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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Action Comics #874

Action Comics #874

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 11, 2009

Cover date: April 2009


Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Pablo Raimondi
Inker: Pablo Raimondi and Walden Wong
Cover: Aaron Lopresti

Back-Up Story: Origins and Omens - "The Guardian"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Renato Guedes
Inker: Jose Wilson Magalhaes

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Superman is enraged!

Zod, Ursa and Non are free... oddly however the New Kryptonians subdue him and stand at Zod's side... Alura was telling the truth - Zod is head of the Kryptonian army and pardoned for his sins.

Ursa shifts suspicion in Superman's direction, pointing out that since he started sniffing around the bottled cities Brainiac's ship have vanished. They had paid for their crimes - more so than any Earth justice system have sentenced them. Perhaps Superman was the one here to cause problems?

Superman is taken aback and swears he did not steal the ship of cities and is even more surprised when Alura softens. Looking around he sees the distrust in his people and offers to leave, but only after a few questions and Alura grants him that.

He asks about Kara, and Alura is short with an answer. He than asks about his son Chris to which Zod points out Lor-Zod is none of his concern any longer.

Alura points out though he may see animosity, every single one of the New Kryptonians know they owe their very lives to him, and she hopes one day he'll renounce Earth and return to his family and reclaim his birthright.

Superman takes one last look around and agrees to ponder the offer to stay. Even Zod points out that though once upon a time he would have crushed Superman in a heartbeat, he too hopes what is left of Krypton can be whole once more. Ursa shrugs of the sentimentality and points out they still have a theft to deal with - if it wasn't the son of Jor-El - who was it?

Lex and Superwoman present General Lane with a gift - Brainiac's ship! In its new home... in bunker 7734.

7734 is on Jimmy Olsen's mind too, he cant crack the code of this impossible clue. Enter Steve Lombard and his larger than life abrasive personality. He grins that the code is a stupid pocket calculator gimmick that every child the world over knows.

Seeing Jimmy utterly bewildered, Steve cracks the code 7734 is HELL.

Elsewhere Lois and Clark have a heart to heart and head to the Fortress of Solitude just missing a news broadcast. Other than Superman, all Kryptonians are now banned from Earth! When Nightwing and Flamebird hear this they realize time is against their mission.

Meanwhile Clark is showing Lois around the Fortress pointing out it is a 'perfect' shrine, infallible and ultimately a rose-tinted idealized reflection of real life. Clark talks of his suspicions and despite Lois interjecting that Zod was pardoned, Clark still believes Zod is evil and plotting something...

Before they can discuss it more Mon-El calls for help through a Phantom Zone portal.

Mon begs for Superman to release him from the Zone... as it's somehow being shut down killing off all its residents. Even knowing he will die from lead poisoning he begs to spend his last living minutes in the arms of his brother. Superman wrestles with assisting Mon-El's suicide or allowing him to be murdered... ultimately he chooses to pull Mon out of the Zone and is able to do so with milliseconds to spare.

Echoing his father's death Superman holds his dying brother...

To Be Continued...

BACK-UP STORY: Origins and Omens - "The Guardian"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Renato Guedes
Inker: Jose Wilson Magalhaes

Continuing from Adventure Comics #0, Scar continues to read from the Black Book and sees someone relevant to the future... Jim Harper, The Guardian. Scar recounts his origin while at the same time Jim and the duty SciPol are mustering ready for a mission.

It's Winslow Schott's birthday and he always gives Metropolis a 'present' of some kind and Guardian wants them ready for action.

As it turns out Jim was right and a rampaging android bear smashes through the city causing untold damage. The SciPol are successful in saving the day and curiously it sets Jim also to recount his origins. Scar and Jim's thoughts converge on Gwen Harper.

Suddenly omens of the future appear before Scar.

A meeting with legionnaires... joining forces with Flamebird and Nightwing... the destruction of SciPol... and the death of Gwen...

And because Scar sees it so, it WILL happen unless something changes...

4Story - 4: A lot of character driven writing this issue, all extremely thought provoking. I know a lot of you aren't really sold on 'Non Johns' books, several critics included, but James Robinson has added a LOT more depth to the New Krypton story that would otherwise be overlooked. I have nothing against sheeple following a particular writer but a lot of the storytelling is being overshadowed by the overall 'event' that they keep forcing on us.

See I can be controversial too, I mean we're not learning anything really are we? We followed Grant Morrison into the drug induced Final Crisis just because All Star Superman was quirky. Before the wolves dash for my jugular - we also followed Kurt Busiek into Trinity... nuff said.

The feasibility of Clark leaving Lois to expose Zod and find his son is clearly established and makes a lot of sense rather than the vague press release we were served a few months ago about Superman vacating his titles. It feels natural that the investigative journalist in this talented journalist would drive him to reveal the truth. I'm also glad Lois seems to encourage him - I'd rather she didn't go all 'Peter Parker' on a slippery slope to misery.

The theft of Brainiac's ship could have been played up more by Superwoman and Lex in their blink and you'll miss it cameo though I'm guessing the 'Who Is Superwoman' storyline will explore that more.

I'm intrigued by Jimmy's cameo also, I really want to see what he does with 7734 and if he'll have a bigger role to play.

I'm curious to find out who shut down the Zone and how they did it, it was my understanding it was a place... not a 'thing' that could be activated and deactivated... And that leads into the end of Clark's half brother; the rescue/death sentence of Mon-El was heart wrenching... kill him or let him be killed... given what he just had to go through with Pa, I couldn't begin to imagine being put in the euthanasia position.

I'm wondering when Mon is temporarily cured - I say when though I'm not sure he'll make it to the current Legion now their future is in the balance... as Mon looks like Clark - will he become Clark in his absence? The awkwardness and dorky behavior worked for Matrix once upon a time... so I could see Mon masquerading...

To end this review I'd like to state that as a comic reader I DID NOT appreciate the in-story advertisements. That was just absolutely disgusting on DC's part and a slap in the face to the creative team let alone the reader.

I knocked a point off for that.

3Art - 3: Rollercoaster art is never fun to look at and the way the stylistics changed throughout made it hard to concentrate. The character designs seemed uncomfortable and some of the close ups to convey emotion lost that impact because of this. The art didn't seem to suit the book or the story...

3Back-Up Story - 3: I hate that the foreseeable future has already been 'written'. It's like enforcing a spoiler upon us and that's a shame because if it comes to pass it spoils the Guardian character or at least the enjoyment of his future storylines. I only hope this is a glimpse into 'possible' futures in the time line - it does make Adventure Comics very enticing to me I'll admit, but it also leaves me a little sad that Guardian's character is destined for eternal doom and gloom.

4Back-Up Art - 4: Now this hit the mark. When you have a giant teddy attacking a city and you can make it look like a credible threat rather than an escapee from the Super Friends comic then you know you've got something there. Guardian looks majestic shield surfing across the skyline.

3Cover Art - 3: Aaron Lopresti serves up a 'run of the mill' cover. His work over in Wonder Woman was nothing short of spectacular and after reading the interior this just doesn't register on the 'holy crap!' scale. But on initial appearance anything is better than the yawnfest the painted covers have been this past year.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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