"Back in Action Part 3: All-Out Action"
Writers: Kurt Busiek (script/plot), Fabian Nicieza (plot)
Artists: Pete Woods (art), Brad Anderson (colorist)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Superman regains his powers (which were never really gone) and soon realizes that he and the other metahumans that were taken with him are on a space ship in Saturn's orbit. He quickly forms a plan that gets the attention of the Auctioneer and brings the giant alien to him.
Commentary: The best way I can describe this issue is the feel good Superman story of the year.
Seriously, Superman is getting so much love in this issue that it almost makes me forget the fact that just a year ago the Superman books, while entertaining and engaging, were hip deep in a Superman who had lost his way. It's interesting to see but since this has been the norm for the past six months or so I'm pretty much used to it again.
While the wrap up may have been a little abrupt, it almost had to be. Busiek and Nicieza had three issues with which to tell this story so things had to move quickly. Despite this, the writers managed to cram a lot of that graham into the final chapter. The opening was fantastic, and as geeky as it may sound, I could almost here the Williams' theme as Superman flew out of the pit. This is the Superman I like to see, a man who takes charge and lays it on the line for the greater good. I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that the powers of Superman's little strike force weren't really gone, but it didn't make me want to take a hostage either. Some things you just have to let go when the story is chugging along nicely.
I was also pleased to see that the guest stars got some quality screen time as well. As much as this story was about Superman having to prove himself in the eyes of the world all over again, it was also about how the super powered community acted towards his recent comeback. I even liked Livewire, and that is saying something because I freaking hate (capital "H" hate) that character. Maybe it had something to do with her not acting like a whiny, spoiled brat in this issue, who knows? The new Aquaman also got some street cred, though not enough to make me want to pick his book up again. One of the many reasons I dug this particular arc was the characters the writers chose to use and this final chapter didn't disappoint.
I also liked the antagonist. He had a bit of Magna Khan in him, but not in an over the top way. There is obviously an ego there, but not too much and certainly not played mainly for laughs. The fact that Superman was able to outmaneuver him made the story stronger because it balanced the pure power of Superman and crew causing the wreckage aboard the ship they were teleported to. Overall, he wasn't really a villain, just a giant of sorts that caused some trouble, which is why I chose the term antagonist.
I know, how seventh grade English class of me.
In The End: I absolutely dug the cover to this month's issue. The tabloid headlines have been amusing but this one actually made me laugh. Between that, the way the ending played out, the sly allusions to future storylines and the fact that there was a cameo by an obscure villain from the past (the poorly named Amalak), I had almost no complaints about this issue. Pete Woods' art continues to impress, and he executed the alien locations and large cast of character nicely. Sure next issue is a huge deal with Donner, Johns and Kubert coming on to the book, but this story was a lot of fun and proved to be more than a filler story until the supposed event comes out.
What did you think of this book?
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