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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #842

Action Comics #842

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 30, 2006

Cover date: October 2006

Writer: Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza
Penciller: Pete Woods
Inker: Pete Woods


Reviewed by: Nick Newman

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Around the world, people watch as the Auctioneer towers over the Golden Gate Bridge. Superman tries to get his attention, and finally resorts to destroying his microphone. The Auctioneer is shocked to find a Kryptonian, but then a search of Earth turns up two other Kryptonians as well. Superman wonders who the third could be, when the Auctioneer captures him. Across the world, other heroes and villains also disappear. In Washington, the army debates whether they are better off without the metahumans, but one man says that they need Superman.

Superman finds himself trapped with dozens of other heroes, unable to use any of his powers to free himself. Elsewhere in the ship, Firestorm and Nightwing break in. As soon as they are inside, Firestorm loses his powers, and the two proceed on together. They find Superman just as his cell explodes. Superman and the other five freed metahumans join with Nightwing and Firestorm. They then get attacked by a group of drones, and they dispatch them quickly.

Nightwing hacks into a computer and they use it to broadcast to the world. Reaching Mister Terrific, Superman learns what they have to do. They need to get past a power core in order to get to the machine that is disrupting their powers. Once past, whoever goes will get their powers back, but they will have to time the shut down of the power core exactly to allow passage.

The heroes begin to debate how else they can deal with the problem, but Superman knows he has to do it. He tells them to get ready to deactivate the core, and he jumps off into freefall.

3Story - 3: I'm not going to be as critical of this issue as Neal was of last month's. Busiek, while not as great as he was when teamed with Johns, still produces a decent story. Sure the Auctioneer is kind of corny, but I can live with that.

I am loving the other heroes in this book though. I could do without some of them, but it's fantastic seeing Nightwing and Firestorm in here, and the little bit with the new Aquaman was nice as well. I particularly liked that Firestorm's hair extinguished when he lost his powers (although I was a little confused that he didn't revert back to his human form too).

That aside though, this issue was just very average. I'm still not buying the world's distrust of Superman. It just seems so forced, to have Metropolis accept him but the rest of the world instantly think he's a fake. I'm just hoping this gets resolved next issue and we won't need to deal with it anymore.

I'll admit, seeing a powerless Superman hurl himself over a ledge was kind of entertaining, but I really don't think it's that impressive, given that all they need to do is count to fifteen and then flip a switch.

When I first heard that Busiek was coming on the books I got nervous. His JLA was horrible, but his work with Johns was great and I thought I'd been wrong. Now I'm not so sure. Maybe he'll be better once he's only doing one title, but I'm not holding my breath. Instead, I'm just looking forward to Johns and Donner.

5Art - 5: The art, on the other hand, has remained excellent. Woods has been consistently great even his Superman, while not my favorite, has a very nice look to him. The final page of Superman in freefall was just beautiful, and he drew a solid Nightwing and Firestorm as well.

4Cover Art - 4: At first I really didn't like these covers, but they've grown on me slightly. I like the unified look for the arc, and while I hate conversation on bubbles, I can deal with other text. I also feel like it works well with the whole Superman isn't actually Superman storyline, as well as the advertising of the Auctioneer's stuff. Plus, the art is just great. I love Gibbons' work.

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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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