Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #812

Action Comics #812

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 11, 2004

Cover date: April 2004

Writer: Joe Kelly and Michael Turner
Penciller: Talent Caldwell
Inker: Jason Gorder

"Godfall" - Part One: "Hope"

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

Kal-El of Krypton, with a silver S shield on the back of his cape for his red outfit, muses what it is like to fly, as he leaps high into the air on a Kryptonian version of a motorcycle.

Below him stretches the Kryptonian landscape.

He muses about his job, and how tiring it is to think about bills and rent and working, how he wishes there was something better.

At his home, he fails miserably cooking, and his wife, Lyla, a woman with very few clothes and long purple hair, asks him for help getting out of the shower.

He does, and she consoles him for their debt, blaming it on herself and being an alien (She has tattoos all over her body.).

Lyla heads off, and Clark meets her outside, telling her he'll do his best to cheer up. A young boy, Kon-Lar, plays with a small slug creature named Splat, throwing it at Kal. Kal gives it back to him, and the planet tremors.

Kal screams at them to head into the house, and starts moving to save them when they all realize it's just the normal planetary tremors caused by the terraforge, Jor-El's project which stabilized the planet before he died.

Later, on the road again, Kal muses over being a low level government goon, when a bunch of terrorists attack him on his bike and try to kill him.

The terrorists believe that Krypton has a harsh policy towards aliens. They keep slamming into him, and Kal dodges as best as he can.

He kicks the foot brakes for the cycle on one, who flies up into the air.

Suddenly, yellow sun comes from the sky and hits Kal. He is suddenly empowered, and he hits one of the goons almost accidentally with heat vision. The goons scatter.

Clark wonders what's happening to him.

4Story - 4: Aha! Now I know why they killed the page numbers! They thought that we wouldn't notice this was only sixteen pages long! But that aside, most things are on target.

It's Return to Krypton 3, sure, but at least it's a more interesting and less cheesy Krypton, the characters are real, and there is a reason for this that did happen in the last issue. My guess is that it's continuity, but don't hold me to that...

There is a little bit too much extrapolation and introduction, but that's necessary for the first issue of an arc. I really wish I knew why it had to be so short, and why the goons were after a low-level clerk to prove a point. But there's also the issue of the tremor regulator, how Jor saved the planet, etcetera. This is an interesting story so far, albeit brief.

I'm not sure if I buy the sunlight coming down from nowhere and hitting just Kal, so if it's not revealed that it was purposeful, I will probably be livid later. The real question I have is whether that much sunlight might really power up Kal that much. I'd say no, because it was a brief moment in the heat of battle, and he's still on Krypton, where, after all, he's mostly a regular Joe. BUT, it worked out. I'll suspend disbelief. It's really cool so far.

The REAL question is what I base my review on. See, 3 is average. So if I judge by the average last six months, this comic is an 8. If I go by my overall Superman experience, which I am, I'll say 4. But bear in mind, given the really bad comics of late in certain books, I'll say this one's a 5.

5Art - 5: Fantastic. Absolutely beautiful. Reminds me of some of the great work I saw on the first few new Thundercats issues, and it's very well done. My only complaint is that there are 4 (out of 16) pages of blatant poses, and that kind of stuff, while common to most "body" artists, I'll say, gets a little old. Especially when the main character, thusfar, is not captivating enough to be dramatic.

Kal, for instance, on the last page, standing and regarding for the to be continued. That's a whole wasted page there!

The jump on the bike was okay, and cool.

And Lyla. Well, okay. We really needed to sex up the Superman books, right? Well, no. They're for kids. But all right. This guy can draw cool women. Problem is, that sold every book under the sun in the 90s, now it's cliched, awkward, and unnecessary, unless the book is called LYLA. Cause I know some of you guys buy the books just for the hot chicks. Nothing wrong with that. It's just this is Superman, not HOT CHICK monthly.

Did I just complain about a hot chick? I retract.

It's just... anyone know what I mean?

4Cover Art - 4: Very red. Very pensive. But get this:

It covers material in the issue.

The pose is dynamic.

It's metaphorical, with Superman in the background.

It's got words. eh.

It's got the bad logos. eh.

But for the most part, a really GREAT cover. I am pleased. Though he does have Mickey Mouse hand, covered in metal.

"My Heart"

Writer: Chuck Austen
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Marc Campos

Lana, at the Kent farm, visits with Martha.

Martha tells her how Clark wouldn't go to school, and she ran over and hugged him and made him want to stay. She tells Lana she figured they would end up married.

Lana realizes she might have had the chance, and remembers kissing Clark.

Lana tells Martha she didn't believe that Clark would actually leave, but he did, and now that she has a divorce from Pete, she's moving to Metropolis, finally. Martha wonders if she's moving to be near Clark. Lana's eyes narrow.

Lana wonders if he hates her, and Martha tells her they love Lois and they love her. She wonders if they love Lois as much as they love her. Martha's eyes narrow.

Lana explains that it was a joke, and Martha explains they love the both of them differently.

Lana asks about raising Clark, and Jonathan arrives from outside, calling the experience amazing.

She talks about Pete, and how it always seemed like a competition between Pete and Clark for Lana.

Jonathan asks if she left Pete for Clark. She says that Pete thinks she did, and that's what he's suing for custody in the divorce. Jonathan asks if he's right, and Lana responds with a rhetorical answer... who could not love Clark?

5Story - 5: Okay, it takes away from the space allotted to the real issue, but it allows for something that's been missing for a while now: Character. And the first story did too, for the most part.

Here we see at least a reason, through words, of why Lana's been wonky for a year or two, and why she left Pete, which I thought we'd never directly learn. It makes me hold contempt for her character, because she has a kid, and had a kid consciously, when she knew she still loved Clark, and hey, she's destabilizing the US by making the Vice-President (and possibly soon to be the President) Pete Ross go through a nasty divorce, but hey, I guess you can call that a girl's prerogative.

Still, the characterization here was wonderful. Ma and Pa were spot-on, and Lana was a great jilted lover. I think this continuity, this memory that little Clark actually exists, is enough to start justifying Lana putting the moves on Clark again, if that's where they're headed. If they are, and Clark falls for it, I'll be all over it, because Lois is a far better girl than Lana, though Lana has the home charm. I'll stand by that in later reviews. This is just the warm-up, I'm guessing.

Good stuff, too, at that.

5Art - 5: Though Ma and Pa look about 40 years younger, we can let that slip, they're so well rendered. And Lana, Lana's hot. How you make a character hot in all of her clothes in a mostly dialogue piece... well, that's beyond me, but they managed it.

I hope this guy gets a regular Superman gig, because he's good. Particularly the ending was great.

I knew I liked his work back when I saw it in the "Ask Eddie Fan Forum" on this website, pencilled, but now I'm convinced.

Bold new era, folks... let's hope they can roll with it!

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

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