big dances by minors, so what, it's okay if Lois, believe it or not a model for a lot of American women, as a grownup, has champagne before a dance? I don't know. I just don't like booze. Sorry if that offends everyone. I don't think it was necessary for the scene. Like, I'm sure Lois and Clark slept together during some point in the last 791 issues. But there's a place for that, and not in a medium directed towards kids. Jeeze, I sound like a censor. Please understand, they had every right to do this, and I still support the mag a hundred percent...I just, having had an alcoholic in the family and seeing what it does, felt the need to point that out. Maybe it was orange Kool-Ade. I sound like a big honking republican. Oh well, think of me what you will. I'm just reviewin' here.

And in a perfect world (former fat guy speaking here) the fat girl is elected queen with Clark Kent, because Clark's such a nice guy, and she's so intelligent, but in real life? PLOOOSH! There goes the bucket of pig's blood, and out comes the Carrie. Maybe that's why we read comics, eh? :)

But still, that doesn't destroy the fact that the intent was well, it happened in a pseudo believable way, and this was a better issue than many since Our Worlds at War, so I applaud that.

3Art - 3: While there's plenty of cool motion here, like the panel of Superman landing on page 4, there's also just a kind of weirdness to the characters. They look a bit too plain, I guess. I don't know how to describe it, which makes me feel bad to condemn it, as a reviewer. It just doesn't make sense to me. I'd say they're too human, but that's not a fair criticism, and that's not what it is. Just look at Lois' face, I guess. It doesn't look like Lois to me. Superman looks better, though, and admittedly, the body on Margaret was well done.

I will say that page 11 was cool with the box-y panels broken with Clark flying over them. It made for a real sense of depth.

But...the big Kudos go to Moose Bauman, the colorist. Colorists are little recognized, but look this issue over. Moose, wherever you are, you made this issue for me, and I give you a 5.

4Cover Art - 4: Originally, given the fact that it's almost a cartoon cover, with characters that need an "adventures" after the logo, meaning that they're cartoony, I wanted to give this a 2. But look at it for a bit. I did.

There's something ingenious and hidden in this cover.

An S.

Seeing that, and having the event that occurred somewhat happen in the book, I gave this the grade I did. Excellent. BUT MORE BACKGROUND, or next time I won't be so nice. :)

Oh, and if you count the logo, which I've decided to stop using as a factor (for a typically -2 bias), then I give it a 3. BRING BACK THE OLD LOGOS.

Other recent reviews:

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2002

February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002

Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.

Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2002.