Sunday, May 17, 2009

Review: Action Comics #877

After last month's brutal fight between Ursa and Nightwing & Flamebird, Action Comics #877 was like a calm spring day. While there was some action, it was no where near the intensity of the last month's brawl.

The tranquility after last issue's storm did allow for a lot of story progression and a couple of very interesting plot points.

First off, this was the first issue with no Eddy Barrows. Sidney Teles, who drew part of Action #876, takes over pencilling here and seems to be trying to channel Barrows' style. While the art was not as stylistically intricate as Barrows' stuff, I did think it was a notch over average. At the very least, the similar styles made the transition from issue to issue smooth.

The issue starts with Ursa freeing herself from the wreckage of the Fortress. With her goggles smashed, she ties a strip of cloth around her eyes to protect herself from the pain of the light. She does not sound happy about the end of the fight when Chris defeated her. As she vows to find 'Lor-Zod' she hears Tor-An, the captured sleeper agent.

In the meantime, Chris has run to the only place he thinks he can run to on Earth, Lois and Clark's apartment.

Lois is at first confused at how much Chris has grown. But she then tells him he knew where to go. He went home. It is a touching little reunion. It is such a different moment than anything we have seen in the action-heavy Action since the 'World Without Superman' stories started.

Figuring that the best way to help heal Thara is to expose her to as much yellow sun energy as possible, Lois calls in Dr. Light. Dr. Light seems intrigued that Lois has her number. I guess she is unaware that Clark is Superman.

They move Thara to the roof. A quick burst of yellow sun photons later and Thara is at least stabilized.

One small complaint I have here is that this seems somewhat risky in terms of Clark's secret identity. Won't people start to question why a Kryptonian went to Lois' apartment? How she knew Dr. Light? Kryptonians in Clark's apartment, Clark is gone, Superman in on another planet .... hmmm. Wouldn't this make your average person ask some questions? Or am I being too silly? I can accept Kryptonians and star-powered people but I can't accept characters not realizing Clark is Superman when things like this are done?

Anyways, it turns out that Project 7734 had a drone tailing Dr. Light as well as other members of the Superman family. I thought this was a nice shot showing panels taken from the other titles and put in here. Boy, General Lane is keeping an eye on everyone these days.

And here is where I need help from you guys. I have no idea who this character, walking around the Project 7734 headquarters, is. Should I know her?

There are a couple of things I am curious about her even outside of her blue and green body/body art. She is clearly not formal military. She is in jeans and a black shirt. She also talks very casually and almost sarcastically to General Lane. I don't think that General Lane takes sass from most people. So she must be very powerful or very important or both.

While Thara recuperates, Chris and Lois continue to catch up. He does his best to explain his growth spurts.

But then he comes out with this piece of information. There is Brainiac tech in the Phantom Zone, tech that Zod was trying to use. And one of these 'machines' did something 'really bad' to Chris' mind. Now that is an interesting piece of the puzzle. I like how Chris' origin and story is slowly being revealed. Regardless, I can only wonder the torture this machine did to him until Thara 'rescued' him.

I do wonder how that Brainiac stuff ended up in the Phantom Zone though.

Thara is left recuperating on the roof allowing one of the Project 7734 drones to capture her on film. And after a little cross-reference, they learn that Flamebird is Thara. Well, there goes the 'we wear the armor to hide our identities' secret. 3 issues in and the government is in on the gag.

Thara is still recovering though and General Lane is not one to lose an advantage. He decides to go after her. And after a small discussion, the mystery woman shows that she does indeed have some powers. She convinces him to let her go after Thara and teleports out.

I wonder just what she means when she says 'she needs to gather (what she needs) herself. That's how it works.' Is that some statement about how her powers work? Does she leech off of others? Or is it just talk about how she likes to be in on the hunt.

If someone knows anything about her, please let me know. Otherwise we have another mystery to solve.

Meanwhile, Chris realizes that if Thara is recovering than Ursa has most likely completely recovered. He flies back to the Fortress and discovers Tor-An dead on the floor from what looks to be a neck wound. Ursa admits to freeing him and killing him because his sleeper status was compromised. Man, I love how crazy and ruthlessly efficient Ursa is. It makes her a very formidable opponent.

In fact Ursa is about to fight Chris when he reminds her that she is out in the open as well. If her presence on Earth is discovered, it will jeopardize her sleepers and her mission. Surprisingly, she sees the logic in his argument and takes off. While she does say the rather cliched 'this isn't over', I still feel she would still probably try to attack and overpower him. It seemed just a tad out oof character that she would listen to reason this time.

And lucky she did or she would have been discovered. The General tracked Chris when he flew from Lois' apartment and had a couple of fighter jets follow him. We have heard from Chris that his physiology makes him a little weaker than the average Kryptonian and here we see some proof. He gets kicked around a little bit by a couple of standard missiles. Even these Project 7734 guys question if he is a Kryptonian because of this.

But weaker than your average Kryptonian doesn't mean weak. He is able to recover and destroy the drone jets following him.

One slight editorial error here is that his clothes have magically repaired themselves after being shredded a bit by the missiles the page before. Of course, his 'tactile telekinesis' may have simply rewoven the threads.

The issue ends with us seeing the two next sleeper agents on the list, a couple of Kryptonian bank robbers with a penchant for murder.

As I said before, we needed a 'plot' issue after last month's 'brawl' issue. This issue put us back on track advancing all the principal characters stories and revealing a few new tidbits. Outside of my concerns for the use of the Kent apartment as a superhero respite home and Ursa's running away, I thought this issue was another solid chapter in Rucka's run.

For a super-title without Superman, I have to say, so far so good.

Overall grade: B/B+


Saranga said...

"Or am I being too silly?" Well obviously yes! Why would you expect the DCU inhabitants to be bright? ;)

On a less teasing note, is it not known that Lois is friends with Superman? Obviously they were seen together publicly before he revealed his identity and they got married, but I don't know how that changed after they got married. If it is publicly known that Lois is friends with Superman, then Nightwing as a 'new' superhero could have panicked at finding Flamebird hurt and gone to a human who is known to be sympathetic to superheros, i.e. Lois.

I guess that Lois as prize winning journalist could have met Dr Light in her everyday work role, and so would be able to contact her. Does Lois ever cover science stories?

Is this a stretch?

I have no idea who this new lady is. I have labelled her mystery woman and am assuming we'd get introduced to her more formally next issue.

Gene said...

I agree with Saranga.
Lois Lane's reputation as one of the best reporters out there would explain how she would know Dr. Light's number. Anyone who sees flying metahumans at her appartment would assume that she was conducting an exclusive interview (again).

Don't know who this mystery woman is, but our girl Kara will find out this August:

TalOs said...

Sincerely loved seeing Chris finally standing up to the evil whore who claims to be his 'mother' and was even more over joyed to see him reach out to Lois who in my eyes will always be his one true mother who's more then willing to help her foster son as well as his partner Thara.

Unfortunately I too have no clue as to who this new mysterious lackey of General Lane's mystery woman is either sorry. :/

So the last 2 "bank robbers" we saw is the promised "Bonnie and Clyde" evil Kryptonian duo that Rucka has been going on about for a wee while eh? Fair enough.

Lastly, if Lor-Zod/Chris Kent/Nightwing II is supposed to be half as powerful compared to a full blooded Kryptonian (because of him being born in the Phantom Zone which apparently has effected his overall genetic makeup it seems) does that then in turn mean that Chris is more equal to that of Conner/Superboy super-abilities wise now in turn more then say Superman and Supergirl? :/

Anj said...

I guess that Lois as prize winning journalist could have met Dr Light in her everyday work role, and so would be able to contact her. Does Lois ever cover science stories?

Is this a stretch?

Thanks for the post.

It's not a stretch. And I suppose it is a 'hide in plain sight' defense. All sorts of supers might go to Clark/Lois apartment but not because Clark is Superman. Instead, it is because Lois is a great reporter.

I buy it.

Anj said...

does that then in turn mean that Chris is more equal to that of Conner/Superboy super-abilities wise now in turn more then say Superman and Supergirl?.

Thanks for the post.

I think we still need to wait and see. He also has different powers. So he might be stronger in some ways.

Anj said...

Don't know who this mystery woman is, but our girl Kara will find out this August:.

Thanks for the post.

Solicits reviewed tomorrow. Looks like a busy August!

Anonymous said...

The mystery woman might be....


Well.. It might be ...

I did ask Jamal Igle- a few months ago- If I could pop in the next issue.