Saturday, November 15, 2008

Review: Action Comics #871

Action Comics #871 was released last week. As part 4 of the 9-part New Krypton storyline, it marks the near mid-point of this super cross-over event.

The issue certainly kept the plot moving forward at a brisk pace with some major action sequences as well. For me it is hard to believe that this story will be wrapped up in just 5 more issues. As it is, in this we are still being introduced to some of the players here. But more on that later.


The issue starts of with two of General Zod's soldiers commenting on the state of Earth, specifically why Kal-El would have stopped Zod from taking over. It is clear they feel they are superior in every way, even casually flying away from a car accident when they easily could have assisted.

We knew that Kandor was going to have several factions one of which was the displaced Zod loyalists. They seem to be the most expansionist and (obviously) the most militant. They lament the loss of their General and belittle Superman's role as 'diplomat'.

There are apparently a few dozen of Zod's soldiers now released. It will be interesting to see if they mobilize on their own ... if there will be a Kryptonian vs. Kryptonian battle in the end between the soldiers and everyone else.

Not that Earth is simply waiting to see what the Kryptonians are doing. The next scene is an interesting one between General Lane and Lex Luthor.

Lan explains how he wants Luthor to hack into Brainiac and learn all he can about Kandor. Luthor already knows a little bit. Kandor was a cultural mecca so revered throughout the universe that other cities took its name. That neatly explains all the other Kandors that Superman and Supergirl have experienced already. Isn't it great when a writer knows how to wrap up/explain prior plot threads in a believable and simple way!

Luthor then goes into a bit of a rant how the presence of super-beings instantly minimizes humanity, that we will become slaves or worshippers or both in a short time. He drives the point home by giving Lane a concrete example ... Lois' fawning over Superman early on. Sam Lane is a man of action however and must have felt that point fell a bit too close to home. He promptly shoot Luthor, a glancing blow of course, but enough to make his own point. He is in charge here, no matter what Luthor thinks.

I really liked this scene as it explains the semi-reasonable viewpoint of humans wary of the Kryptonian presence. We have seen in the past Superman alone almost take over Earth. Of course we should be scared.

Lane tells Luthor that Lex is only one 'bullet in the gun', implying strongly that Doomsday was a military weapon.

Interesting that Zor-El and Alura know about Doomsday, calling him the beast of the Doomsday Terrorists, the genetic extremists who created him as explained in the Doomsday:Hunter/Prey miniseries.

Great panel here for Kara as she shrugs off Superman's "I'll handle this" with a quick "We'll handle this." It is a small phrase but it clearly shows Kara's growth and strength. She *is* Supergirl here, immediately doing the right thing and not doubting herself.

In fact, despite being sent flying early in the fight, she keep up the pressure tackling Doomsday before he can get the drop on cousin Kal. I love the 'meet the Superman Family' comment! It has the flavor of the Silver Age.

Spectacular.The battle rages through Metropolis. Doomsday even uses Connor's tribute statue as a weapon, prompting Zor-El to remind Superman that to Doomsday this is a very personal fight against those who tortured him in the past.
Interestingly, Zor-El and Alura's first thoughts are with keeping the humans around safe and advocate for getting Doomsday as far away as possible. Telling Thara Ak-Var to help with the evacuation of the 'fragile' terrans.

The Kryptonians fly Doomsday to the moon and there swarm him, raining blows down on him. Look at the somewhat dispassionate face on Alura as she pounds Doomsday's face into the ground, blood spurting everywhere.

Doomsday is pummeled to death. And while the Kryptonians cheer, look at the faces of Superman and Supergirl. They are worried about this and they should be. If the Kryptonians can so quickly and calmly swarm and kill something, without a thought of the sanctity of life (even Doomsday's), what is to stop them from eliminating humans? These are not the idealistic lovers of peace Superman may have been expecting. These are physical creatures with a belligerant background and the means to spread havoc if they wanted.


We then see the soldiers from the beginning of the issue entering the Fortress with the plan to free General Zod. They think that with a leader like Zod, the Kryptonians will unify and take care of business on Earth.

However they are quickly thwarted by a blond woman with flame blasts and a dark haired young male with 'tactile telekinesis.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet the new Flamebird and Nightwing.

A young man with tactile telekinesis! It can't be ... can it? I mean he just sacrificed himself in Infinite Crisis. He couldn't come back this early could he?

A blond woman with flame powers who knows about the Fortress and wants to help. Could it be?? Could it really be???

All right, that is one doozy of a cliff hanger. I cannot believe that Flamebird and Nightwing are Linda and Conner. The Conner statue, the mentioning of the Superman Family ... could they be subtle clues to lead us to that conclusion?

I can't believe it. Their powers can be explained with Kryptonian technology. They knew the names of the 2 soldiers. There is too much going against the re-introduction of those past members of the Superman family to make it true. But I would trust Linda in Johns' hands more than Giffen's over in Reign in Hell. This was simply another great chapter in the New Krypton story. It still 'feels' like it is early in the story so I hope the ending isn't rushed in the remaining chapters.

As for Kara, she is everything I was hoping for here, even in her few panels (it is a Superman title after all).

With numerous plots threads winding tighter, the story is racing towards history. And next week, Supergirl #35! Fantastic!

Overall grade: A

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting speculation re. Nightwing and Flamebird....

As for Kara's obvious horror at the fate dealt out to Doomsday is an interesting comment on just how much Earth and Superman have already influenced young Miss Zor El.
D'ye suppose also, the surviving Argoans might just resent the fact that Kara alone escaped captivity in Brainiac's bottle-prison?
Think about that for a moment...SHE gets the coveted one way ticket to Earth and super powers and she doesn't even check back to see if there are any survivors?

That holds interesting plot possibilities goin' forward....

John Feer

TalOs said...

Totally sweet review for latest issue out of New Krypton arc posted here, Anj! :D

Great Rao, just where to even begin with this one?!?

Man those 2 Kryptonian one time loyal active members of General Zod's own Kryptonian army really got to me when I saw them opting to turn their backs on those poor innocents involved in that accident and the desperate pleas from the bystanders shortly after only for these 2 to take off like the miserable self righteous soldiers I'd come to expect who'd be foolish enough to even follow Zod! UGH! (Man did that ever make me angry!) But it also made perfect sense in the end come these 2 characterization wise all the same though. Heh. :P

General Sam Lane and Luthor teaming up is spooky in itself but add in a possibly MORE then willing conscious Brainiac as the 3rd member yet to make up this "anti-Kryptonian trio squad" and I think we'll REALLY have something to truly freak out about in time! YIKES!

Doomsday attacking so called President "Thorn" (who by the way is NOT the former US President Bush jr. proper but is in fact intended as DC Comics very own parody on him instead! Hence "Thorn" as his sir name instead of "Bush"! Thorn + Bush = "thorn bush"! Get it? ;)) as well as the 100,0000 Kryptonians where Superman and Supergirl are the first ones more then willing to take the horrific mammoth beast down, only to have the OTHER Kryptonians willing to join in and actually KILL Doomsday, only for us to see the more then worried expression on both Superman and Supergirl's faces makes me believe even more then before that the Super cousins here will be eventually turning their back on their fellow Kryptonians when it quite possibly comes to a Kryptonians vs. Terans all out war!

And just what about the info that Zor-El and Alura seemingly had on Doomsday that apparently dates back to Doomsday's time of creation on Krypton itself at that! Could it perhaps have something to do with the fact that it was these 2 scientists in particular that had a hand in his actual creation? :/

Lastly, those earlier 2 referred Zod soldiers in question here wanting to unleash Zod out of the Pahntom Zone only to be stopped by the new Nightwing and Flamebird was just a real gem of scene to see for me! While we're on the subject of the later Superheroes in mention I agree with Anj in thinking that Geoff is going to officially reveal Nightwing as being really Kon-El/Conner Kent ex-Superboy while Flamebird might even be Linda Danvers ex-Supergirl at that! I honestly can't believe that Nightwing is Van-Zee while Flamebird is none other then his wife and one time best friend to Supergirl Thara Ak-Var. Especially after Nightwing here refers to his Tactile telekinesis as being natural and the way that Flamebird not to mention the fire that Flamebird easily shoots out as well as that reference to Nightwing as being "kid" too! Seems much more like the partnership playful banter that Conner and Linda Danvers would have during their own time as Superboy and Supergirl more then anything. Only IF Flamebird IS Linda Danvers then exactly WHO is our mysterious Superwoman in turn if not her now? Lesla Lar? Lana Lang? Cat Grant? or (dare I say it) the actual Pre-COIE E-1 Kara Zor-El/"Linda Lee Danvers"/Supergirl at that even?? :/ I mean, the possibilities are endless!

TalOs said...

John Feer said...

D'ye suppose also, the surviving Argoans might just resent the fact that Kara alone escaped captivity in Brainiac's bottle-prison?
Think about that for a moment...SHE gets the coveted one way ticket to Earth and super powers and she doesn't even check back to see if there are any survivors?

That holds interesting plot possibilities goin' forward....


Y'know, I'd be more then inclined to believe this being the case too especially after Kara and Thara's some what frosty reunion prior ah!

Anonymous said...

Ah! When I read the last few pages, I just about died! If it is Linda... It'll about make my year in comics. And it _was_ Johns who confirmed that she "hasn't been retconned out at all."

XD

--Yota

Anj said...

D'ye suppose also, the surviving Argoans might just resent the fact that Kara alone escaped captivity in Brainiac's bottle-prison?
Think about that for a moment...SHE gets the coveted one way ticket to Earth and super powers and she doesn't even check back to see if there are any survivors?


Thanks for the post.

Great thought. Maybe that explains the semi-cold shoulder from Thara. She earned her title, not being spared by some luck like Kara.

Anj said...

only to have the OTHER Kryptonians willing to join in and actually KILL Doomsday, only for us to see the more then worried expression on both Superman and Supergirl's faces makes me believe even more then before that the Super cousins here will be eventually turning their back on their fellow Kryptonians when it quite possibly comes to a Kryptonians vs. Terans all out war!

Thanks for the post.

I agree. Their expressions while the Kryptonians dance over Doomsday said so much about their concerns. My guess is it is about the get ugly between the Supers and the Kryptonians.

And just what about the info that Zor-El and Alura seemingly had on Doomsday that apparently dates back to Doomsday's time of creation on Krypton itself at that! Could it perhaps have something to do with the fact that it was these 2 scientists in particular that had a hand in his actual creation? :/

I don't think so. I'll have to re-read Doomsday:Hunter/Prey but I think that Doomsday's creations was long before the Els existence.

Anj said...

Ah! When I read the last few pages, I just about died! If it is Linda... It'll about make my year in comics. And it _was_ Johns who confirmed that she "hasn't been retconned out at all."

XD

--Yota


Thanks for the post!

I forgot that Johns was the one who had said Linda was still in continuity after Didio said she was erased.

I mean they would have some explaining to do, but it could work.

Dare I hope?

TalOs said...

anj said...
And just what about the info that Zor-El and Alura seemingly had on Doomsday that apparently dates back to Doomsday's time of creation on Krypton itself at that! Could it perhaps have something to do with the fact that it was these 2 scientists in particular that had a hand in his actual creation? :/

I don't think so. I'll have to re-read Doomsday:Hunter/Prey but I think that Doomsday's creations was long before the Els existence.

Was it really? :/ Heh, fair enough then. Although in having had said that we the fans have yet to officially be told by DC as to exactly WHAT the exact Post-IC DCU "New Earth" era continuity origin for the Super family proper is as well as HOW it all played out like all through to now either. However, with in having had said that even it seems that only NOW though are DC actually wanting to shed some light on this as both the main Superman title as well as that of Action Comics have been attempting with supposedly Supergirl to follow suit now too.

I forgot that Johns was the one who had said Linda was still in continuity after Didio said she was erased.

I mean they would have some explaining to do, but it could work.

Dare I hope?


I think ya mean dare we ALL hope here? ;) God willin' it's NOT a red herring and just like how we all guessed it would be Pa Kent in particular who was targeted to die (which we were apparently all right on as it turns out) I too now equally hope that our actual hopes of Nightwing and Flamebird really being that of both Conner and Linda are founded to be true to now also!

Although, the question then still remains as to WHO exactly IS our mysterious Superwoman if NOT Linda Danvers herself at the end of the day eh?? :/

Mike said...

Good point about possible friction between Kara and the other Argoans. I wouldn't be surprised to see a scene where Thara goes off on Kara. "While you were flitting about in your belly shirt and miniskirt, I was trying to keep a whole city from imploding."

I rather doubt that the new Flamebird is Linda, but it would be cool.

Anj said...

I rather doubt that the new Flamebird is Linda, but it would be cool.

I tend to agree. I think this is all smoke and mirrors by Johns, et al.

But you're right, it would be cool!

Anonymous said...

I realize, too, that it's not bloody likely, but my hopes have been raised and dashed repeatedly, so I really hope Linda's back...

*sigh*

--Yota.

TalOs said...

Question, our Flamebird pictured on the actual Alex Ross cover itself seems to be implying that she either has fire itself as actual hair or even proper hair only being that of red in color. Yet just like in the main Supergirl title upon Lana apparently sporting a strawberry blond hair color also now seems to be the very same case come Flamebird on that very last page reveal itself in this title here also.

Could it be? Could the real revelation of exactly who is Flamebird here possibly be suggesting that it's really Lana Lang instead of Linda Danvers? I mean it can't just be coincidence in both having Lana and Flamebird now sporting strawberry blond hair color as their preference, no? :/

Anonymous said...

wait! hold the presses!


Linda's Flamebird...

Whoo boy...

wait...That sorta makes sense since she has fire realated abilities...

but how's Conner back?

oh wait..

AU version I suppose...


Either way...


YAY!!!!

:D

now all we need to do now is find out who "Superwoman" is....

-ealperin

Anj said...

Linda's Flamebird...

Whoo boy...

wait...That sorta makes sense since she has fire realated abilities...

but how's Conner back?

oh wait..

AU version I suppose...


Now I don't think they are Linda and Conner ... just that they *might* be.

I still think this is subterfuge by Johns.

mspote said...

This was an awesome, spot-on review of a fabulous Superman issue. You definitely hit all the high points and I found it helpful, especially, to see your analysis of the Flamebird and Nightwing "reveal." Being relatively new to the Superman family (ha!), I don't know much about either Linda Danvers or Conner Kent -- but I found your speculations intriguing, and certainly now want to find out more!

I didn't comment until now because I am on the DCBS wait for the books every month plan... still, thanks for a great review and a wonderful website.

Anj said...

This was an awesome, spot-on review of a fabulous Superman issue. You definitely hit all the high points and I found it helpful, especially, to see your analysis of the Flamebird and Nightwing "reveal." Being relatively new to the Superman family (ha!), I don't know much about either Linda Danvers or Conner Kent -- but I found your speculations intriguing, and certainly now want to find out more!

I didn't comment until now because I am on the DCBS wait for the books every month plan... still, thanks for a great review and a wonderful website.


Thanks for the post!

I think New Krypton has unfolded even better than I anticipated.

Still no new news on Flamebird and Nightwing, but I doubt Linda and Conner.