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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #833

Action Comics #833

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 9, 2005

Cover date: January 2006

Writer: Gail Simone
Penciller: John Byrne
Inker: Nelson, Norm Rapmund, and Lary Stucker


Reviewed by: Nick Newman

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Lois tries to investigate down at the waterfront, but the fishermen make it clear they don't want her poking around. As she walks away one of Congressman Shephard's goons asks her to talk with him. She reluctantly goes with him.

In the Pacific Ocean, two researchers study the depths in a small sub when one believes she sees a mermaid. Suddenly, something hits their craft hard and their hull begins to buckle. The "mermaid" swims away, a monster with the face of a woman. Superman zips across the country, arriving on the scene and diving down into the ocean. He tries to repair the craft, before telling the two researchers to brace themselves. He pulls the craft to the surface as the woman watches.

Coming to the surface, she transforms an entire crew of sailor into marionettes and demands to know where Superman headed. As she adopts a human form, she destroys the ship and heads towards land.

Superman runs into Jimmy and Mr. Shuman at the hospital, and Mr. Shuman asks Superman if he'll come for dinner. Kal tries to resist, but finally agrees to do what he can. Suddenly, the woman appears and with a wave Superman finds himself in armor amid a medieval setting.

The woman appears in the sky and introduces herself as the Queen of Fables. She tells Superman how his "wife" Snow White, tortured her. Before Superman can do anything else, he needs to save Jimmy from an ogre. After besting the giant and a werewolf, the Queen appears again. He tells her that he will fight her, and she tells him that he will lose as the world returns to normal.

The limo pulls into the dump and Lois finally decides to take action, stabbing one of her captors. Running out into the piles of garbage, Lois sees a car approaching. It's one of her co-workers, Willis, but before she can get into the car, Willis shoots twice with a revolver.

2Story - 2: Now I'll admit, I came into this story biased against it. I didn't like the Queen of Fables when Waid wrote her, and I definitely don't like her when Simone writes her either. Magic is just such a cop-out for a decent Superman story, especially when it's done poorly. And this was certainly done poorly.

The problem with magic in Superman is that it's pointless. Superman has no more chance against the Queen than you or I do. If she is powerful enough to completely alter reality, then Clark has no chance against her, and a completely futile situation does not make for a compelling story. Plus, making Kal into a knight is just so cliché.

That aside, there were a few nice parts to this issue. It's still good to see Lois actually being a reporter, even if she isn't going about it very well. I also question why she went along with the goons at all, but at least we saw her mess the guy up a little. Seeing more Jimmy is nice too, although this Shuman thing is very awkward. I don't really see the purpose for his character.

Overall, this was just another boring issue from Simone.

3Art - 3: I feel like Byrne is getting back into the swing of Superman slowly. His Superman has improved and the Queen actually looks decent, something rare for his women. Lois continues to look poor though, and Jimmy is completely out of proportion. I do need to comment on the cross-country flight page. I really like this page, and give credit both to Byrne and to Simone for it. Maybe its filler, but I really enjoyed it, and it reminded me of the late-80s Superman that Byrne excelled at. The panel with Superman coming out of the water was like this too, just a nice scene of Superman being super. I think Byrne's improved over the past seven issues (is that really all it's been?), but I think the best he's going to get is average.

5Cover Art - 5: Despite the poor interior, I really love this cover. Dan Jurgens defined post-Crisis Superman, and will probably always be my favorite Superman artist. Unfortunately, we don't have Brett Breeding inking this, because he brings out the best in Dan's work, but I'll take Jurgens on the book any day. That flowing cape is vintage Jurgens, and brings back great memories. The rest of the image is fantastic as well. Superman versus a dragon (which would have made the issue far better Simone... dragons are cooler than ogres) is a fantastic epic scene. The setting really adds to it as well. Not only is there actually a background, but they're fighting on top of the Planet. At first I thought Superman should have been bigger, but the more I look at it the more I feel that his smaller size is a good thing, making the dragon look larger. It's sad that a great cover like this had to be wasted on such a mundane issue, but at least I got something good for my $2.50.

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

January 2006

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