Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: Action Comics #967

Action Comics #967 came out this week and started the 'God Killer' storyline which focuses on Lex Luthor. When the #Rebirth titles were announced, I was worred when Action was labeled the Luthor book, the superbook where Lex would be the star. That hasn't been true. This is clearly a true Superman book, even if Lex calls himself that now. But while he isn't the star, Lex is basically a cast member of the book now. Gone are the days of Luthor attacking Superman now and then. He is a part of the machinery now.

All that said, this issue clearly focuses on Luthor and the ramifications of some of his recent actions. There is some mystery here, some new plotlines which had me stroking my chin. And we are again reminded of Luthor's history, the foundation on which his ethos is built. While Lex is in the spotlight, we get a lot of Lois here as well. Some 'Other Clark'. And some great Clark and Jon moments as well. Writer Dan Jurgens really understands these characters. These quiet scenes are my favorite part of the book.

Add to that the burgeoning threat of the God Killers, and this was a winner of the book.

Tyler Kirkham is back on art and really sparkles. There are several splash pages in this book, moments that deserve big art. But Segovia does a great job of using smaller inset panels on the non-splash pages to make sure the meatiness of the story moments is kept. And the art in panels of all sizes shines wonderfully.

On the the issue.

The issue starts with an image of Earth transformed into a new Apokolips. A handful of Green Lanterns float dead in space. Two warriors talk of the vision they have seen of Earth's future including the 'Annihilator' who walked through the Boom Tube and made that dystopia happen.

One of the Warriors is called L'Call and he talks of how this mission is his last. He is tired and wants peace. But he has to first stop this horrible future from happening and the Laws of the Remnants authorize him to do so.

I don't think I know L'Call and he doesn't seem like a known character hiding behind armor. He has a Viking kind of feel to him. It is clear he is respected and revered by his colleague.

I do like the idea of the 'Law of the Remnants'. I think the Remnants are the scattered people who somehow survived planetary disasters, the remnants of cultures gone, and who hope to stop others from suffering as they have.

Meanwhile, in South America, Clark and Jon are tracking down the Geneticron Building which was teleported away last issue.

The father/son dynamic of this duo has been utterly charming. I thought this panel of Jon teasing his father on prior wardrobe choices was funny. How great is it to see the old school, red trunks costume again. Interestingly, Clark says the red trunks weren't separate but sewn in as one piece. He calls the red trunks a decorative element. Fantastic.

Who hasn't pulled out old pictures of their dads wearing dated clothes and teased the old man?

 One thing I love about this relationship is the wisdom that Clark imparts to Jon. Jon's manifesting powers has added a new layer.

When asked how Clark doesn't act as Superman 24/7, he tell Jon that he needed a personal life. There needed to be a balance.

"I'm still Clark -- a husband and father -- every bit as much as I'm Superman." That is a sentiment that I get behind with this character. It was his being raised by the Kents that made Superman who he is. He is Clark. Superman is the mask he wears when he works.

Meanwhile, Lois finally gets to have her interview with Luthor. She arrives at LexCorp on a Saturday and is surprised to find Clark there. Kent says he had some papers to bring Luthor to sign but that seems a bit too coincidental.

And then this little exchange which is heavy with potential. Lois says that she won't open herself up to be fired and he should know her better than that.

So why doesn't he know her better than that? Does he have all of Clark's memories? All the interactions with Lois? Know her? Even his stammering 'Uh ... yeah.' seems mysterious.

Who is this Clark?

It gets even more interesting when Lois sees Clark on some of the work screens in Lex's labs. Could Clark be a clone Luthor made? Could he be a protoplasmic Matrix he made? Who is this Clark?

Lois' first question is why Lex wants to be called Superman. He knows that is the most biting question she could ask and she asked it first. That is why she is Lois.

I love the respect he has for Lois and her skills. And I love that Lois isn't impressed or intimidated by Luthor.

Thank you again Mr. Jurgens for bringing Lois back.

And then Luthor reminds us of his history.

He was born penniless to an abusive family. He endured. He persevered. And he made himself who he is.

It is a tragic backstory. It can explain why Lex needs to be in total control. It touches on why he has an undercurrent of anger when people talk about Superman, someone blessed with gifts rather than forging his own destiny.

And the slow pull into his eye plays up that anger.

The moment is interrupted by an attack on the LexCorp tower.

The wall is destroyed. Luthor is attacked. And Lois almost falls to her death. Clark has to rescue her.

I love the 'Wrong Clark' and 'Wrong Superman' inner dialogue in Lois' head. Until she said it, I hadn't realized that she is right. There are warped versions of Clark and Superman in her life now.

In the Amazon, Clark and Jon find the Geneticron building abandoned. They find the box Doomsday was penned in.

This is a mystery without much progression. Who are these people? How did they get Doomsday in a box? Are they linked to Mr. Oz? And why teleport the building away??

But before any true answers can be elucidated, Superman hears Clark's signal watch go off. He and Jon rush back to Metropolis.

Meanwhile, L'Call has called himself the Godslayer and states that he will kill Lex before the vision from the beginning of the issue can come true.

We then see that the Annihilator is Lex, dressed like Darkseid, surrounded by Parademons, with a Mother Box saying Lex incessantly.

Now this is something to chew on. Could L'Call have seen Lena and confused her for Lex (she looks a lot like him in Superwoman)? And why are Mother Box's chanting people's names these days? Does that mean a god named Ping is out there somewhere? Or does it simply make sense that Lex would become Darkseid?

Whew ... that's a lot going on in one issue! And for me, despite the action, despite the Jon/Clark stuff, my favorite part was the Lois/Lex staredown. You forget how awesome Lois is with her having been gone so long. You don't know how thirsty you are until you have a sip of water.

I'll repeat a recent mantra. How wonderful is it to have great Superman books again?

Overall grade: A


Silver Age Boy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silver Age Boy said...

Thank god Jon dose not have any pictures of his farther's mullet years, Clark would never hear the end of it.

I like to think that the Rebirth suit is to honor the Nu52 superman as well.

Martin Gray said...

I choose to believe that the discussion around the classic look is one step forward towards its return!

That line about someone named Ping made me laugh out loud!

Daveym said...

I wasn't as thrilled by the issue as you were Anj, this book is falling below Jurgens' excellent Lois & Clark series and unlike that series lacks any real focus to it. Rather than tell a story Jurgens is powering the book with nothing more than open-ended subplots and mysterious happenings, nontheless there were some apparent clues in this issue with Luthor's links to 'Clark Kent', the demonstration of his armours new teleportation weapon suggesting a tangible link to thhe just discovered Genetichron building, and the as yet unrealised fact that 'Clark Kent' appearead simultaneously with Doomsday - quite likely from the same lab of which Superman and Jon inspect.
All of which suggests that Luthor knows a good deal more about recent happenings than anyone has yet realised. I would even go so far as to suggest he knows what Superman is and where he came from...

But in general I am not in love with this book as I was with 'Lois & Clark'. Jurgens' Action Comics subsists on a diet of ongoing self-perpetuating questions-the-need-answers, rotating artists, and a couple too many star characters.

Anj said...

Thanks for all the comments.

I like the link of Lex's armor and the disappearing building. Interesting!

And glad you liked the Ping line Mart!

Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Anj: How can I email you? I have ten photos of the Belmont elevated stop here in Chicago, they have Supergirl signs plastered everywhere, all different sizes.

If you don't release your email, you can contact me at I'm amazed at the promotion.