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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics Annual #10

Action Comics Annual #10

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 7, 2007

Cover date: 2007

Neal Bailey Reviewed by: Neal Bailey

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"The Many Deaths of Superman"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Art Adams

Lex Luthor goes through the varying ways of killing Superman, taking glee in imagining his eventual success.

5Story - 5: It's hard not to mark this as a bit hokey, because it is, but in the end, this is just a solid romp of Luthor gloating over how to kill Superman, and out of context of a story, it's just a hoot. I know, that too makes me sound ancient, but I can point to this and get emails off my back, number one, and number too, it's a lot of fun for me to check out too.

5Art - 5: Richly detailed and beautiful, this art is incredibly unique and original, especially given the odd format of a multi-story feature it's been placed into. Great work.

"Who is Clark Kent's Big Brother?"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Eric Wight

We are told the classic story of Mon-El, the Daxamite who comes to Earth, meets Clark in Smallville, and is sent to the Phantom Zone for safety as a result of lead poisoning, with Superman promising to eventually heal him. (Lead is lethal to Daxamites).

5Story - 3: Plot: 1 of 5 in continuity, 5 of 5 notwithstanding.

Which is how it will remain until they decide whether they want to have their cake or eat it, with me.

This story basically indicates that Byrne is gone. Clark no longer plays football, because he's broken Pete's arm in three places. He also essentially works as Superboy, and has his powers at fourteen. He has the underground tunnel. He's a nerdlet that the jocks pick on as opposed to a man who stands on his own and had a human likfe before being Superman.

I hate that compared to Byrne, I do. If they're picking and choosing, that's one of the worst directions to take Superman continuity.

I also resent not knowing what's up with continuity yet. It hurts this story.

Out of context, just as a story, it's fantastic. It's also a story that's already been done, however, so it's essentially just retelling someone else's does that deserve as much credit?

Either way, I enjoyed it when I wasn't tweaking over the continuity. I love the idea of Daxamites, I like the potential of Mon-El, and I want to know what's behind Smallville and the "super boy." If this is supposed to answer all of those questions, if this is all they refer to, lame, lame, lame, lame, lame, because that's just essentially using an old story to jack up a potential cool new story promised by the indicated dialogue and story in the main books.

So what is it, guys, are we just wholly back to Silver Age now? What's the deal?

Can anyone indicate how, in any way, we're NOT Silver Age? Citing continuity would help, but then, since all continuity is in flux, how are we not where we were back then? Superman has regressed, and this comic is a sign of that.

But the story is still good, and this comic is a sign of that, too. So both ratings apply.

5Art - 5: Very subdued, but it captures the essences of the characters involved quite well, especially the emotion. The colorist did great work here too. Exemplary.

"Mystery Under the Blue Sun"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Joe Kubert

Thanagarians encounter Bizarro World. Bizarros come out and destroy them.

4Story - 4: Brief, but to the point. I like the idea of Bizarro World, and I'm glad they're bringing it back. It doesn't fit in current continuity very well, and will take some explaining, but I'm looking forward to seeing how it's done.

2Art - 2: Pretty grainy and almost roughshod, not my particular style. It conveys the story, I'll give it that, but it seems out of place somehow. Too brief to be fairly judged, though.

"The Criminals of Krypton"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Rags Morales and Mark Farmer

Zod, Non, and Ursa are given a backstory and a rationale for their imprisonment, where Non is revealed to have been akin to Jor-El, only they lobotomized him for trying to save the society, and Zod a murderer who cons Non into aiding him.

5Story - 5: Now THIS is what should have been out a month ago, and been this issue. Back story for the issue at hand, and a great one at that. Re-imagining Non as a sympathetic former genius is brilliant, I love it.

I'm really revved up for the next issue now.

If only they'd ever release it. This brings up an issue I was going to bring up anyway, so might as well do it here.

An annual is not an annual if it takes the place of an issue in sequence. Then it's an extra-sized issue.

If it doesn't add to the ongoing story, it should be under a different title, or in an annual, but, like I said, an annual has to be in addition to the regular issue to justify it. Of all of these stories, only this one contributed to the ongoing.

That's just my take. I'm sick of waiting. The story is great, but I'm just sick and tired of waiting. Adam's art is incredible. The writing is second-to-none. There's no questioning that. But there's no excuse for not putting out a timely comic book I can accept, not with so many people vying to do just that. Not with the demand. It only fuels the argument that comics are an elitist, snobbish form of art, more and more so by the year. Both the fans and the creators.

It's becoming more about who's writing it than if it even appears, and in the end, it's just as hit and miss as it ever was, only later.

For the cost to utility ratio, that needs to end, or hello dinosaurs comics, and hello dinosaurs DC. Period. Even we geeks grow up and beyond this %#$@ eventually.

5Art - 5: Beautiful, complimentary to the awesome story. All of the characters are very distinctive, Rags is so good at that. You can tell it's him, too, without even looking at the credit, his work is so his own. I really enjoy seeing almost anything he does.

"The Deadliest Forms of Kryptonite"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Gary Frank and Jonathan Sibal

Luthor explains the many colored Kryptonite types to Metallo, as he installs them into his new Kryptonite heart, starting his new revenge squad.

5Story - 5: Awesome idea, awesome concept, awesome execution. The only objection I have is that I LOATHE the idea of Gold K. It's one of those storylines you can't get out of without an extraordinary trick that generally hasn't been done well in similar circumstances. I trust Geoff though, and want to see where he goes with it.

What gets me is that it seems like another "LUTHOR KNOWS!"

Meaning, Lex Luthor sat on knowing Superman's secret identity and didn't do anything with it for most of a yeah. Luthor wouldn't do that, so it completely ruined the suspense. NOW, Luthor has had Gold K for most of a year, and he hasn't used it, so if they don't jump on it soon, it'll be just like that. But it's a plotline, like the aforementioned, that has to just be tricked out and cheated. I'm still very eager, though, and this passage excited me about it quite a bit.

5Art - 5: The art complimented the story, and was ten degrees of awesome, right down to the K in Luthor's eyes and the design of the new heart. Good stuff.

"Secrets of the Fortress of Solitude"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning

Superman's Fortress, basically explained.

3Feature - 3: Half of this is totally awesome, half of it belongs in All-Star and not in this continuity. Superman has a super-science lab where he tries to fix up Kandor? He keeps standees of all his friends around? He has the interplanetary zoo all of a sudden? When did he get it?

He has a Phantom Zone Projector, and seemingly always has? That would have been handy in any number of situations. Amazing. It's like Luthor's K-web he had "at the beginning" and then never used despite it being ret-conned in.

This feature's awesomeness of scope and idea is outweighed by the fact that it draws sharp attention to the continuity's internal inconsistencies that are only being aggravated by being further spiraled outward instead of explained.

5Art - 5: Beautiful rendition of the fortress. I enjoy it more than I did the five page spread of the batcave, honestly. It gets the point across more simply, and it's incredible.

"Superman's Top 10 Most Wanted"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Tony Daniel

A profile of ten Superman villains.

5Feature - 1: GAH! Let's rub some more salt into the continuity wound, huh?

Parasite is just back to life, huh? Goodbye, awesome Rucka storyline, apparently you didn't make the cut, somehow, even though you were what, two years ago? And hey, for that matter, even Loeb's story doesn't make the cut, does it, with this telling?

Hello, Toyman. Didn't you die? Oh yeah, guess that didn't happen now. And you look like you did before you slaughtered Adam. But did you, in this continuity? It says you did, but this obviously isn't that continuity. Might be a bit confusing there. Yeah.

And if you read this, now Bizarro is apparently a clone of Superman again.


I mean, post-Crisis, there have been three Bizarros. The first Teng Bizarro, the second Teng Bizarro, and then the one from Superman Forever. THEN, the clone Bizarros are all dead, forever amen, etcetera de facto. Loeb steps in, brings in a magical Bizarro created in the mind of the Joker, it escapes into the real world.

Now THAT Bizarro is a clone? Or erased? What the @$#%? Come on, guys, I'll be your continuity editor for free. This is bloody inexcusable. It's rank amateur crap. This is not niggling detail stuff from a guy who's read comics since 1960. I've been around this stuff fifteen years, yeah, but the comics I refer to are LESS THAN FIVE YEARS OLD. Come ON!

1Art - 1: My opinion of the words might have biased this, but all of these guys seem to have the same Jim Lee eterna-frown on, and the poses are not over-dynamic. Mxy looks like a homicidal maniac, and he's not. Same with Toyman, or is he? Meh. Forget it.

4Cover Art - 4: I'm a sucker for these kind of covers because they remind me of what got me hooked into Superman in the first place. Is the art especially provocative? Nah, not really, but half of what makes a cover great is how it makes you feel. This reminds me of being a kid. It probably won't work for others, but I like it.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2007

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Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2007.