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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #794

Action Comics #794

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 28, 2002

Cover date: October 2002

Writer: Chuck Kim
Penciller: Kano
Inker: Kano

"Invaders From Space"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey (

Aliens swarm over a major Metropolis, sending people screaming and running for their lives, when suddenly, without mercy, the JSA sweep in and rid the town of the foul menace.

Smallville: 12 years ago.

In the theater, the children cheer, but Clark just looks down. He obviously feels alien.

Outside, Pete taunts Clark for his stodginess, pointing out that no aliens were actually harmed in the making of the film. Clark seems like he would beg to differ.

Up in the ether, Guardian, Zeus, Highfather and the cadre that watch over the universe argue about whether Clark will take over the Earth, whether he must be stopped in the name of humanity. They determine that he must be tested.

Ma consoles Clark just before he slips off to sleep.

The sign outside says blood drive, but inside, Clark is for obvious reasons uneasy. Sure enough, a nurse tries his skin with a needle, and it snaps. He leaves, apologizing. Outside, men whisper that Clark is the one they want. Clark hears them.

At home, he finds a note stating that his parents have been taken.

Pete knocks. Pete gives him a letter from Lana intended for Clark that had been placed on her doorstep. Clark tells Pete to run.

Inside, government agents surround him, and Clark goes quietly. "Clark is an alien?" Pete wonders...

Inside his cage, Clark meets up with a man named Dennis who has no arms or legs, also a captive. They cut his limbs off to stop him from struggling, and Clark is told he is next.

The door opens, and men tell him that it's time for some tests.

Clark breaks out, releasing his mother and father and Lana. He grabs Dennis and tells his family to wait while he clears an escape.

But at the doorway, the JSA wait to stop him.

They knock Clark out of the prison and into the forest. Pa Kent shoots at the JSA assailants with a gun. Dennis uses his telepathy to knock Phantom Lady out of the fight.

The JSA gang up on Clark like thugs and start beating him mercilessly.

Dennis tries to help, but Flash knocks him out.

The JSA move towards Clark's family. Clark rises, knocking them all about. Pete runs in and starts calling Clark an alien. He calls Lana a traitor, brainwashed.

The woods catch fire, and Dennis is trapped within. He tells Clark to is his chance. But Clark refuses, saying that if he doesn't save Dennis, he really is the monster alien that they've made him out to be.

Pete puts his arm on Clark's shoulder, telling him that he's seen enough.

Clark wakes from his dream. Those above are pleased, thinking he will male a great Superman someday.

1Story - 1: Well, now we know that Superman is approximately 30. Whoops. You're not supposed to give out Superman's age, right? Just a general time period? There goes continuity. Not like we have any left anyway.

The story, on a whole, was rather basic and designed for one issue. It's one of those character building comics that doesn't really tell us anything that we don't already know about the Man of Steel and how he would react in any given situation. Please.

I mean, we have, to put it briefly: Mongul, Darkseid, Joker, Doomsday, Cyborg, Solomon Grundy, Batman, Imperiex, Brainiac 13, Lobo, Lex Luthor (that's a big one), Metallo, Toyman, Hope, Mercy, Satanus, and any other number of really cool characters to try their mettle against Superman in a thought provoking, continuity expanding, fan pleasing manner, and we're cut to the quick with this admittedly well reading and meant piece that really doesn't amount to much to the fan who's been reading for more than half a month.

To recount what this story accomplishes:

Superman was once a troubled youth with many decisions put in front of him, the largest among them being to be a good man or a bad man. Sixty years ago, (though it may be 12 in comic years) he chose to be principled and save the world.

Well, why doesn't someone tell me that Lex Luthor is a bad guy? I didn't know that well enough now, did I? That he had a troubled childhood? Wow! I'm impressed. I could write for comics, now, couldn't I, provided I have a grasp of dialogue, the understanding of the opening page, and the ability to provide an interesting teaser, given that it's needed, which in this issue, because we'll probably see the same kind of issue next week, it evidently is not. Now, if I can write that complex a sentence, and make it coherent, don't you think I could throw Mongul and Grundy around and kick some petutie? Well, that's why I'm not in charge of comics, only the griping about them, I guess.

I said it before, I'll now repeat myself. If the writers are so taxed that they need a break, why not bring in someone who's willing to kick their own...S to get an ish a month out for a year. That's 30-60, if you want to be generous, pages a month for a year, which amounts to 1-2 pages a day, or 360-720 a year. I just finished a book that was 400 pages, and it took me six months. And I did it in four hour a week bursts.

I guess I'm being melodramatic here, but I love Superman, I have a hell of a lot I could give to the man, and I am firmly aware that this will likely never occur, so it incenses me, it frankly disturbs me, to see something so revered and something so fought for to work on given off for a break, and allowing it to not go to the most supremely thought out stories in the biz. This was a fun issue, but it accomplished nothing. I'm not saying the writer isn't worth his salt. He did some great dialogue, he set the scene, he conveyed the idea, but the plot was done to death and paper thin proper worthless.

I'm sorry, but I'm sick of this. I give Superman a good 130 bucks a year before toys and specials, and I want more. Something outside of the events.

Castigate me if you will for this feeling, but this issue just snapped something that's been whipping back for almost a year with me.

And now, friends and neighbors, there are rumblings of a RELAUNCH!

Smack me south and call me Krypto. Or Beppo. Or...silver age?

Well, we saw the JSA. At least that was cool.

The dream was obvious, and revealed halfway through the issue when Pete revealed that he knew who Clark was. It killed any suspense.

Clark was just tested, in this same manner, about five issues ago, by the same tribunal. Wow. That's new.

We're taught, in this preachy manner, yet again, not to fear the different. Like with Adventures of Superman #607, which I just reviewed two weeks ago. The message is as dry here as it was there.

Like Time magazine, I will now make a proclamation that will get me yelled at in email, but as it stands, right now, in the comics, SUPERMAN IS DEAD. For the second time. I want a resurrection. But not a relaunch.

Can I get a hallelujah?

3Art - 3: I'm always a Kano fan. I like his work a lot, even if it is a bit cartoonish, at times. In this issue, the colors were very vivid, and I send my kudos to the colorist, Moose Baumann, for all of his work. It's really well done and it sets up the mood. The six panel page is rather repetitively used in this issue, and it kills some of Kano's style, and that knocked down how I looked at this issue a good bit. The art is good, but the format is a bit cramped. I also abhor most splash pages, but the one on 14 is rather nice. A great action pose for the JSA. It's not entirely necessary, but I wouldn't punt it out. It's great looking. All in all, average.

1Cover Art - 1: In Batman, we have a red/blue and white motif at times, and I haven't ever really liked it. Apply that to Superman, add in the crummy new logo, remove a large portion of the background, and bang, we have this. The drawing depicts its subject, sure, but it's not very exciting. Oh, someone's gonna cut Clark with a drill. Sure.

And letters up the side always cheese me. See the ole Last Laugh reviews for further commentary on that one.

And there's always the old standby. This didn't happen in the issue.

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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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