Current Reviews


Action Comics #855

Posted: Monday, September 3, 2007
By: Chris Murman

Writer: Geoff Johns and Richard Donner
Artist(s): Eric Powell

Publisher: DC Comics

I originally started this review off by talking about how when you are spoiled by greatness, you expect it all the time. Instead, Iíd just rather get into it because, letís face it, you get enough clichťs from the comics you read every week. This review is about one such book, so letís not get all pretentious about ourselves here.

The only saving grace for the opening issue of the newest arc from DCís superstar writing duo is the cliffhanger at the end. There seems to be something amiss with our favorite backwards-talking Superclone, and Iím strangely interested in what will come of it.

In a perfect example of how convoluted DC continuity is, Bizarro has been something for writers to play with. Honestly, I donít know if we are still dealing with the same Bizarro that Joker created back during Emperor Joker, or if this is the original Htrae inhabitant that was created from the duplication ray back in 1958. The reason I would love clarification is because I would love to know why he thinks Jonathan Kent is his father. Has he always thought that?

I wouldnít blame the writers for coming up with this idea, mind you. In perfect reasoning, Pa Kent could be the ďrealĒ father for Big B in his backwards Fortress of Solitude, just as Jor-El rests in Clarkís place on Earth. This just seems like the kind of thing that would have been addressed previously in comics. Depending on which version of the gray-skinned creature you subscribe to, this dude has been around for nearly 50 years. Nobody thought of this before?

Of course, this idea that his real father is Supesí adoptive father had to come from somewhere. If there is no explanation as to why Number One would feel this way, are we just supposed to accept this notion as DCU fact? While Iím on continuity, when does this story take place in the timeline of our current Post-Crisis Superman? We last saw our boy in blue being pummeled by an army of Kryptonians that were recently released from the Phantom Zone. Surely Iím not alone in asking for a quick editorís note.

Look, Iím actually pretty high on the Johns/Donner/Kubert team that brought us the Last Son story line. It was really well done, and they could have stretched it out into 12 months of some of the best Spit Curl books weíve seen in quite some time. Sadly, Adam isnít capable of keeping up with that kind of work load, so we were robbed of potentially one of the best Superman stories ever. I just felt as if the first issues from Geoff and his mentor were brushed aside without any acknowledgement.

With that rant out of the way, letís go on with the issue at hand. Sadly, the rest of the story didnít give me anything different than Grant Morrison did in All-Star Superman. Strangely, Clark comes off as kind of a prick in this issue when he lands on Htrae. He just moseys up to people, pounding them without explanation, then outs Bizarro to the people he tries to protect. He even sends the woman he loves running in the other direction. For the first time in I donít know when, Bizarro looked hurt. Htraeís hero of course is quite angry at Superman for wrecking his gig on his home world, and how does Clark respond? By telling him that heís had enough of Bizarroís schtick. Dude, youíre the one who messed up! By charging in blindly, fists first, he not only endangers his adoptive father, but just doesnít act very heroic.

I havenít mentioned Powellís pencils because I am not the biggest fan of his Goon work, but his take on the Man of Steel was nice. There was certainly a Silver Age look to the book before it turned backwards on Htrae, and I think I liked that work better than the beginning of the book. Great choice of artist for this arc, itís just not enough to make a medioce story better.

I honestly donít know what is in store for the other two issues of this arc, but surely they canít be this head scratching, can they? Iím sure at some point the backwards JLA will show up, and somehow Clark will save the day. I will feel seriously let down if the Pa Kent questions arenít answered, and the rest of the story probably wonít make up for it.

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